The owner of a new showbiz magazine is being pursued by a stream of angry journalists, printers, PR agents and property owners who claim they are owed thousands of pounds.
Paulo "JC" Loter set up L-Star Vision and was due to launch One Step Ahead this week. However, the launch fell through when staff saw their cheques bounce and discovered Loter’s business account was £23,000 overdrawn. It is claimed he owes £300,000 to suppliers, an ad agency, property owners, printers and staff. Complaints have been made to the police.
The magazine, which has generated widespread publicity and has advertised on billboards and buses across London, was due to host its launch party this week. The party was cancelled when the cheque paid to the Emporium Night Club bounced.
Staff say they were led to believe Loter was a successful film producer and son of an oil tycoon, who was about to receive £4.6m from his "Hollywood film institute". Several claim they agreed to lend him large sums of money on the basis they were making an investment that would be doubled on repayment.
Loter is also believed to have received cheques from 74 would-be subscribers. Journalists say they have had difficulty tracking him down and one staffer claims she is now on the brink of losing her home.
Editor Seltzer Cole, who claims he is owed £13,000, spotted Loter in Pret A Manger in Pall Mall this week and confronted him with other disgruntled employees. "When I asked about my money he repeated the phrase, ‘You’ve got to trust me’. He has no idea the impact he is having on people," he told Press Gazette.
Publicist Joy Coker, who claims she is owed £2,000 and five weeks’ wages, said: "I just want to apologise and let people know I wasn’t part of this."
Staff hope to carry on with the project and are looking for a new backer.
Loter failed to respond to Press Gazette’s calls. His website says production problems delayed the launch.
by Ruth Addicott