Yesterday, the California Court of Appeals ruled that the SF Weekly
(owned by the same people who own the Seattle Weekly
, the Village Voice
, and the LA Weekly
) is still on the hook
for $22 million it's been ordered to pay its arch-rival, the independently owned San Francisco Bay Guardian
The redonkulous story of how this came to pass—including details of the 2008 predatory pricing trial that started it all, testimony by one Jennifer Lopez, plenty of editor profanity, and boozy threats of a Shermanesque march to the sea—can be found right here
. But where does it all go now? When I asked Bay Guardian
publisher Bruce Brugmann yesterday whether there might soon be a settlement between the long-warring parties, he replied, via e-mail: "We are in negotiations.
To date, the SF Weekly
and its owners have adamantly refused to pay the $22 million judgment, and while the Bay Guardian
has tried quite hard to collect
what it's owed...
So far, the Bay Guardian has succeeded in seizing two newspaper delivery vans from the SF Weekly (a lawyer working for SF Weekly shrugged them off in court last month as "old, decrepit vehicles" worth less than $3,000), having rent checks from subtenants in the SF Weekly's offices forwarded over to Brugmann, and, in a decision delivered on March 9, being awarded half of the SF Weekly's monthly advertising revenue.
...it sounds like the Bay Guardian may now be interested in getting a somewhat-less-than-$22-million lump sum via a settlement, rather than continue using its collections attorney to try and get all of that $22 million (and counting, there's interest for every day it's not paid) one seized delivery van and one forwarded rent check at a time.
The question is whether the two sides in this fight, which are far more used to promising to destroy each other than working out mutually satisfactory terms, can achieve a meeting of the minds. A spokesman for Village Voice Media, the entity that ultimately runs the SF Weekly (and numerous other weeklies around the country, including those mentioned above), has not responded to a request for comment.