Anybody who's been around San Francisco for a while and picked up one of the city's two free weekly tabloids might have noticed something over the last year or two: The papers are getting dangerously thin, with much less revenue-generating advertising.
But why should that stop them from taking each other to court?
The San Francisco Bay Guardian, an independent, has so far successfully sued SF Weekly, owned by the Village Voice Media chain, for trying to drive the former out of business by selling advertising at less than cost. The Weekly has appealed the case.
But in the meantime, the Guardian has been doing everything in its power to collect on the award, which has grown to over $20 million with interest, and last week a judge said that the company could start collecting advertising money from the Weekly's customers.
Not so fast, says the Bank of Montreal and other Weekly creditors. They've now sued both the Guardian and the Weekly in a Delaware court to stop any money from getting to the Guardian, and are now telling Weekly advertisers to send the money to them instead.
The banks are arguing that if anyone has a right to the Weekly's assets, it's them and not the Guardian, regardless of any ruling. And it argues that the Guardian, "by improperly restricting SF Weekly's cash flow, it can eliminate SF Weekly as a competitor, or make it less effective."
Neither paper seems to realize that while they spend all this money on lawyers they are only hastening their respective demises.
Jackson West is not fooled by the new glossy cover into thinking of the Weekly as a magazine.