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Matthew Bank Sells HX to … Mystery Buyer. Staffers Fired

New York’s free bar guide HX is being unloaded by owner Matthew Bank, who got into bed with Avalon Equity founder and Window Media publisher David Unger to keep spitting the glossy out. No word yet on who’s buying the thing, but Bank looks to be staying on with his HX Media, which still runs the New York Blade and HX’s expo units.

UPDATE: We hear employees have been fired, which is par for the course with these sales.

UPDATE 2: Next buying HX?

By:           editor editor
On:           Jun 30, 2009
Tagged: , , ,

  • 37 Comments
    • Estelle Getty
      Estelle Getty

      No big shock there. HX was hemmoraghing money as well as Mr. Bank himself who I know for a fact is personally overextended. He probably sold just so he could live.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leave it to Beaver
      Leave it to Beaver

      So, the NY Blade is dead too, not that it was really alive.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Estelle Getty
      Estelle Getty

      Most likely, Beaver. They let editor Kat Long go too and there’s no way they could do expos without Brian.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom Tom
      Tom Tom

      Gay City News is left standing alone? Is there any end to the twists and turns of the gay press in New York?

      Jun 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      The owners of the New York Press bought it. That’s good for the gay editor of that paper, Jerry Portwood.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Estelle Getty
      Estelle Getty

      Why would NY Press buy it?

      Jun 30, 2009 at 6:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      ^^^ synergy. They probably think they can cross-sell ads. Not sure they can – if you’re a straight bar, would you want to be in HX? But things like restaurants, maybe.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellsKitchen
      HellsKitchen

      Another failure for David Unger. Poisons anything he touches.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Helga von ornstein
      Helga von ornstein

      @Leave it to Beaver: Well said.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 9:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lance Rockland
      Lance Rockland

      This Matthew Bank is one shady character. He’s a one-man gay newspaper wrecking machine.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cross-sell... cross your fingers
      cross-sell... cross your fingers

      The new owners probably hope they can repurpose the same editorial in all the publications as well. Stuff like film reviews, theater, horoscopes, etc. Sure, articles read better when they’re tweaked for a specific audience, but when copy is viewed as filler between two ads, does the audience matter?

      Hey, who knows. Maybe HX and the Blade will be relaunched and remarketed in some amazing heretofore unseen ways.

      Jun 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Estelle Getty
      Estelle Getty [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @cross-sell… cross your fingers: The Blade wasnt part of the sell just HX

      Jun 30, 2009 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey
      Qjersey

      NYC is littered with ex-HX staffers. I have heard more than once about sales staff being fired when they reached their goals so HX wouldn’t have to pay them bonuses.

      Banks is a creep, who like the rest of corporate america, used his company as his own personal piggy bank while shafting the staff.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 7:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HellsKitchen
      HellsKitchen

      HX will truly be missed as it was always in the forefront of the up and coming personalities, travel destinations, nightlife, theater, and restaurants. It is a shame that the SBA chose David Unger to direct the liquidation of the very magazines he ran into the ground through Avalon Equity.

      The SBA had the wool pulled over their eyes with David Unger, his slippery talk and “victim” angle worked, but the community prevailed and was so pleased when Bank allegedly stepped in to do something about the sham and go around Unger doing what he could to prevent the sale of his MEDIA EMPIRE because of his ego, and make a deal himself.

      The team worked so hard to make NY’s original gay guide part of the community. It is disappointing that David Unger and Avalon Equity came in and undid all the hard work so many of us had been working on for years. We can only hope that next time we will insulate ourselves from the David Unger types and maintain control of our locally owned publications.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 9:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheShadow
      TheShadow

      Well Well, Is this a BIG surprise??? NOT at all.
      1) When is Unger joining Bernard Madoff, he is just as much a scum bag, should be in same jail cell. SBA Hurry up before he takes all your $$$.

      2) Matt Banks has screwed more people in NYC than most people get screwed in a bath house, WHY where people even working for HX?? are people that stupid that they did not know they would be fired next??

      NOT Rocket science here!!!!

      Boston/ GONE , PHILLIE GONE, Genre/GONE, Expo GONE. What’s Let????

      How many staff members have been fired?? over the last few years. 50??? more???

      We must not forget the other office moron Gary Lacinski his head is so far up Banks and Ungers ass is nose is solid brown now.

      YES its true Gay media has been HIT hard by the economy, However
      Windows Media and HX have been screwing people over and in BAD shape far longer than the economy. STOP blaming the the economy and Blame the people that have ruined Gay Media, Banks, Unger and there puppet Lacinski.

      and one last thing, WHY has anyone even placed ads in HX in last 6 months??? they pulled it out of the street boxes, you cannot find in retail stores. ONLY place is in clubs and bars, GEE if I where to visit the city I think I would be looking to find WHERE to go, and if I am at the bar or club I would not need the Crap magazine. I hope people know they been getting screwed once again by Banks and HX buy not even having the magazine on the streets.

      Hopefully the new owners will FIRE Banks and Lacinski so they can both burn in hell together!!!!! While Unger becomes a bum chum for Bernard Madoff

      Jul 1, 2009 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • homofied
      homofied

      Wow shadow, you seem to have an anal/fecal fixation, exacerbated by mania, topped off with a dollop of self-hate. Thanks for sharing and all, but your time would be better spent resuming your meds.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 11:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @Qjersey: No kidding. Rumors were rife of Matthew and his slut boyfriend Peter taking home checks of $4000-8000 every pay cycle while staffers waited to get their measly pay. On top of that, they hired their mutual boytoy to work for the company as office assistant. Just ask the staffers who saw him and PEter rubbing up against each other in the office. No one there trusted him. From my friends who worked there they all came to the same conclusion – Matthew Bank did not have his hands on the wheel of HX Media for a while. He was too content to let other people do the work and collect the money while he surfed for sex online in his office. Bills went unpaid, P&Ls weren’t done, and when he finally realized he was heading down shit creek, the current was too strong for him to change direction and it was all downhill.

      As for Gary, his idea of sales is to send out a mass email to everyone and not follow up with them. Part of the reason why HX failed is because of Gary’s ineptitude and sky high salary. I know more than a few people who told Gary that if they took out the rentboy ads in the back they would be opening themselves up to a larger clientele who would not want to be associated with a magazine featured such services. He would rail on about how it was a double standard but in reality, companies do not want to have their ads featured in a magazine that also has ads advertising for sex.

      In this digital age, they failed to take advantage of online content. They invested in the redesign of their website too late while letting the old one stagnate and look more and more stale. Couple that with bad investments in publications in Boston and Philadelphia with more hands off management and this conclusion is inevitable.

      HX Media can’t survive on the Blade and Expos alone – especially with no one to write for them or sell space. If anything, these are assets they will probably try to sell off to recoup investments and pay off bills.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Travis
      Travis

      HX will truly be missed as it was always in the forefront of the up and coming personalities, travel destinations, nightlife, theater, and restaurants. It is a shame that the SBA chose David Unger to direct the liquidation of the very magazines he ran into the ground through Avalon Equity.
      The SBA had the wool pulled over their eyes with David Unger, his slippery talk and “victim” angle worked, but the community prevailed and was so pleased when Bank allegedly stepped in to do something about the sham and go around Unger doing what he could to prevent the sale of his MEDIA EMPIRE because of his ego, and make a deal himself.
      The team worked so hard to make NY’s original gay guide part of the community. It is disappointing that David Unger and Avalon Equity came in and undid all the hard work so many of us had been working on for years. We can only hope that next time we will insulate ourselves from the David Unger types and maintain control of our locally owned publications.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dm73
      dm73

      This explains why they had no float in the Pride March this past Sunday too.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @dm73: Explains why there were so few copies of HX were to be found.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @Travis: Avalon was a minority share holder in HX. They did not own the entire company. That’s a subject that’s been well documented here.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Beefer
      Beefer

      I worked at HX for about three years, a while back. Was it the perfect office environment? No? Was everyone there singing Disney tunes while animated birds chirped and flittered about? No. It was a typical small business, trying to grow, make money, keep clients happy and produce an attractive, relevant product. Sometimes staff did things right and sometimes they did things wrong. I can recall both poor decisions and brilliant decisions being made by staff at every level. I know I was reprimanded when I screwed up and I was praised/promoted when I did things well. I definitely remember how amazing the product turned out to be, week after week and that was the point of working there… to produce an amazing product that catered specifically to the gay community.

      I wasn’t crazy about Matthew as a boss but, still, he was the boss and I respected that. Peter was difficult to work with but the product he put out was superior to anyone else’s who ever did the job… a true perfectionist. Laurie was often suspiciously disingenuous but even she would go out of her way to praise someone who was doing their job right. Gary was tough as nails but also the most amazing person at HX. He had little patience and I heard it from him many times, but he was genuine and worked hard to look after all of his sales staff as well as his clients. I never saw him cow-tow to Matthew or anyone else.

      I was never cheated and I do not believe the slanderous comments about Matthew or Peter stealing from the company. I’ve actually heard the rumor that Matthew has skipped paying himself while attempting to make the rest of his payroll. And if HX is so horrible to their clients, then how would it have remained in business, with many of the same clients advertising their products for years?

      Clearly, most of the previous comments were made by angry, inept former employees who were incapable of performing their jobs while at HX, thus they were fired. I can recall a number of those types during my tenure there. No surprise that they would be commenting during workday hours… obviously still shirking the responsibilities placed upon them by their current employers. Either that or they are still, rightfully, unemployed.

      Jul 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @Beefer: Perhaps some people also had a different experience than you?

      Jul 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tirsty
      tirsty

      Blade suspends publication

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/02/nyregion/02gay.html?_r=1

      Jul 2, 2009 at 1:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • merkin
      merkin

      Im also a former HXer, and I can say most of what’s been posted here is true. There was a lot of shadiness and inappropriateness. There were also a lot of good people there who busted their hump doing their job.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 7:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @tirsty: Of course they did. Who is going to write for them or sell ads>? No one is left. When Catherine Hecht who poured her heart and soul into selling ads for The Blade quit because she wasn’t being paid her back salary then what can you expect.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      @merkin: I’m friends with many former HXers as well. When so many people are saying the same it’s hard to think that they are all in cahoots – especially when some of them never worked together.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Beefer
      Beefer

      @Evil Betty Speaks: It goes without saying that everyone’s experience at HX would be different, same as anywhere else. That makes it all the more inappropriate for you to make blanket statements about the way the company was run and the character of the people who run it. If you had a bad time while working there, then you should limit your remarks to your own personal experience. It doesn’t say much about your own character that you so willingly make nasty, irresponsible comments about the characters of other people.

      I also happen to know a number of people who have worked for HX. Some of them were let go, some moved on, like me, and some quit because they couldn’t handle the pressure of sales or editorial. I know for a fact that none of them feel the way you apparently do. I even know of a few former employees who brought their new places of business to advertise in and work on special events with HX. That, alone, speaks volumes about the way HX has handled their employees and their business overall.

      Yes, bosses have bad days and speak cruelly, things sometimes get managed poorly, sometimes money doesn’t come in and people can’t get paid, cutbacks happen, but when looking at the bigger picture, HX has thrived for a lot of years and has been a much-needed stepping stone for many of their employees who have gone on to bigger and better jobs, myself included. You appear to be the anomaly in HX employee history.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Its About Time
      Its About Time

      @ Beefer You must live in a cave, SMOKE another fattie, Wake up dude, there are more HX former workers in NYC than any other company in city!!! STOP makes excuses for the idiots

      Jul 2, 2009 at 12:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evil Betty Speaks
      Evil Betty Speaks

      HX thrived because there will always be a need for a true LGBT media outlet. However, as I am friends with NUMEROUS people who have worked for HX some of whom never worked together, I have heard too many similar stories for them to be discounted.

      You had a good experience at HX. That’s great. No one is taking that away from you, but when former employees share their experiences and what THEY know from their time there, then you can’t dismiss their perception.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Watching You
      Watching You

      @Evil Betty Speaks:

      Evil Sister,

      Move On!

      Jul 2, 2009 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Furonda Brown
      Furonda Brown

      @Watching You: Wow. Scary.

      Not.

      Jul 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Watching You
      Watching You

      @Furonda Brown:

      Boo!

      Jul 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DrewScarey
      DrewScarey

      @Watching You: Hey that’s my job!

      Jul 3, 2009 at 11:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Watching You
      Watching You

      @DrewScarey:
      Just trying to help.

      Jul 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Maid Lillian
      Maid Lillian

      There’s no doubting Bank’s pedigree. He’s a pure bred sleaze. If Estelle Getty’s speculation is accurate and Bank sold “just so he could live”, what a shame he didn’t retain ownership.

      Jul 28, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caylin
      Caylin

      If anyone knows how to get a hold of Mr. Banks or Mr. Unger, please let me know. They stole $750 from us – a deposit we put down on one of their cancelled shows in 2009 that never got returned. Thanks! C.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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