Advertising proceeds for two Utah high school yearbooks seem to have vanished with representatives of a Las Vegas company that contracted to sell the advertisements.
Yearbook advisers at East and Bountiful high schools say that it appears they have become victims of a company known as both Educational Publications and Yearbook Publications. The firm contracted with the schools to represent them to local businesses to help fill a total of 16 pages of advertisements in the yearbooks.Since March, local phones for the representatives of the company have been disconnected and attempts to reach the company in Las Vegas have failed. The state Department of Commerce lists Ken Howell and Steve Filipelli as principals for both Education Publications and Yearbook Publications and gives a Murray address.
Although the schools have no idea how much advertising the firm sold, East High yearbook adviser Michael Croft said the firm had the potential of making up to $20,000 on his yearbook ads. So far, only one firm, Carmack's in Bountiful, has confirmed it bought an ad. Owner Don Carmack said he is out $55.
"The potential for this thing is enormous. If they did this all along the Wasatch Front, think how much money they could have walked with?" said Croft.
"Using fairly well-known schools, they probably made an awful lot of money," Gary Gordon, adviser of the Bountiful High's yearbook, The Legend.
What is curious about the company is that it had a proven track record with both East High and Viewmont High in Bountiful during the 1987-88 school year, Gordon said.
Viewmont adviser Patrick Riley said the school didn't use the service this year because of the huge markup the company was charging businesses.
Last year, when Yearbook Publications handled the East yearbook advertising, the school received $1,000 in advertising handled by the firm. This year, said yearbook adviser Michael Croft, the Salt Lake school signed a contract with the Las Vegas firm for $3,000.
Yearbook Publications was to pay East $3,000 in exchange for the ability to sign up advertisers for 10 pages of the 300-page publication.
The firm's salesmen were selling to local businesses from early September to as late as March 2. Gordon said he became suspicious when the firm missed a January advertising deadline.
East's yearbook deadline was Tuesday. But Croft extended the advertising deadline 10 days in hopes of discovering the identities of the advertisers.
In the meantime, East is out $3,000, which represents 15 percent of the total yearbook budget.
Gordon said Bountiful's annual will not be as adversely affected.