A little watched court case concluded last week, the outcome of which allows the San Francisco Bay Guardian to put a lien on the stock of the papers operated by Village Voice Media, to include the Pitch.
Both Village Voice Media and the SF Weekly were found guilty in 2008 of selling ads below cost with the intent of putting the Bay Guardian out of business. The jury awarded the Bay Guardian $6.3 million, monies the paper proved to have lost due to SF Weekly’s illegalities. The settlement was then raised to nearly $16 million by the judge; when including an annual 10% penalty on the settlement, this brings the total damages to around $20 million.
The Bay Guardian has started repo-ing everything it can get its hands on: SF Weekly’s delivery vehicles, the company car and –so far — $11,000 in cash.
Of more interest to Kansas City is the court ruling in December giving the Bay Guardian a lien on all 14 of the Village Voice papers, to include the Pitch. Village Voice Media is fighting to avoid possible bankruptcy. 1 But it is safe to say regardless the outcome of that case, changes are coming to the Pitch, including an outright sale of the weekly to satisfy VVM’s debt.
As the Pitch has constantly trumpeted transparency in journalism, expect to see an in-depth examination of all these possible scenarios soon.
But we’ll say our formal “goodbyes” now.
NOON UPDATE: The Arizona Republic explains how, in theory, the Pitch may be safe from all the legal wrangling…
After Some Well Deserved Sleep Update: SFWeekly makes VVM’s case…