The Land Report, Golf Connoisseur Cease Publication… Without Paying The Freelancers?

0102golf.jpgWhat happens when a magazine that just got feted as one of 2007’s best launches ceases publication? We’re about to find out…

High-end golf mag Golf Connoisseur and ruralcentric pub The Land Report have ceased publishing. The last issue of GC came out in September, while TLR‘s was in October… and the mags’ failures follow some questionable business decisions, including the purchase of Luxury Golf & Travel and Nicklaus magazines by parent company Patience back in 2006. Publisher Reid Slaughter was formerly involved with D Magazine as well, but has apparently moved on. We’ve heard that non-payment from advertisers also contributed to the failure of both mags… official confirmation on that is, however, lacking.

Also noted is that The Land Report was one of min‘s top magazine launches of 2007.

An email to Slaughter has not been returned as of press time.

But the worst part? It appears that writers, at least at Golf Connoisseur, have not been paid for stories dating back to April 2007. After the jump, a “you’re outta luck” memo to the freelancers, straight from parent company Patience Partners Golf.

Dear All,

I am writing to give you a status update on Golf Connoisseur. As you know, we have suspended publishing and are currently marketing the title and its assets to several potential buyers. Our goal remains to keep the award-winning title alive, or at least collect enough money to pay off all current vendors. At this time, we have approximately $4,000 in cash against approximately $200,000 in accounts payable. As I have stated before, no one on staff has received any money since April, 2007 and every dollar collected will go to creditors.

The following information is intended to help answer any questions you may have:

If money comes in, who gets paid first?
Legally, all funds go to the secured creditors first. The investment in Patience Partners Golf LLC is structured as secured debt, not straight equity, so the investors would be entitled to the proceeds equal to the amount of their investment. That said, the investor group has expressed a desire to see vendors paid and may waive their right.

Should I hire a lawyer to help me collect?
We cannot offer legal advice. You should know that since the total investment plus interest is more than $1.5 million, it is unlikely that an asset sale will cover that amount and produce a profit. Therefore, legally, unsecured creditors will not realize any return in a bankruptcy proceeding, and so filing a claim will not make any difference. That said, the investor group has indicated their desire that some significant portion of the asset sale go to satisfy the vendors.

What is the timetable for a sale?
We have been working on this for several months and hope to have closure within the next 60 days.

I am a freelancer who wrote a story for Golf Connoisseur. What happens to my story?
This notice is our formal release for you to sell your submitted manuscript to another publication. There are several excellent stories which, in our opinion, still have considerable value despite the lapse of time. You are free to market that story, and we will still pay the appropriate kill fee should we collect the necessary funds and receive secured creditor approval.

Are all vendors on equal footing?
Yes. Legally we cannot prefer one creditor over another. All vendors are treated the same, regardless of the amount owed, length of time past due, or other factors.

In summary, this is not welcome news, especially during holiday time, but we wanted to give an update before the year’s end. We are doing everything possible to make the best of a bad situation, and we sincerely apologize for the considerable inconvenience this has caused to a talented and deserving group of professionals. We will alert you as soon as we have definite news about the magazine’s future.

Patience Partners Golf, LLC
December 20, 2007