A San Francisco judge today heard arguments on whether SF Weekly should be forced to give half of its advertising revenue to the San Francisco Bay Guardian as part of the Guardian's continuing efforts to collect on the 2008 judgment in the predatory pricing suit between the two papers. The judge issued a "late tentative ruling" that suggested he will do just that, and he said he will give the final ruling soon. Meanwhile, the Guardian has asked a judge to add Village Voice Media, LLC and Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC to the companies that make up the Weekly's parent company in the judgment. (When the Guardian's suit was initially filed, the Weekly was still owned by pre-merger New Times.) A hearing on that matter has been set for March 12. The Weekly has said it is waiting to make any payments to the Guardian until it exhausts its appeals. MORE: Seattle Weekly wonders why The Stranger is sending a reporter to San Francisco to cover this, when Stranger editor Dan Savage's sex column runs in many papers that SF Weekly's parent company owns.

Continue ReadingBay Guardian/SF Weekly Case Back in Court Today

The San Francisco Bay Guardian last week filed its response to SF Weekly's appeal of the 2008 jury award in the Guardian's predatory-pricing lawsuit against the Weekly. The Weekly says it will file one more reply with the court within the next month or so, at which point the Court of Appeals will either set a date for oral arguments or issue a ruling based on what has been submitted by the two parties. In related news, the Guardian reports that a federal judge last week rejected the attempts of Weekly parent company Village Voice Media Holdings to avoid a state court proceeding where it may be added to the judgment against the Weekly.

Continue ReadingBay Guardian/SF Weekly Case Moves Along

Mirissa Neff is one of three reporters for the new PBS primetime series SOUND TRACKS: Music Without Borders. The pilot for the show, which aims to "[explore] the world, combining journalistic curiosity with the adventure of travel and the soul-satisfying, hip-shaking pleasures of great music," will be airing on PBS stations on Monday, Jan. 25.

Continue ReadingSan Francisco Bay Guardian Art Director Part of New PBS Music Show

As the San Francisco Bay Guardian continues to try and collect millions of dollars awarded to it in a 2008 predatory-pricing verdict against SF Weekly and its parent company, the Guardian's attorney tells Bloomberg News it is considering a court petition to put Village Voice Media into involuntary bankruptcy to collect the debt. VVM's lawyer tells Bloomberg, however, that "it is simply ludicrous" to suggest that any of the company's other newspapers might face bankruptcy as a result of the California judgment. Meanwhile, VVM executive editor Michael Lacey took issue with the framing and premise of the original Bloomberg story, calling its insinuation of a looming bankruptcy proceeding a "false, inaccurate smear." (The Bloomberg story linked above was updated after Lacey and VVM's attorney contacted the reporter to make some corrections.) READ MORE from the San Francisco Chronicle and The Stranger.

Continue ReadingGuardian Says it May Force Bankruptcy on VVM; VVM Calls Idea ‘Ludicrous’

In a press release, the Guardian says that New Times Media LLC, the holding company for Village Voice Media, failed in its attempt to suspend the charging order entered last week in San Francisco Superior Court in favor of the Bay Guardian. That charging order gives the Guardian a lien on more of VVM's assets as the two continue to fight in court over the 2008 jury verdict that found VVM paper SF Weekly had illegally sold ads under cost in an effort to harm the Guardian. In a response, VVM says it knew it would lose this latest court battle, and alleges that the Guardian has repeatedly sought to delay" the appeal process of the 2008 verdict. READ MORE on the ongoing court battles from Bloomberg News and The Stranger.

Continue ReadingBay Guardian: VVM Loses Another Court Ruling

In a message to all Village Voice Media employees sent out today, VVM CEO Jim Larkin and executive editor Michael Lacey say the ramifications of last week's court order that suggested the San Francisco Bay Guardian could seize assets from papers other than SF Weekly has been widely misunderstood. "[The order] simply says the Guardian can try and go after cash distributions New Times receives from its publications as a limited partner or member of the company," they say, pointing out that "the amount of those monies is zero," since the company's publications are "separately organized limited liability companies or limited partnerships that own, operate and publish in their respective communities." They say that as they continue their appeal of the original judgment, "our publications will continue to publish and conduct business as they have all along."

Continue ReadingVVM: Last Week’s Court Order is ‘Very Limited in Scope’

Last week, a San Francisco Superior Court commissioner granted the San Francisco Bay Guardian's request to place a lien on assets of SF Weekly's parent company, as the Guardian attempts to collect millions of dollars it was awarded in 2008's predatory-pricing trial. (The case is being appealed by the Weekly.) While the Guardian says it is "exploring the possible sale" of one or more of Village Voice Media's papers, reaction from several of those papers was relatively muted. Westword editor Patricia Calhoun tells the Denver Daily News she thinks it's highly unlikely that her paper will be impacted in any way. "This is a lawsuit that I'm sure our lawyers will resolve," she says. Meanwhile, the Seattle Weekly gives the Guardian a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the paper's assets it could seize, and MinnPost's David Brauer wonders if the ruling could hurt City Pages. His take? It's not likely, but "VVM had better start winning in court ... or we'll all have to start taking this a lot more seriously."

Continue ReadingHow Will the Bay Guardian/SF Weekly Ruling Impact Other VVM Papers?

A San Francisco Superior Court commissioner has granted the San Francisco Bay Guardian's request to place a lien on the Weekly's holding company and the firm's interests in the Village Voice Media chain, as the Guardian attempts to collect the millions of dollars it was awarded in 2008's predatory-pricing trial. The Guardian's lawyer says the lien would enable it to seek another court order allowing it to sell off any of the VVM papers -- including SF Weekly - or simply take money from them to pay the judgment. But the Weekly's lawyer says the ruling is much narrower, and doesn't allow the Guardian to go after any of VVM's assets. Meanwhile, the Weekly continues its appeal of the initial ruling.

Continue ReadingCourt: Bay Guardian Can Place Lien on SF Weekly Parent Co.’s Assets