Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Robert Geltzer, take your lawsuit(s) and stuff it: The New York Times is reporting that Geltzer, a bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct magazine Lingua Franca has been sending letters to freelance writers threatening to sue them if they don't return fees they received in return for articles they wrote.
Joanna Smith Rakoff, a writer who worked as a Web editor and wrote for University Business Daily, an affiliated publication, had her first substantial article for Lingua Franca published just before the magazine folded. Two years later, she has been told to return the money for the work she did. The money is to be directed to "secured" creditors, rather than freelancers, who are the unsecured kind.
Ms. Smith Rakoff, who has written for The New York Times, said she had received a note demanding that her $1,550 fee be returned in 10 days - or else she would be sued and forced to pay the money back. "I feel angry and betrayed," she said. "This thing has taken over my life. I can't afford to pay it and I can't afford not to do anything about it because then there will be a default judgment against me."
Two years later? This is ridiculous. I've done freelance copyediting work before, but I never expected that if the company I worked for went belly up, that I might have to pay back money I'd rightfully earned.