But Penn News Owner Mike Monk last night said he will meet with distribution officials from The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times on Sunday to make sure that newspaper delivery continues to all Penn News subscribers. On Tuesday, the Inquirer stopped on campus delivery through Penn News because the newspaper delivery organization had not paid its bills, but Inquirer Campus Sales Manager Joel Kopke said last night that "progress is being made" in resolving the problems. Kopke added that delivery of the paper was due to resume today. "We're trying to build both a long-term and short-term solution so that everyone will be happy," Kopke said. "We want to make as many students happy with the Inquirer as possible." Monk said last night that Penn News holds $22,000 worth of subscriptions, but has been unable to collect a large percentage of the money because the University reneged on a promise to let the organization bill student subscribers through the Bursar's Office. As a result, Monk said, Penn News owes the Inquirer and the Times "thousands of dollars." "Circumstances have just gotten a little hairy right now, but I'm confident that we will weather this and be back, especially with the support of the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer," said Monk, a Wharton senior. "We should be back on our financial feet by January." The organization has been barraged with complaints from students scheduled to receive deliveries. Monk said Penn News will bill all students who signed up to be charged through the bursar. The organization has distributed papers all fall without regard to whether subscribers actually paid. Monk said Penn News has also had numerous staffing problems and has had difficulty with hired vans and drivers from Penn Student Agencies. The problems have resulted in incomplete distribution some days and the curtailment of door-to-door service in several dormitories. Several subscribers have asked for full or partial refunds, Monk said, adding that, for now, Penn News has enough money to cover refunds for the unsatisfied subscribers. The owner said the Penn News offices in the Christian Association were closed for the last three weeks because of "mixed signals" between himself and former Penn News owner Mark Stanley, who is still helping Monk run the organization. "We're not trying to avoid anyone or ditch anyone," Monk said. "Right now we have a lot of people who are waiting for refunds, but we are in the process of refunding all those people. We will make good by all those people." Penn News also faces eviction from its offices by December 21 because the organization has failed to pay its rent, according to CA Business Manager Ken Simon. "It's not [only] a question of their rent," Simon said. "It's a question of their ripping off students, which is a bigger issue." Monk said that he was not aware of any problems with the rent, adding that "they were dealing with [Stanley] on that." Stanley did not answer repeated messages left on his home answering machine over the last two days. Campus newspaper distribution has been plagued with problems since Stanley took over Penn News from PSA in July. Monk became owner of the organization in November. Monk said that University officials, including former PSA Director William Fox, had told Stanley that Penn News could continue to bill students through the Bursar's Office. At the beginning of September, Penn News took more than a hundred subscriptions from students at CUPID, assuming they would be billed through the bursar. Monk said he did not find out that the University would not bill for Penn News until the week before Thanksgiving. "I feel they did a number on us," Monk said. Deputy Vice Provost George Koval said last night that he decided not to allow Penn News to use the bursar's bill sometime in August or early September after reviewing Stanley's agreement with the PSA to take over Penn News. "I'm the one that said they could not use the University busar system because they were a private organization," Koval said. "They got a letter from [PSA General Manger] Tom Hauber in early September, telling them that. I know it was put in writing and Mark Stanley had a letter dated early September." Koval said that if Monk did not find out about the decision until after he took over Penn News in November, he "ought to be talking to Mark Stanley because [Stanley] withheld information from him when they negotiated the sale of the organization." Monk said he does not think Stanley withheld any information from him, adding that it was his understanding from Stanley that PSA's Hauber was still trying to get busar's bill privildges for Penn News. Hauber said yesterday that he had nothing to do with Penn News' busar bill problems, adding that former PSA general manger Fox had negotiated the agreement for Stanley to take over the service.Comments powered by Disqus
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