Almost exactly one month ago, I noted that a San Francisco Commissioner seemed inclined (based on the image at left) to rule against the SF Weekly and its owners in a baroque and sometimes bonkers lawsuit that could have an impact on alt-weeklies all over the country.

Today the ruling arrived, with San Francisco Commissioner Everett A. Hewlett assigning half of the SF Weekly's ad revenue each month to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which won a predatory pricing lawsuit against the SF Weekly in 2008 and is now owed more than $20 million by that paper's owners.

The owners of SF Weekly are the same men who own Village Voice Media, which owns alt-weeklies like the Village Voice, LA Weekly, Seattle Weekly, and many others. Their San Francisco property, Hewlett's order says, now has to turn over an amount the Bay Guardian estimates to be about $200,000 a month.

That's not going to take care of the $20 million (and counting) that the SF Weekly's owners currently need to pay the Bay Guardian—at least not any time soon. And so the big question in this case is where else the Bay Guardian will be able to go to get what it's owed.

How did this happen?

Long story. But to recap just a couple of recent events: The owners of the SF Weekly, who have been declining to comment on the case, are appealing the original 2008 decision but have refused to post a bond while the appeal is argued and decided—a process likely to take many more months. Which leaves the Bay Guardian free to try to collect its $20 million right away, something it just got a bit closer to doing with Commissioner Hewlett's ruling this afternoon.