David Magazine Folds
by Norm Kent
The rumors surrounding the
demise of David Magazine became a reality on Friday, February 4 when the
remaining employees of the publication announced that the magazine had
ceased operations. And in a bizarre turn of events, which unfolded only
Friday, February 11, its director of operations accused the publisher of
stealing her purse and forging checks from her checkbook.
Since the mid-January "vacation"
of publisher Gil Quijas, rumors have been swirling about Davidís future.
Calls to David Magazine, whose phones will be disconnected by this week,
were answered by Ellen Friedman, Davidís former National Director of Operations.
Friedman told the Express
that the publication essentially collapsed financially on January 14, the
day after Gil Quijas went on vacation. "All our funds mysteriously disappeared
the next day," she stated. "Gil went away on the13th and we lost contact
with him immediately. His cell phone was disconnected. We have no idea
where he went or where he is."
Friedman confided that employees
rolled up their sleeves and agreed to work without pay to save the publication.
"Some of us have not been paid in four weeks," she added. Ironically, only
four weeks ago, the Community High Riser had done a full page feature and
profile on the success of Gil Quijas and David Printing.
Meanwhile, furious advertisers
allege that staffers at David lied to them to protect their jobs and fraudulently
took money without disclosing the truth of what actually happened. "Not
true," Friedman asserted. "We did everything we could to keep the magazine
alive. We honestly believed in Gil and had every reason to believe he was
coming back, until February 3. From that day on, we ceased operations."
At least one angry realtor
indicated he was on his way to the Wilton Manors police to file charges.
Another, Jay Hatoff of Majestic Realty Intíl stated: "I think it is outrageous.
Not only am I prepaid, they cashed my last check on February 4."
Acknowledging further that
near Ďthe endí numerous checks to creditors had bounced, Friedman stated
"we have no funds to pay anyone back. If I could refund people money, the
advertisers who paid for ads they will not see, I would. But there is no
In what may be a related
matter, Ms Friedman filed a police report on Friday alleging that last
November Gil Quijas stole her purse, removed blank checks from the back
of her checkbook, and cashed three of them at a Five Points check cashing
store for amounts in excess of $25,000.
"We are perplexed," said
Wilton Manors Detective Danny James, "as to why she waited until now to
come in." Meanwhile, Friedman told the police that the bank has restored
the funds to her account. Detective James verified that Gil Quijas did
take and cash the checks, and is now making restitution to the check cashing
store for paying him the money.
Until Friedmanís report on
Friday, no complaints had been lodged against David Magazine or Gil Quijas.
"At this point, we have no reports of bounced checks. If we get them, we
will of course look into it," stated Detective James.
Scott Holland, who had gone
from National Director of Promotions and Sales to Editor to running the
magazine in the space of three weeks, announced he was going to work for
Miami-beat Scoop columnist Tony Lambrou, who will be starting a new publication.
Holland told the Express only a few weeks ago that he was "grateful and
thrilled" about the opportunity to steward David magazine.
On January 27, Holland wrote
that David was not in trouble and stated rumors about its impending demise
were untrue: "A lot of fiction has been spread about us around town...our
publisher (Gil Quijas) is simply on a well deserved vacation." Interviewed
last Friday, he told the Express that he "was stunned by what Gil did..I
had no clue that the magazine was in trouble...why would I work that hard
if I thought we were going to fold...I live and work in this community.
I care about it."
"We just did not know what
Gilís true intentions were at that time," Friedman stated. "We thought
our owner was on vacation and would responsibly return." She and Holland
refused to disclose to the Express exactly what occurred on February 3rd
that made her change her mind. But in a hastily called press conference
on February 4, she announced that was the date they knew David was defunct
and would not republish. Friedman indicated Ms. David has also met its
demise. "Letís face it. The name is ruined," she said of both publications.
Former employees of David
reported that the working environment at the business was in fact "less
than comfortable." That was confirmed by Delbert Swander, who is now the
Classified Manager at Muchacho Magazine. He had previously been employed
at David. "I think Gil Quijas just got overwhelmed. He couldnít say no
to people. Bill collectors and creditors were calling so frequently I barely
had time to sell ads. Bill collectors are aggressive, as you know, and
it just made it so uncomfortable to work there."
Concerning David Lee, the
former partner of Quijas, Friedman said, "Please let the community know
that he has never been connected with David Magazine or the printing company
in any way. He simply owns the building and gave the magazine its chance.
He is only guilty of trusting someone he once loved. And they [Lee and
Quijas] have not been lovers for over two years." Calls to David Lee were
not returned by the Express deadline.
Ms. Friedman announced that
she has formed a partnership with Jeff Pomerantz to start 'A Renaissance
Printer' at the David location. She promised to start a new women's magazine
to replace Ms. David, and hopes to have it on the street by March 15.
John Chambers, a former David
salesConfiding that he has been disenchanted with Scoop for a number of
months and has been looking for his own venue, Lambrou intends to publish
a magazine the exact same size as Hot Spots! and David.
Holland, who will serve as
editor of Lambrouís new magazine, stated they will honor Davidís prepaid
advertisers in their new publication. "We donít want members of the gay
community to lose any money." At least one angry classified advertiser
called Hollandís proposal nonsense: "I am sorry but that just will not
fly. I want my money back. I did not pay for an ad in a magazine I have
never seen and has not come out yet."
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