Former Plenty Staff Riled At Rich Owner

After asking about rumors that deceased environmental magazine Plenty was stiffing writers, we heard from more pissed-off former staffers. Some think the owner could pay if he wanted.

One tipster told us that Plenty has had trouble paying writers for some time. There's a whole discussion thread on Mediabistro about the magazine, with messages from three and four years ago.

Mark Spellun started Plenty in 2004, and by one contributor's reckoning burned through about $100,000 per issue, or about $2.5 million in total. The money likely came from the Spellun family's real-estate empire, this person figures, given that ad pages were allegedly never sufficient to pay a single employee.

Could Mark Spellun's father Arnold, chairman of Plenty parent company Environ Press, pay the magazine's disgruntled former editorial staff, like the group of illustrators we're told is banding together to hire a lawyer and go after the magazine? Maybe not. Real-estate empires are not what they were even a year ago.

But if the principals at Environ Press still hope to catch their share of the anticipated tidal wave of spending on green technology and infrastructure sometime in the next decade, they would be well advised to treat their ecosystem with care right now, inconvenient though it may be.