A newspaper with The Bulletin name has once again gone silent.

Thomas Rice, the investment banker who launched the Bulletin in 2004 after purchasing the naming rights to the city's bygone paper of record, told staffers at its Center City headquarters yesterday that the broadsheet was shutting down.

Rice, who didn't return several calls from Daily News, said the paper was still making money, just not enough to cover its expenses, employees said last night.

The newspaper offered readers a conservative editorial voice, but seemed to be plagued with financial problems from the start.

Staffers who gathered last night at the Fox & Hound Pub & Grille, at 15th and Spruce streets, said their paychecks have often been delayed during the past three months.

The staffers, who declined to be identified, said they hadn't been paid for the last week and a half they've worked.

Rice reportedly told them their checks would be mailed in the near future.

The paper, which was printed Monday through Friday, claimed to have a circulation of about 100,000, although the former staffers said they were unsure of the actual number.

A number of editors who left the paper over the years complained in news reports over clashes with Rice's politics and management style.

The paper played up its coverage of bankruptcy hearings for Philadelphia Newspapers, which owns the Daily News and Inquirer.

But many of the reports contained "gross inaccuracies" about the company's financial health, said Brian P. Tierney, Philadelphia Newspapers' chief executive officer.

Nevertheless, Tierney said he was sorry to hear about the Bulletin's collapse.

Echoing scenarios that are playing out at newspapers across the country, one employee said she didn't care about Rice's politics.

"I stayed here - we all stayed here - because we love newspapers," she said. "It's kind of bittersweet, because I feel like I'm never going to work at a newspaper again." *