[reposted from my Billy Wayne Carter blog]
Though it’s still not clear exactly what’s going on, my publisher Cantara Christopher has sent me a couple of updates that she asked me to repost here. One development is that she has retained a New York lawyer, so she should soon have more of a handle on what the actual lawsuit is about and hopefully will have access to her bank accounts again. Here’s the latest message I got from her. Most of what’s new info here is just further evidence of Gill’s general fishiness.
One of our authors just sent me PDF attachments of documents related to North Eagle Corporation. North Eagle, you’ll recall, is the non-profit organization which publishes the North Atlantic Review, a literary annual. President of North Eagle and publisher of the Review is John Edward Gill, a former author of Cantarabooks, who I learned two weeks ago managed to illegally seize not only my company’s bank account but my personal joint checking account and the personal checking sole account of Cantarabooks’ editor, Michael, who is my domestic partner but is in absolutely no way an officer, investor or employee of my company.
– Annual Financial Report of a Charitable Organization (for 2006 and 2007)
– Short Form Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax (for 2006)
I read the documents and recognized the name of the accountant. This is the accountant Gill offered to pay to do the taxes for Cantarabooks. He even offered to put Michael and me up in a fancy hotel in Stony Brook while the accountant worked on them. After about a month he dropped that idea. Never found out why.
The reports and return show not much activity, not much expenditure.
Gill is listed as a professor of English at Suffolk Community College. Community college instructors are not known to make a lot of money – yet Gill’s home address is in an upper-class area of Stony Brook.
His home address is also listed as the address for North Eagle Corporation and his other nonprofit, Children’s Rights of New York, Inc.
When I started my business John urged me to apply for nonprofit status and seemed mightily disappointed when I didn’t. I had absolutely no desire to apply for nonprofit status for Cantarabooks. I wonder how he would have tried to get his hooks into my company had I gone the 501(c)3 route.
Because we were never at any point served papers informing us of a judgment or even a lawsuit, I spent a frustrating two weeks trying to understand Gill’s complaint toward me. Was it defamation, for example, or did he think I failed to fulfill my part of his book contract?
But another one of our authors gave me some good advice. He said, “Follow the money.” Because what it came down to, simply, is that Gill is on the swindling side of the business world and I was the most available mark. It had nothing to do with a breach in good faith and absolutely nothing to do with literature.
It shocks me to realize that one of my other authors, Stephen Gyllenhaal, was also being sized up by Gill, who asked me at one time, point-blank, if “Stephen would be interested in putting money in my [meaning Gill’s] company”.
Another near-mark, I’m sickened to realize, is a writer acquaintance, mutual to Gill and me who lives in Greenwich. When her husband died two years ago he came calling with flowers, invitations to dinner, offers to make her paid senior editor of the North Atlantic Review… This woman is a rather gentle character and not given to think the worst of people – but when Gill came around so soon after her husband’s death she was appalled and sent him away.
How I got to meet Gill was through the CLMP and the Small Press Center (now the New York Center for Independent Publishing), but at this time neither organization wants to touch this story with a ten-foot pole, which is understandable.
How Stephen got mixed up in all this is that he employed a well-known, well-respected writer’s service in New Jersey to send around his work, and North Atlantic Review was on their list of publications. There’s been no comment from them either.
Incidentally, by a strange coincidence, right before Michael and I went down to LA I got a hold of the first chapters of Clifford Irving’s new unpublished novel and struck up an acquaintance with him. He phoned me while we were having lunch with one of our authors so I owe Clifford a call back. Maybe I’ll email him about this whole thing, see what he says, if anything.