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Sysix CEO's Death Ruled Suicide

It's unclear what circumstances led to Sheaffer's decision, but it appears that Sysix was having financial difficulties in recent months.

John Sheaffer, CEO of Sysix Technologies, a Lombard, Ill.-based solution provider, died July 8. Paramedics, called to Sheaffer's office, found him unresponsive and took him by ambulance to a local hospital. He never regained consciousness and died that afternoon, according to a former Sysix employee. After a six-week investigation, the coroner concluded Aug. 21 that Sheaffer had taken his own life.

He is survived by his wife, Michele; three daughters, Sarah, Amanda and Olivia; his mother, Mary; two sisters and two brothers.

It's unclear what circumstances led to Sheaffer's decision, but it appears that Sysix was having financial difficulties in recent months. The company closed its doors on July 31, leaving about 40 employees without jobs and their final paychecks, according to a former employee.

The former employee said product sales had been solid, but about a week before Sheaffer's death, several vendors put the solution provider's credit on hold. Sysix's two main banking partners, The Private Bank and Comerica Bank, also put the company's accounts on hold. "It just froze business at that point," said the former employee.

A spokesman for Comerica Bank said the company did not comment on customer relationships. Calls to The Private Bank were not returned.

Sysix, like many small companies, had faced credit issues in the past. Cash flow was tight when customers were late to pay, but the company had always navigated through the stormy weather with the help of its banks and vendor partners. But this time felt different, especially after Sheaffer's death, the employee said.

"We were told to show up to work, that they were working through with the bank to get off credit hold. That really never happened. I never held much hope that it was going to happen. It was pretty apparent we were going to close very shortly," he said.

The other shoe dropped on July 31. Employees were told the company was closing down and that they would not receive their final paychecks and would not receive any owed vacation pay, or get any medical or Cobra coverage.

"Employees had to get in line with other creditors," the employee said.

Employees were given the news by Roland Chavez, president of Sysix Financial, a leasing arm of Sysix Technologies. Chavez intimated to employees that it was the company's investor partners that made the decision to close the company, according to the former employee. Phone calls to Chavez were not returned.

Another Sysix executive, Executive Vice President Ned Covic, referred an inquiry about the company to Allen Shapiro, whom he identified as Sysix's general counsel. A voice mail left for Shapiro was not returned.

"It's no longer a situation I can intelligently speak of. I'm no longer an employee of Sysix," Covic said.

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