West U Journal Feud

Bankrupt journalist of the year v. O'Quinn et al.

Detering was one of the investors and served on the paper's board of directors. She says Denver did not behave responsibly and got the business into serious tax problems. She recalls one meeting where Denver suggested they just make up a figure for the operation's tax liability, a suggestion that stunned other board members.

"I have invested in projects that have gone down the tubes -- good shots, close calls and long shots," says Detering, "and I've never had anybody keep sloppier records and never had this kind of distaste for the management of a project."

She concludes that Denver is "a great newspaperwoman, but I don't think she was much of a business manager." "I know that John O'Quinn put in a lot more money than I did," she says. "And if I were him, I would be looking for some of it, maybe."

Attorney John O'Quinn and other investors claim Denver squandered their money.
Phillippe Diederich
Attorney John O'Quinn and other investors claim Denver squandered their money.
Attorney John O'Quinn and other investors claim Denver squandered their money.
Phillippe Diederich
Attorney John O'Quinn and other investors claim Denver squandered their money.

O'Quinn and Mrs. Higley did not return Insider inquiries.

Although Denver is planning at least one more issue of the Journal, she is pessimistic about its future.

"At this point, the West U Journal has been damaged so badly, why fight for it anymore?" asks the publisher, hard at work on her temporary assignment in Seattle. "They can't get it, but yet they are going to keep hassling me where I can't financially afford to do anything."

Political consultant Allen Blakemore lives in West University and was on the cover of the last Journal issue in October, pushing a police pay-raise referendum. He recalls that a frantic Denver called him on a weekend last summer and begged him to pose for the photo, which did not run in the paper until three months later.

Asked who he pegs as the villains in the controversy, Blakemore shrugs.

"If I had to guess," says the consultant, "most of Beverly's problems are based on her complete and general incompetence in the business aspects of trying to put out a paper."

A source close to the creditors warns that Denver's problems are far from over.

"If you know of anybody that's interested in a newspaper, I think Mr. O'Quinn's going to end up owning one," says this source. "Somewhere down the line he's going to bid enough to own that West U Journal, and if nothing else, he's going to put that thing either out of business -- or into business."

Get Thee to a Spell Checker!

Early in his administration Mayor Lee Brown got tagged in the Houston Chronicle when an aide approved an education brochure with numerous misspellings. So Hizzoner might be forgiven for questioning why the Chronicle and other media failed to similarly ridicule a congratulatory letter from an even higher-profile politician. It ran on the cover of a program earlier this month for the Lombardi Award dinner in Houston. The missive was laced with misspelled words and grammatical blunders.

The letter's author, Governor and now President-elect George W. Bush, saluted the purpose of the banquet audience to "celebrate the achievements of this year's outstatnding college football lineman."

The letter went on to praise the finalists "for yur dedication." Rotary Club sponsors also received praise "for you 31 years of service to the American cancer society."

Both Brown and President Bill Clinton contributed banquet letters of their own that appear to be error-free.

Note to the White House transition team: Make sure whoever handles outgoing correspondence from the Oval Office has strong grammatical skills -- and a computer with a good spell checker.

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