The California Superior Court has appointed a receiver to investigate the finances of SF Weekly and its parent company, with an eye towards developing a plan to pay the San Francisco Bay Guardian the $22 million it is owed in the predatory-pricing lawsuit. "This is a very significant step forward in our collection efforts," Guardian editor and publisher Bruce Brugmann says. The Weekly has said all along it won't pay any damages until it has exhausted its appeals. As we noted earlier in the week, the California Court of Appeals has scheduled a June 11 hearing to hear the Weekly's case.

Continue ReadingCourt Appoints Receiver to Investigate SF Weekly’s Finances in Bay Guardian Case

The fake Twitter stream of San Francisco Bay Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann is "drunken, outrageous, [and] rails against Village Voice Media executive editor Mike Lacey," the SF Weekly reports. "Once upon a time, if you wanted to roast your newspaper editor, you would make a drunken speech at an office party or draw a funny cartoon," the Weekly notes. "But that was back in the bad old days, before fake Twitter accounts created the perfect medium for a constant stream of homage/mockery." The Weekly adds that it is not behind the account, which has the handle "Bossy_Brugmann," despite its ongoing public battles with the Guardian and its founder.

Continue ReadingFake Bruce Brugmann Now on Twitter

The California Newspaper Publishers Association recently gave out 480 first and second place awards in its 2009 Better Newspapers contest, and nine alt-weeklies received at least one. The Sacramento News & Review won ten awards, including firsts for Public Service, Columns, Sports Story, Front Page, Freedom of Information. SF Weekly won seven awards, including first-place finishes for Writing, Investigative/Enterprise Reporting and Environmental/Ag Resource Reporting. The North Coast Journal won six awards, including firsts in the Writing, Local News Coverage, Business/Financial Story and Environmental/Ag Resource Reporting categories. Palo Alto Weekly took home five awards -- all first-place wins -- in the Editorial Comment, Local News Coverage, Sports Coverage, Feature Photo, Best Website and General Excellence categories. Chico News & Review won two awards, both firsts, for Editorial Pages and Special Issue. Pacific Sun also took home two awards, both firsts, for Feature Story and Lifestyle Coverage. Metro Silicon Valley, Pasadena Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian each took home one award.

Continue ReadingNine California AAN Members Take Home State Press Awards

California Superior Court Judge Marla J. Miller ruled on Tuesday that she has no authority to amend a 2008 predatory-pricing judgment since the case is already pending before the California Court of Appeal. The San Francisco Bay Guardian had asked the court to include Village Voice Media LLC and Village Voice Media Holdings LLC, as part of its efforts to collect the money it was awarded in the judgment against SF Weekly. The Weekly has refused to pay the $21 million it owes the Guardian, saying it will pay once it exhausts its options to appeal.

Continue ReadingJudge Won’t Include SF Weekly Parent Co. in ’08 Judgment

A San Francisco Superior Court judge last week granted a motion by the San Francisco Bay Guardian to set a hearing to determine if Bank of Montreal, the lead bank for SF Weekly, should be held in contempt of court for telling the Weekly's advertisers that it has first right to that paper's money. The Guardian contends that the March ruling allowing the Guardian to take half of the Weekly's ad revenue means it has first right to any money from the Weekly, not the bank. The hearing is set for April 30.

Continue ReadingJudge Sets Hearing on Bay Guardian’s Contempt Claim Against Bank

San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond writes that while he thought Eli Sanders' recent story on the feud between the Guardian and SF Weekly in The Stranger was mostly right, he faults Sanders (and others) for casting the legal battle as a clash of egos. "The thing is, Bruce [Brugmann] and Mike [Lacey] haven't hated each other for decades," Redmond writes. "They weren't terribly close, but they got along fine -- and sometimes, they were political allies." He points to their unlikely alliance at the 1997 AAN Convention (three years after New Times purchased SF Weekly) to push a bylaws measure (and digs up a photo of the two arm-in-arm) as proof. "They were almost, sorta, kinda pals," he writes. "At least for a few minutes."

Continue ReadingBay Guardian Editor: The SF Weekly Suit ‘Wasn’t Personal’

The legal battle between the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the SF Weekly is "a war straight out of the last century in its ruthlessness and its destructive potential," writes The Stranger's Eli Sanders in a 10,000-plus word cover story this week. The piece covers a lot of ground, but frames the battle as one between two alt-titans: Bay Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann and Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey. "These two men have hated each other for decades," Sanders writes, "but with increasing venom since 1995, when Lacey showed up in San Francisco in cowboy boots to announce that he and his partners had just purchased the tiny SF Weekly and planned to make a huge success of it."

Continue ReadingThe Stranger Looks at ‘The Crazy Alt-Weekly War in San Francisco’

A lawsuit filed by the Bank of Montreal on behalf of a group of institutional lenders seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction to stop the San Francisco Bay Guardian's efforts to collect millions of dollars from SF Weekly as part of 2008's predatory-pricing jury verdict. Last week, a Superior Court commissioner ruled that the Guardian is entitled to half of the Weekly's ad revenue; the banks are arguing that they have the first legal right to any money made by the Weekly. Meanwhile, The Stranger reports that it has court filings that show Weekly parent company Village Voice Media Holdings has been declared in default on an $80 million loan it has from the Bank of Montreal. This comes as the Weekly is asking for a separate restraining order to stop the Guardian from sending letters to Weekly advertisers; they say advertisers have been receiving conflicting notices from the Guardian and Bank of Montreal about who has first rights to the Weekly's revenue. In a court filing, the Weekly's lawyer says the confusion, if allowed to continue, "is likely to devastate SF Weekly's advertising business beyond repair."

Continue ReadingSF Weekly’s Banks File Suit Against the Bay Guardian

A Superior Court commissioner has ruled the San Francisco Bay Guardian is entitled to half the advertising revenue of the SF Weekly to help collect $21 million in damages after a 2008 jury verdict of illegal price-cutting. Guardian attorney Jay Adkisson says the ad revenue would be "a very significant" amount -- potentially as much as $200,000 a month. Meanwhile, the Weekly's parent company, Village Voice Media Holdings (VVMH), will ask a state appeals court to overturn the ruling. VVMH executive associate editor Andy Van De Voorde says the Weekly will stay in business regardless. The Weekly is also currently in the midst of a separate appeal of the verdict. MORE from Westword.

Continue ReadingCourt: Bay Guardian Gets Half of SF Weekly’s Ad Revenue