By Traci Chapman
What looked like a fork in the road turned out to be the end of it for Mustang’s Tate Publishing this week, as it closed its doors for the last time.
The news came Wednesday, just days after Tate co-founders Dr. Richard Tate and Rita Tate announced a consolidation of the company’s operations – the shutdown of its Philippines office and layoff of 50 employees there and a new focus on the company’s home base in Oklahoma.
Tate’s Mustang office employed about 30 people as of Monday, Rita Tate said then.
Questions surfaced about possible problems at the publishing firm over the last several weeks, with several individuals identifying themselves as Tate authors posting complaints on a variety of blogs, business review sites and social media. Still others contacted the Mustang Times, asking for assistance in communicating with Tate, which they said they could not reach by phone or email.
That changed for at least some authors in recent days, with an email supposedly sent to them by someone at Tate.
“I’ve been trying to contact Tate and the only email I got was a cryptic one about there not being any employees left due to lack of payment,” one of those individuals said.
Both Dr. and Rita Tate acknowledged that communication, saying it was a hoax sent by one of the Philippines former employees, who had access to the company’s author files and contact information.
Tate Publishing opened about 17 years ago in Mustang and was a long-time major employer in the city. The company has been very active in the community, particularly Mustang Chamber of Commerce, where Rita Tate served as chamber president.
On Thursday, Chamber Executive Director Renee Peerman stated via email Tate resigned from the board Jan. 12.
Tate Publishing and Enterprises was registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State in December 2003, according to the OKSoS website. At one time, the company listed more than 200 employees working in and around Mustang at Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group offices.
In May 2016, Xerox Corporation filed a $2.2 million lawsuit against Tate Publishing and Ryan Tate – seeking $1.756 from the company and $483,787 personally against the then-company CEO. Xerox also requested the return of seven pieces of its equipment it alleged Tate had not paid for or sent back. The lawsuit is still pending and is set for a Jan. 20 non-jury trial in Canadian County
One of Tate family members’ primary concerns during the planned restructuring, and hen as they faced the closure of their company, remained the company’s approximately 35,000 authors, they said.
Work to help those authors make other arrangements was already underway and would continue as Tate worked with its attorneys to complete the closure process.