A controversial executive training program known as NXIVM filed a lawsuit alleging defamation against the paper one day before the statute of limitations would have expired in April, but Metroland wasn't served papers until this month. The paper reports that the crux of NXIVM's suit stems from one line that was attributed to a source. Editor and publisher Stephen Leon says Metroland is consulting an attorney and hopes to have the suit quickly tossed. "The complaint is baseless, and 97 percent of it has nothing to do with Metroland," he says, adding that the passage cited "isn't even remotely defamatory."
At the annual meeting of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies on Saturday, June 27, Willamette Week's Mark Zusman was elected the association's new president. He succeeds Metroland's Stephen Leon, who will take the advisory role of Immediate Past President. The membership voted on nine other board seats on Saturday, including two that were created just minutes earlier when AAN's bylaws were amended.
A controversial executive training program known as NXIVM filed a lawsuit alleging defamation against the paper earlier this week, but the Albany alt-weekly has not yet been served with the suit. Turns out it was filed one day before the statute of limitations would have expired. NXIVM president Nancy Salzman tells Metroland that, indeed, they filed the suit "because of statutory considerations." The paper has not sought legal counsel in response to the lawsuit. "As far as we're concerned right now, it's almost as if there's not a lawsuit because it has not been served to us," editor and publisher Stephen Leon says. "They may never serve the lawsuit for all we know."
The controversial executive training program known as NXIVM has filed a lawsuit against the Albany alt-weekly for allegedly conspiring with one of NXIVM's critics to publish false information about the organization in a story published last year. The suit seeks $65 million in damages. Metroland editor and publisher Stephen Leon says NXIVM does not have a strong case and that the paper hasn't been served with the lawsuit yet.
This week, the Albany alt-weekly begins a yearlong celebration of its 30th birthday, but as the Albany Times-Union notes, it is actually the paper's 31st, since it launched in mid-1978. Editor and publisher Stephen Leon says he wanted to peg the celebration to 1979, which was when Metroland switched from a "disco monthly" to a weekly. "The legend was I started the magazine to meet girls," founder Peter Iselin says. "And that was pretty much the case. What can I say? I was 23 years old." The Times-Union reports that Iselin got serious after the paper was denied AAN membership in 1986. He hired Leon to help build the paper's journalistic credibility, and Metroland was admitted to AAN the following year.
Stephen Leon (pictured), the editor and publisher of Metroland in Albany, N.Y., was elected President on Saturday during the association's annual meeting. Willamette Week editor Mark Zusman was elected Vice President, making him the heir apparent to the presidency. Six of the nine remaining board seats were filled by incumbents running unopposed.
Leon speaks freely in a vitriolic interview with SFist, a blog that covered SF Weekly's termination of his regular "Infiltrator" column. Leon blames Editor Tom Walsh for the two misleading columns that got him in trouble and says, "Tom Walsh is the worst editor I've ever worked for. The reason I say this, an editor's job is to make a writer look good, not to make people question a writer's credibility." Nevertheless, Leon claims that he is "not bitter about the whole thing" because he "enjoyed working with John Mecklin" and is "happy with the body of work" he produced.
The departure of Harmon Leon, who wrote the paper's regular "Infiltrator" column, was announced in a Jan. 18 Editor's Note (here, last item). In last week's column, Leon wrote about "infiltrating" the Adult Video News awards show, but as local Web site SFist later noted, he misidentified the city in which the show was held. According to the Editor's Note, Leon initially claimed that he had written about a previous AVN show, but the paper later discovered that he was actually at a different adult-entertainment awards show and that he had already written about that event for another magazine. Following the publication of the Editor's Note, SFist criticized the Weekly for its handling of the incident, and said that morale at the paper "may be in decline after the departure of (former editor) John Mecklin."