The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce has begun paying off roughly $195,000 in debts that have forced the organization to sharply cut back operations over the past few months.
Chamber President Rolfe G. Arnhym said this week that 33 creditors were recently sent a total of $3,500, and 32 other creditors are about to be sent "a little over $15,000" as the first of what he promises to be regular monthly payments.
Arnhym noted that the chamber, the state's fourth largest, has been operating in the black since July 1, when, officers say, they first became aware of the debt after it was apparently accumulated during the administration of a previous executive.
Arnhym acknowledged that some creditors have complained that the chamber is not including interest in its pay-back efforts. "We're delighted we can pay anything. . . . We're just not in a position to pick up any interest, that we can't do," Arnhym said.
When the financial crisis was revealed last summer, chamber officials blamed the debt on slumping membership and inadequate financial controls of former Executive Vice President George Economides. Economides resigned in November, 1984, and Arnhym was hired last May to take over the job.