Denver Magazine's Michael Ledwitz denies stiffing advertisers, staffers after pub closed

micihael ledwitz photo cropped.JPG
Michael Ledwitz.
After last week's item about Denver Magazine shutting down, with its key assets purchased by rival 5280, the comments section exploded, with numerous posters accusing Michael Ledwitz, the defunct mag's CEO, publisher and editor, of ripping off advertisers. It's a charge that offends Ledwitz, who not only denies stiffing anyone but encourages us to publish his phone number (303-952-0060) so that anyone with gripes can call him directly.

Ledwitz can only speculate about the identity of his online critics, but he believes "most of those things are coming from ex-employees of the magazine who were either fired for stealing or things like that. Because I've never done anything wrong to anybody. I challenge any advertiser to step up, instead of posting anonymously, and say, 'I'm an advertiser and I've been screwed by Denver Magazine.' Because no advertisers were harmed at all."

Indeed, Ledwitz maintains that every advertiser has been made "100 percent whole," as have all the writers and contributors to the publication. That leaves only subscribers still owed copies of the magazine. "We're looking at how to take care of them," he says, "and we're getting pretty close to it. We're talking about subscriptions that are $6, $12, $15 in some cases, so it's not anyone's life savings. But I understand, and we're working on making it right."

How many subscribers did Denver Magazine have? Ledwitz prefers to keep that figure to himself.

What about charities like the Young Philanthropists Foundation, which was selling tickets for its big annual fundraiser through the Denver Magazine website when it went dark? Last Thursday, YPF executive director Alexis Boian said Ledwitz had promised to provide her organization with all of the money and information about ticket buyers collected prior to the shutdown, and he's done so, he notes. He adds that YPF was the only charity to be in such a situation.

When asked if Denver Magazine folded because of a tough economy and the challenges faced by print publications these days, he defers. "I really can't comment on it too much," he allows, "but you're making the assumption the magazine couldn't make it, and that's just an assumption."

Then was the closure a result of an investor pulling out, as has been rumored? "That's not true," he stresses.

So why did the magazine close? In his words, "Business is business, and that's all I can say."

What's next for Ledwitz? Would he consider launching another media project in Denver?

"Time will tell," says Ledwitz, who had previously worked as a publisher in Miami. "The reality is, I can stay here. I have plenty of friends. But we have opportunities all over the place -- some on the East Coast, some here in Denver. So we'll see. Right now, I'm taking a moment to kick back and relax."

He adds that "in life, all you have is your reputation, and mine's always been stellar, and I totally plan on keeping it that way. That's why everyone's been paid. No one's been left out in the cold, and I'm out there, answering questions for anyone who asks. I'm not sneaking away in the middle of the night and screwing everybody in Denver."

More from our Media archive: "Denver Magazine's Michael Ledwitz is a model publisher."


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23 comments
Guest
Guest

I quite frankly do not care what Michael says. I am an advertiser that was definitely misled and I am still owed multiple thousands of dollars. This guy is definitely a character that I would never in my wildest dreams make a business deal with again. At this point, the best thing I can say is do not work with this man--you will save yourself an immeasurable amount of trouble.

Guest
Guest

Interesting article posted on Denver Post's website (written by columnist Penny Parker) on 3/19/2009. Hmmmm it appears that Michael Ledwitz (with his stellar reputation) has a history of owing people money. I wonder how this lawsuit turned out?

Former Denver Magazine editor in chief Dahlia Weinstein has filed a civil suit in Denver District Court against her former employer Luxury Media Group Inc., headed by the magazine's president, chief executive and publisher, Michael Ledwitz.

The complaint is aimed at recovering money and writing credit Weinstein says she's owed from her employment there from Oct. 11, 2007, through July 14, 2008, when she and the magazine split.

Exactly who broke up with whom is debatable. Weinstein claims she was fired; Ledwitz says two weeks before the split, Weinstein handed in a letter of resignation.

Before I go on, let me disclose that Weinstein is a dear friend I worked closely with during our tenure at the Rocky Mountain News.

The lawsuit itemizes 114 examples of money allegedly owed and promises supposedly broken during her employment. It is widely known (my husband was the magazine's copy editor while Weinstein worked there) that Weinstein and Ledwitz butted heads over the magazine's editorial direction.

Weinstein's lawsuit claims she's owed salary, vacation pay and expenses that equal more than $15,000. She's also claiming breach of contract because allegedly Ledwitz didn't abide by the employment contract they both signed.

Ledwitz has 20 days from the suit's filing March 9 to respond. Both parties commented through spokespeople.

"At this time our attorneys are handling the matter, and we feel that Ms. Weinstein's suit is completely without merit," said Ledwitz spokeswoman Wendy Aiello.

Weinstein's attorney, Gerritt Koser of Hopkins Tschetter Sulzer in Aurora, said, "Our position is not to comment too much."

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just sayin
just sayin

What is very interesting is the Denver Magazine FB page has over 9500 fans and is still up & being maintained by 5280. That being said after the same news flash posted there last week by Dan announcing his purchase of their assests etc. the comments that followed are very NICE and complimenting Denver Magazine in several areas from quality to service. You do not read any of the Nasty and Untrue stuff being said about them on FB. WHY ??? because then someone would have to put their FACE to their words. So that is why these unanimous comments are ridiculous and an easy way for a few angry souls to lash out at someone and lie. If a business was owed money this is not the place they would waste their energy trying to redeem it anyway. Happens all the time on these blogs. It is fun to call someone fat and ugly when they don't know who you are, I suppose...

Larry
Larry

So he speaks! What took so long? If we give him the benefit of the doubt relating to his claims in this article we still have some unanswered questions. Michael, can you shed some light on these?

1. Why are you keeping your subscription list from the public and 5280, was DM fudging it's numbers which seems the only logical reason to keep this hidden because it would tell advertisers they were taken advantage of.

2. Why only sell "key assets of the company" when more commonly the company itself would be sold, it seems to imply there was outstanding debt in the company and this provided a way for you to personally profit from the sale of said assets and avoid any liability of paying back debts.

3. In other related posts users have questioned your reputation, bad or good, it seems like a fair question to ask given the way the deal took place. Can you comment on the lawsuit with former editor Dahlia Weinstein?

4. It also appears the public can't find any prior work or education history, searching on the Internet doesn't return much information. A search of "Florida Court Ledwitz" reveals what appears to be another past law legal issue shown on this page: http://www.leagle.com/xmlResul... Is this the same "Ledwitz" what were the circumstances involving this case?

5. It appears over the course of DM's run many people (owners, editors, designers, writers, etc) have come and gone rather quickly which appears to suggest there was some sort of underlying issue with you or the magazine itself, has anyone involved commented on their reasons for leaving?

6. If disgruntles employees are the source of much of the negativity is there a reason beyond being laid off? It doesn't seem that simple action would cause such hatred. Was it simply that the employees were led to believe everything was fine when it wasn't? Were they not given any sort of compensation from the sale of the assets of the company? It would seem if not that could be a reason for being upset if they feel you made out with a good deal of money and they were all left in the dust and didn't get a cut of your proceeds.

I think clearing up all these issues would help maintain the good reputation you claim. Any further details you or anyone could provide would ease a lot of minds I suspect.

Guest
Guest

If this is the case what is your company? If you do not put your company name out there then shut up and cower back in your corner. I know Michael and he assured me he owes no one anything. If he owes you thousands then stand up and put itmout there.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Very interesting information, Guest. Thanks for posting it.

Larry
Larry

RE: Just Sayin: I am guessing this isn't an answer to my questions is it? More like an attempted deflection? I don't have Facebook, this article was posted by Westword, after an apparent interview with Michael, I didn't write it, so how is this not the right place to question the validity of the article and Michael's comments, it seems to be the exact place to do so. Actually none of your comments make sense, everyone that comments on Facebooks are "fans" of DM so of course they would write positive things, they already liked it by definition. That doesn't mean there aren't just as many of us who are now pissed off. Didn't DM claim 50,000 subscribers? 9,500 facebook fans is less than 20% of that, and how many of them made positive comments? I am guessing less than 5% of DM's readership if that. Try some logic in your next post.

Mrsanto
Mrsanto

Didn't he post his phone # above. If you are loosing sleep over these questions going unanswered why don't you call him and ask? Very intriguing how much interest this has sparked. Again I have not seen one advertiser post their indentity anywhere claiming they paid for an ad in advance that is now not going to be printed or refunded. If they did get screwed why not mention your business on here for some extra PR. I would assume like all print media contracts you are not charged or billed until the add goes to print. Hmmm.

Jhg
Jhg

WOW this individual is SPOT ON!!! Well said Larry! I happen to be a part of the Denver business community and have worked with many of the local magazines here. Ledwitz has gained a shady reputation in this community and now that people are speaking out on these blogs (and who cares if they don't wish to reveal themselves) of course he is going to try to defend his "stellar reputation." Fact is this man has always been great about putting on a false front and giving the impression that "all is great at Denver Magazine" and that is only proven by the fact that his company released a press release about the promotion of a sales employee to director of sales just days before announcing they were out of business. The only thing Ledwitz is "stellar" at disguising reality.

The Truth Will Set You Free
The Truth Will Set You Free

Guest - I can confirm 100% that Michael has stolen and scammed people out of 100s of thousands of dollars. I have no need to go public with that info, but if someone makes it worth my while I would be happy to. You may well know Michael, but if you think you know the real Michael you are wrong, and that is a fact. He stole money from me in 2001 and I was only one of 1000s he scammed.. Try researching his past business ventures!

Dahlia
Dahlia

Has anyone read Dahlia moves on again in the Denver post? I heard she lost her lawsuit after 3 years fighting for monies from Denver Mag. Anyone know the facts?

Gust
Gust

I wonder who prevailed in this frivolous lawsuit some jealous ex-employee filed. Hmmm let me guess;)

grace
grace

I would like you to prove where it said DM claimed having 50,000 subscribers. Last I checked it said they were printing 50,000 magazines, that does not mean there are 50,000 subscribers. I think your logic is confused. Try comparing the number printed to the number of subscribers for any magazine in this country and you will learn a thing or two. Also to help you out, look at distribution versus subscription when considering the claimed print order. Three words for you to look up in the dictionary:subscription distributionprint orderMaybe then you can understand the magazine world a little better before you accuse someone of lying or fraud.

Damn Good Freelancer
Damn Good Freelancer

I wrote for Denver Magazine and NEVER had any problems getting paid.  The check came every month like clockwork.  I can honestly say my working relationship with Michael and the whole Denver Magazine team was one of the best experiences that I have had as a freelancer.  I am sorry to see that boring rag bought them! 

Jimmy2shoes
Jimmy2shoes

As a former writer for DM I can firmly attest that it quickly became clear to me the Michael Ledwitz was a classic scum bag. In my experience (and similarly told to me by other writers) in order to get paid by Michael you basically had to pry it out of him.  Payments never "just came" like he said they would.  You had to email him, then call him, then email him again, then come to the office, then "he wasn't there" even though he said he had the check written and waiting at the office.  It became comical. Would I eventually get paid, yes, but does Michael run a respectable business, not even close..

Show Me The Money
Show Me The Money

I have researched his past business ventures and cannot find anything wrong - what are you referring to?  If there is something I want to know - instead of trying to find it help me see "the light".  Then the truth will set you free......

Dgma12
Dgma12

lol, I know college students that have more publishing experience than Michael does, I don't think more is needed to be said, the results of his work are proven... I was designing magazines before Michael knew how to read.

Thurston
Thurston

Maybe your design work just plain sucked. Or maybe you should learn what it is to run a business. If he did not need you in his business, why would he keep paying you? Sounds like you are sour and do not understand how it all works

Dgma12
Dgma12

I used to do some graphic design work for Michael Ledwitz, and once you break him down to the person he really is you will find nothing but a total dbag. Yes, it is personal, but well deserved.  You will think he is your best friend until the day he decides you no longer serve a beneficial purpose for him and then he will throw you aside like trash.. People like Michael all eventually get whats coming to them.. as we all now see clearly..

Post
Post

If someone pays you you will tell everyone your business name? Enough said. I have looked into his past a cannot find anything. All I have heard from his past realtors is how amazing he was as a broker. I have looked and cannot find anything. Seems like he must have fired you or something. If not put your company out there for everyone to validate yourself.

Larry
Larry

Grace, thanks for adding to the pool of the few trying to defend this nonsense. You represent yet another moron. You think I made up that number? Sorry that came form the Denver Post, if that isn't a reliable enough source than I apologize, here you go you idiot: http://www.denverpost.com/busi... Don't worry you only have to read a few lines if you can handle doing at least that much research before posting another stupid response.

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