Lingua Bancarupta

Magazine Returns From the Grave, Suing

Outside the courtroom, Bruh asked the writers to call him the next day, then scurried down the stairwell. Asked if he was ready to settle, Feemster said, "I've already taken a beating once [referring to his reduced fee]. Why should I take a beating again?"

Marc Abrams, a bankruptcy lawyer at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, sees nothing "illegal or immoral" about Geltzer's strategy. He says, "It's standard operating procedure for trustees to look at all payments within 90 days and bring these complaints in a shotgun manner to see what they can get back. It's a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff, and the judge obviously thought these were chaff."

"I don't think these laws are meant to be used against small-potatoes people like us," counters Joel Bernstein, a copy editor who worked in-house for UB. Bernstein's lawyer, Phil Bernstein, has asked for a jury trial, arguing that his brother, Joel, should have been classified as a staffer. (Staff pay is protected in bankruptcy court.)

What was Kittay thinking when he paid his best freelancers a cut rate three months before going out of business? It seemed a good-faith gesture, though the freelancers' agreements acknowledged that the money could be subject to bankruptcy claims in the future. If Kittay had any real intention of starting another magazine, it seems he would not have risked alienating the team of talent he is famous for assembling.

Besides, one insider notes, a revival is "inconceivable" now that former LF editors James Ryerson and Alex Star are working at The New York Times Magazine.

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