Journalists in legal bid to recover money owed

First Home and Future Home: former Stanhope titles

Journalists have resorted to legal action in a bid to recover money from Carlton Stanhope Media, the former publisher of First Home and Future Home magazines.

Chris Price, the ex-freelance editor of bimonthly Future Home, claims to be owed nearly £3,500 for a month’s work on two issues, one of which was never printed. Price, who took legal action to recover the money, was awarded judgment against managing director Rob Lehmann but has since discovered that the company’s premises in 132 Royal College Street, Camden, have closed.

It is believed that a further 10 freelances are out of pocket after working for Future Home, which published three issues before Lehmann sold the rights to the title to Future Publishing in July. “I’ve been chasing money for the past few months and been given the same old spiel about credit problems, bad debt and cash flow,” said Price. “I was awarded judgment by default, because he never bothered to offer a defence, which was when I found out that he had shut up shop and was no longer there.”

He has since received a letter from Lehmann which said the company was no longer in business. “He said he had ceased trading because there aren’t any funds left and if he had any money then he’d pay me, but he hasn’t, so too bad,” explained Price.

A further 12 full-time employees on sister-title First Home magazine lost their jobs last month after receiving letters informing them of their immediate redundancy. It is believed the magazine suffered financial difficulty after advertisers were slow to make payments.

Lehmann told Press Gazette: ” I don’t really want to say anything at the moment because we are considering our options.” He added that he “didn’t know at this stage” whether the former staff or unpaid freelances would receive any money.

Lehmann sold his company, WV Publications, which he founded 21 years ago, to Highbury House Communications for £7m in 1996 before setting up Carlton Stanhope Media in September 2002. The company launched Future Home and First Home and was developing several more titles.

By Sarah Boden

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