At least three printers are pursuing Anthony (Tony) Vaughan over unpaid printing bills. These include Paarl Media, CTP Printers and Ultra Litho. The owner and publisher of Media Nova, which published the Property Magazine, was put into liquidation by Paarl Media. But he had registered various other publishing companies, including TGE Media and 6th Street Media, so as to continue printing one of his remaining titles, Sandton Magazine.
Now it appears that in order to stay in business, Vaughan ceded his debtors’ book to Paarl Media and CTP Printers, a fact confirmed by both companies.
Paarl Media CEO, Stephan van der Walt, said. Yes, Media Nova did cede the company’s debtor’s book to Paarl Media.” Asked whether he was aware that the debtor’s book had been to rival CTP Printers, Van der Walt said, “No, at the time of the debtor’s book being ceded to CTP, Paarl Media was not aware of this fact.”
A highly placed source at CTP Printers said the company had “obtained a copy of the Paarl cessions of debtors and it is with our lawyers to verify the wording. We believe that in signing two cessions against their debts (CTP and Paarl) Vaughn acted illegally. If verified we can open a criminal case,” the source said.
Van der Walt said Vaughan and Media Nova still owed the company R4.4 million. In an earlier interview with The Media Online, Vaughan said Media Nova had run into financial difficulties “specifically in meeting its account payments to Paarl”. Vaughan said he’d negotiated a plan to pay off the printer, and had made “significant monthly repayments to Paarl until December 2012 and in doing so reduced the overall outstanding balance significantly”.
Paarl Media disagrees. Van der Walt said “Insignificant amounts have been paid to Paarl Media by Media Nova over the past two years”. He said numerous payment plans were negotiated and agreed upon over the years. “Unfortunately Media Nova got itself into a position where it reneged on the agreements. Media Nova were required to furnish Paarl Media with certain monthly information regarding the debtor’s book, if and when this information was received it became apparent that business was being invoiced in newly formed legal entities. This had the effect of reducing the value of the security held in the form of the debtor’s cession,” Van der Walt said.
Paarl Media then took the decision to liquidate Media Nova. Vaughan told The Media Online Paarl’s action to liquidate Media Nova was “harsh and insensitive towards the fate of our employees and our ongoing attempts to satisfy the amounts owing”.
He said during January and March this year he tried to secure “a revised and reduced payment plan for Media Nova” so it could continue to trade. Vaughan said while Paarl were “accommodating to a point they informed me that as this was an extraordinary item at each board meeting it had, and I quote, ‘become an irritation at board meetings and now had to be dealt with one way or another’. As such they had run out of ‘patience’ (despite over three years of payments) and informed me that they would be liquidating Media Nova”.
Van der Walt, however, said after several attempts to develop a payment plan “suitable to both parties, Media Nova continued to default on payment. The only viable course of action was then to put Media Nova into liquidation”.
He said an important factor in this decision “was the fact that new business was being channelled elsewhere”. Van der Walt was referring to the other media companies set up by Vaughan in the months prior to Media Nova’s demise. Vaughan registered TGE Media with Cipro, with himself as the sole director. Its last financial details were published at the end of May 2012. He also registered another media company, Executive Publishing, in October 2012 and yet another, 6th Street Media, as well as an investment business, Dusty Moon Trading.
CTP Printers, in the meantime, has confirmed it has “just received judgment against him and have personal surety”. The source said the company’s lawyers were investigating Vaughan’s assets (properties) in the United Kingdom “so we are busy with our lawyers to assess our options”.
In the meantime, Ultra Litho had started printing Sandton Magazine in Johannesburg. Director Colin Finck said the company was trying to recoup in the region of R160 000 for printing two issues of Sandton Magazine, in June and July this year. The print run was 5000. The June issue was published by 6th Street Media and the July issue by TGE Media. The company had earlier printed the April and May editions, and had been paid upfront for the first issue it printed for Vaughan. He applied for credit after that.
“I didn’t know about him and was tipped off when I heard about CTP’s legal case against him,” Finck said. “Then I heard about Paarl Media via The Media Online’s story and knew sooner or later, we’d get caught. So we cut off his line of credit. We have sent him legal letters of demand.”
Finck said Vaughan had passed a credit check, albeit with a score “on the low side”. “It was a risk,” he admitted. “But once I knew who he was, I knew we’d get burnt.”
Paarl Media’s Van der Walt said in order to write of Media Nova’s debt, “All viable steps in relation to recuperating the funds needed to be explored”.
He said the liquidation of Media Nova was “one such step and forms part of any debt recuperation effort in a case such as this. All doubtful debts are provided for by PMG, this does not mean that all measures to recover the debt are not explored or undertaken”.
He said an enquiry into Media Nova’s actions has been launched and will take place in February 2014.
IMAGE: Paarl Media