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Oct 29, 2008 11:04 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Publisher denies folding of Hamptons glossy magazine

Oct 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Despite complaints by employees of “Vox Hamptons” that they have not been paid for weeks, and even months in some cases, the publisher of the glossy local lifestyle magazine says his business is doing fine.

But not everyone is that optimistic, and sources, who asked not to be identified, questioned whether it is unrealistic to assume the magazine has the capital to survive, especially in the face of a faltering economy and with print media losing money nationwide.

In a letter last month to Vox 
founder and publisher Ted Foscolo, who launched the magazine in May of 2006, nine staffers and contractors complained that their health insurance had lapsed without warning and paychecks had either bounced or been withheld. Freelancers had similar complaints and some had paychecks several months past due, the letter stated.

It noted that the staff had completed the November/December issue of Vox, which was due to be released this month, and demanded to be paid in full no later than October 14.

In a recent interview from his office at Blue Moon Media in Amagansett, Mr. Foscolo acknowledged that he owed employees money, but said he was still collecting from advertisers and said his employees would be paid soon.

“We should have everyone settled up by the end of this month,” he said. “We are moving full steam.”

Mr. Foscolo said that despite some problems, Vox is back on track.

“We had a difficult go of it this year,” he said, noting that the economy was in poor shape and admitting that he erred when he hired highly-paid publishers from New York City to help advance the magazine “up the ladder more 
quickly.” The move, which cost Vox “ridiculous sums of money,” only hurt his business, he said. “It was the wrong thing to do.”

Mr. Foscolo said this year’s advertising revenues were down significantly from 2007 and he should have kept all aspects of the business local, as originally intended.

“The big guns were based in New York City,” Mr. Foscolo said, explaining how his choices this year became problematic. “I also lost a little bit of input in the magazine, and I was always afraid of that.” He noted that when he came up with the idea for Vox in 2005, he chose to keep “magazine people” out of the process and make an original product, unlike other local publications owned by larger corporations away from the East End.

The publishing consultants, contractors, former employees and freelancers that Mr. Foscolo owes all acknowledged the situation but refused to speak on record about it. One person directed calls to New York City labor lawyer Herbert Eisenberg of Eisenberg and Schnell.

Mr. Eisenberg said he was aware of the situation but would not confirm if he had been hired or if a suit will be filed against Mr. Foscolo. Mr. Eisenberg said the case was cut and dried, noting that Mr. Foscolo owes employees money and they should be paid. He added that staffers are well protected under New York labor laws, while freelancers and contractors do not fall under the same provisions.

While Mr. Foscolo’s image may have been tarnished by the events of the last year and employees have suffered for it, he said “It was a good learning experience.”

The November/December issue of Vox Hamptons was completed the first week of October, ending the “’08 era,” Mr. Foscolo said. He pointed out that he’s releasing a Vox cookbook with recipes from his magazine in November and the first of 2009’s planned nine issues will hit the streets the second week in April, which will mark the beginning of a new chapter, bringing Vox back to its roots.

In the meantime, Mr. Foscolo said Vox is focusing on its website, www.VoxHamptons.com, which he said will have new content throughout the off season and allow his employees to have work year-round.

“The dirt’s been thrown around since I started this magazine in ’06,” Mr. Foscolo said. He explained that rumors of Vox shutting down are unfounded and said similar claims have plagued him for the last two years. “It’s been a little rocky, but I’ve put too much into it” to stop now, he said. “I’m really bullish on the future.”

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Hmm, maybe the ridiculous, JUST-short-of-five-figure monthly rent on the cute little offices in Amagansett has been a factor in preventing the paychecks from being delivered on time. And don't you get a big fat advance for a book? Look at that! A revenue stream that could help your staff get their checks and pay their bills! But that would be too generous--actually paying the people who work for YOU. Perhaps "magazine people" would add to Vox's lame cause. It's actually a good idea to have experience ...more
By Cindi Cook (1), Bridgehampton on Nov 12, 08 9:24 AM
No comment on the first part of Ms. Cook's comment. Regarding the second part, "his new publisher" did NOT make up all kinds of excuses as to whether to pay writers or not. "His new publisher" was called by the office admin because Ms. Cook showed up at the office demanding payment. "His new publisher" did not set editorial payment policy. "His new publisher" was told by an editor that walked out the door that Ms. Cook was never informed that a story had been killed and she should just get ...more
By garan1 (6), New York on Nov 12, 08 11:30 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By VoxIsDead, east hampton on Nov 12, 08 3:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RealLocal (76), Bridgehampton on Nov 12, 08 4:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Nov 13, 08 8:06 AM
WOW - Garan1 - you sound like a back peddler if i ever heard !!! Sounds like you were foscolos yes man / boy and now its out, you did not get paid either huh ? Ms. Cook, unlike your current or former employer has a upstandng name in the industry. Ms. Cook is correct you are not. Just admit you were part of the lies @ VOX - You, employees who are still working for FREE and are manipulated by his "star struck" B.S. need help - Get out NOW !!!! what more do you need to see you were hoodwinked !
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Nov 13, 08 12:02 PM
No backpeddling here and no one's yes man...crazy for anyone to go into an office when they're not getting paid, unless of course it's for a good cause or charity...with all due respect vs, you don't know what you're writing about re Ms. Cook...she seemed like a nice enough lady but facts are as follows - Ms. Cook went to the office in Amagansett to get paid...there was no money with which to pay her...the admin didn't know what to do since the editorial director had already exited stage left so ...more
By garan1 (6), New York on Nov 13, 08 3:03 PM
VOX is a wast of paper. The Hamptons do not need another glossy homage to the idle rich.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 14, 08 9:41 AM
http://www.topix.com/forum/city/amagansett-ny/TD5BP65PPL12OL92A/p3#lastPost

Read
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Nov 18, 08 3:21 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Nov 18, 08 3:29 PM
I contacted several freelancers and none would speak on record.
By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Nov 18, 08 4:24 PM
vs - if you're going to play reporter get your facts straight, include all the blog posts such as the latest below...alot of people have been burnt as of this note...no reason to play fast and loose with facts...the story is sorry enough as it is...

joe g was recommended to TF by folks in NYC. one by one they all walked away. he has not been paid along with everyone else and out of good faith and promises of pay worked to mid-October. crazy if you ask me since he had not been paid for ...more
By garan1 (6), New York on Nov 18, 08 6:09 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By real, rennes on Nov 20, 08 6:37 PM
Oliver Peterson - This question is for you: Why did topix pull down the thread on VOX that had reached over 50 comments?
By garan1 (6), New York on Nov 21, 08 10:58 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Nov 22, 08 11:41 AM
Are you guys willing to go anywhere with this?
By justcurious (1), Medford on Nov 27, 08 10:34 PM
So Mr. Peterson...it is now December 2nd...according to your article VOX was supposed to have everyone paid by the end of November...nobody - employees or vendors - has been paid...what say you Ollie?
By garan1 (6), New York on Dec 2, 08 7:35 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Dec 4, 08 1:49 PM
I welcome all of you to call and speak on record. If someone steps up, I'll write a follow up. You can't just toss out a bunch of accusations while hiding in a comments board and expect me to report on it.
By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Dec 9, 08 11:58 AM
Mr. peterson: Please read the recent Topix. It appears someone else will finish the job you did not !!!
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Dec 12, 08 10:03 AM
Mr. Peterson ; Nobody has been paid, Don't you want to do a follow up story ? It would help the community know what has happned here ! It would be a shame for VOX to hire a new set of employees who don't know the history or story that VOX does not pay employees, then the employees quit and VOX just hires a new set of employees who don't know any better !

Garan1 - Have you been paid ?
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Jan 6, 09 8:26 AM
I'm writing for the sports section as of Jan 1. It's not out of the question that I could write a follow up, but so far no one has stepped forward or agreed to go on record.
By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Jan 6, 09 9:29 AM
Mr. Peterson: Good - For all your info. you can contact the author of the letter sent to you and the attorney who you spoke with on the matter along with Mr. Foscolo. It would nice to see if he tells you the truth.
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Jan 6, 09 10:21 AM
Vox Scams - No, unfortunately I have not been paid nor has any other staff member....going on 5 months now..never experienced anything like this..didn't think anything like this could ever happen or be allowed to happen in the USA circa 2008/2009...but I guess 2008 was the year of the FRAUD (see Madoff, SEC, Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Lehman Bros, even tiny meaningless little vox)!!!
By garan1 (6), New York on Jan 6, 09 10:34 PM
Follow the blog about this subject/story at:

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/montauk-ny/TD5BP65PPL12OL92A
By Undertow (64), Southampton on Jan 12, 09 12:59 PM
COURTESY OF THE SAG GARBOR EXPRESS 1-8-09

" On Saturday, January 3,at 10:50p.m. Sag Harbor Village Police were called to a Bayview Avenue residence to break up an alleged physical altercation. Upon arrival at the scene, police say they discovered a verbal argument had broken out between two men over a football game. According to police, as the disagreement escalated. THEODORE FOSCOLO IV struck the other man on the nose with his left fist, which caused substantial bleeding. A report from ...more
By vox scams (15), East Hampton on Jan 14, 09 2:19 PM
Great. The Vox Magazine thread has once again been deleted over at Topix Dot Com.
By Undertow (64), Southampton on Feb 9, 09 9:24 PM
Tourism, local  shopping, dining, Hamptons