Ownership of Birmingham Weekly Changes Hands, Editor Quits

Birmingham Weekly editor Sam George has resigned, citing the paper’s inability to pay its writers:

Unfortunately, over the last few months, things have taken a turn for the worse. I am still proud of the quality paper we have put out each week, but the climate in which we are working has steadily grown untenable, and I can no longer ask myself, my employees or my writers to continue to work without the compensation and comfort they are due.

Media of Birmingham reports that publisher Chuck Leishman relinquished control of the paper in June after accruing close to two years’ worth of unpaid payroll taxes and other debts.

Stephen Humphreys, a local attorney and wine importer, is now owner and publisher through his holding company Birmingham Communications:

Humphreys was co-owner of the Weekly for 11 years and served on the board of [Leishman’s] Magnolia Media, along with Ben Eason, then-owner of the chain of alternative newspapers, Creative Loafing. Humphreys says the Weekly had tax liabilities under Leishman’s management. The ownership agreement permitted Humphreys to seize the paper’s assets without incurring any of its past debts to the government, printing companies and other vendors, including freelance writers and photographers.

Two weeks ago, a group that includes Birmingham Weekly alums Glenny Brock, Kyle Whitmire, and Mark Kelly published the inaugural print edition of Weld for Birmingham, a competing weekly.

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