Fenuxe, the gay Atlanta glossy already accused of defrauding advertisers and blowing $165,000 intended to buy another media outlet on its publisher, now wants to pull a legal trick keep it all on the hush hush. They've asked a judge to hide from the public a case they've turned into something trashier than the "Jerry Springer Show."
On Dec. 19, Fenuxe asked DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker to seal the case with an order "to protect the parties from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, and undue burden or expense." Which is a bit ironic, considering the motion came 10 days after Fenuxe countersued Pride Medical and unleashed a bitter personal attack on the company's CEO.
Fenuxe said that without sealing the case, it's concerned that confidential information will become public and that Lee Anisman, the CEO of Pride Medical, will use "trade secrets" to help develop a publication to compete with the gay glossy.
Pride Medical objected to the request for a protective order. And in a Dec. 17 court filing, the gay-owned medical practice said that what the magazine is claiming confidential information is already "freely (mis)represented in Defendant’s media kits." You know, the ones they recently scrubbed.
"The facts surrounding Defendant's circulation fraud certainly are not confidential, given the Defendant's media kits which publicly misrepresented the number of magazines which Defendant was publishing," according to the Pride Medical filing.
Pride Medical sued Fenuxe in November, alleging that the magazine misrepresented its circulation numbers, over-charged it for advertising and stopped running some of its ads even though it kept paying for them. The lawsuit asked Becker to compel Fenuxe and parent company TW Media Group to provide an accounting of its circulation and distribution, and to award damages for breach of contract, attorneys fees and "for such other relief as may be shown at trial."
Fenuxe responded on Dec. 9 with a bitter, rapey rebuttal that refuted the allegations and a countersuit personally attacking Anisman and claiming that he tried to turn a platonic business relationship into a personal one with Fenuxe Publisher Tyler Calkins (photo). When that failed, according to the countersuit, Anisman became sexually aggressive and launched a campaign to "destroy" Calkins and the magazine.
In turn, Pride Medical responded on Dec. 17 with a 19-page filing accusing Fenuxe and Calkins of attempting to embarrass Pride Medical and "maliciously injure" Anisman.
"It is clear from Defendant's proposed Counterclaims that Defendant is merely attempting to create a nearly 'Jerry Springer'-like atmosphere to this litigation, in order to embarrass Plaintiff and its owners, and to conceal and obscure public attention upon the fraud which it and Mr. Calkins apparently perpetrated upon their clients and customers, including Plaintiff," according to the filing.
Pride Medical also asked Becker to throw out the magazine's counterclaims. And the filing also responded to a host of allegations that Fenuxe included in its Dec. 9 countersuit, including that Anisman groped Calkins, attempted to rape him and tried to extort him into selling control of the magazine to him.
"Plaintiff filed this suit for an accounting and, to the extent that the results of which accounting warrant it, for damages and attorneys fees. It is with absolute certainty that the dating relations between Tyler Calkins and Lee Anisman, MD, in particular, what they did or did not do in their private time, or even what medical treatment Tyler Calkins did or did not receive from Pride Medical, Inc., has no bearing upon Plaintiff's accounting claim or any legitimate counterclaim arising therefrom," according to Pride Medical's response.
The response from Pride Medical spelled out its allegations that Fenuxe misled advertisers about its circulation, charged that Calkins used a $165,000 loan to purchase the GA Voice to instead prop up his magazine and pay off personal debts, and rebutted what it calls "a panoply of spurious claims" from Fenuxe about Anisman and Pride Medical.
"By the summer of 2013, Plaintiff became suspicious of Defendant's published circulation numbers. On October 14, 2013, Plaintiff contacted Defendant's then-current printer, Rose Printing Company, Inc., who shared with Plaintiff that Defendant had never ordered more than 13,000 magazines printed for any given edition, and usually ordered only about 10,000 copies, less than 40% of what it was representing to its advertisers," according to the Pride Medical filing.
The medical practice also claimed that Fenuxe said it would distribute 30,000 issues during Pride in October, but offered documents showing the magazine printed just 13,000 copies.
"That is what this lawsuit is about: Magazine circulation and advertising disputes between two corporations," according to Pride Medical's response.
'Feigned interest,' financial gain
The Fenuxe response to Pride Medical's lawsuit includes a host of personal allegations lobbed at Anisman. In its response, Pride Medical denied that Anisman attempted to extort Calkins, inflicted emotional response or assaulted him.
"Most spuriously, Defendant claims that Dr. Anisman inflicted emotional distress on Mr. Calkins by threatening to 'rape' him, based solely upon the alleged comment that Dr. Anisman could 'make him a bottom,' and that he threatened to 'out' Mr. Calkins to his family. Plaintiff and Dr. Anisman deny that any such threats were made. Even if the suggested sexual language was used, it does not imply a threat of 'sexual assault' or 'rape.' 'I could make you a bottom,' is not synonymous with 'I plan to rape you.'"
In fact, Pride Medical claimed in its response, Calkins and Anisman never had sex during their relationship, though Calkins "regularly shared" a bed with Anisman during some of the eight trips they took, including jaunts to New York, Boca Raton, Miami, Palm Beach, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
"They exchanged literally hundreds of personal phone calls and emails. They sometimes slept in the same bed, especially on trips. They socialized with friends and family as a dating couple. They held hands in public. Their relationship had all the trappings of a dating relationship. If Mr. Calkins now denies that such relationship existed, then it appears that he merely feigned interest in Dr. Anisman and induced him into believing that such a relationship existed, presumably for financial gain," according to the response.
Failed effort to buy GA Voice
The Pride Medical rebuttal also provided details about a partnership between Calkins and Anisman to purchase the GA Voice. The acquisition stalled, but not before Anisman co-signed a $165,000 bank loan with Calkins to make the purchase. Fenuxe claimed that Anisman failed to help repay the loan, a charged Pride Medical disputed in its filing.
"Defendant omits to mention that the loan proceeds were usurped and used by Tyler Calkins alone and he reportedly used them to pay off his own personal credit card bills or to support his apparently-failing magazine business. Why would Dr. Anisman be responsible to pay back a loan in which Tyler Calkins converted to his own personal benefit or that of the company?" according to Pride Medical's response.
Anisman announced Dec. 23 that he was retiring from managing the day-to-day operations of Pride Medical and moving from Atlanta.
Effective at 11:59pm on December 31, 2013, I will no longer be involved in any way in the day to day operations of Pride Medical Inc. Due to continued medical concerns of my own; I will be relocating from Atlanta. I am very confident in the leadership skills, clinical knowledge and passion of our Medical Director, David H. Morris M.D. I am very confident in the leadership team he has chosen. I can think of no one else better to continue to guide this amazing Practice. Whether I remain on the Board of Directors or remain a partial owner of the Company will be decided by the other Shareholders in the very near future.