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Conde Nast Publications Sues the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board
 Seeking to Recover Over $1 million dollars in Unpaid Advertising
By Tess Hennigan, Turks and Caicos Net News, Grand Cayman, Cayman IslandsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 31, 2009 --Caribbean Net News Staff Reporter Email: tess@caribbeannetnews.com

On July 24, Conde Nast Publications, a leading publishing company that is home to numerous magazines and websites, filed a lawsuit in a New York District Court seeking to recover more than one million dollars in unpaid advertising, attorney's fees, and interest from the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.

According to the court papers, the TCI Tourist Board failed to pay for advertising that appeared in 2007 and 2008 issues of W magazine, Elegant Bride, and Vanity Fair, as well as ads in the 2007 Fashion Rocks.

The total value of the advertising placed up to June 2008 was $1,296,535.36. After the Tourist Board requested a payment plan, which was agreed to by Conde Nast, an initial payment of $256,258.08 was made by the Board around June 11, 2008, leaving a remaining balance of $1,040,277.28.

In October 2008, when no further payments had been received pursuant to the repayment agreement, attorneys for Conde Nast sent a "demand letter" to the Tourist Board requesting all unpaid moneys be paid.

The ads reportedly featured LisaRaye McCoy-Misick, the former TCI first lady, who also testified before the Commission of Inquiry this year in relation to the affairs of her ex-husband, Michael Misick, former premier of the TCI. McCoy-Misick has said that she was paid $300,000 a month to appear in, and art-direct the ads.

Neither Conde Nast nor the Tourist Board have commented publicly on the lawsuit; however, the opposition People's Democratic Movement (PDM) released a press statement on Tuesday, saying, "We deeply regret the current situation vis-...-vis Conde Nast and our Tourist Board, and remain mindful of a perfect working relationship prior to 2003."

The PDM also made note that Conde Nast is not the only lawsuit pending against the Tourist Board, claiming that, among others, Rolls Royce and Bride Magazine are also owed monies by the Tourist Board.

"Conde Nast is a leading, reputable magazine that ranks very high in the world of travelers," said the PDM, adding that it was Conde Nast magazine that declared Grace Bay beach as one of the best in the world.

The Opposition stated, "We do not trivialize, nor take lightly, this endorsement... The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, prior to the PNP administration, placed a number of advertisements with Conde Nast and some of its sister publications; and there were never any problems with payment."

The PDM said that are concerned about the number of lawsuits pending against the Turks and Caicos Islands, and asked the Minister of Tourism for explanation of the lawsuits but, according to the Opposition, the response "scoffed and made light of the fact that it was for want of payment."

"We have not been able to ascertain information relating to the parties involved, nor the nature of these cases," reported the PDM, "but we are prepared to use what is still available to us and will move a question in the House of Parliament so that the people can know the true state on these matters."

The PDM called on the Progressive National Party (PNP) government to sacrifice and make payments to the companies with whom the TCI has enjoyed longstanding relationships, pointing out, "This delay and this ongoing situation can only further hurt our country's reputation and ruin relationships that were strengthened by years of honest dealings."

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To see more of the Turks and Caicos Net News or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.tcinetnews.com/.

Copyright (c) 2009, Turks and Caicos Net News, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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