Rival Newspaper Giving the SF Weekly Seizures - NBC Bay Area

Rival Newspaper Giving the SF Weekly Seizures

As appeal drags on, Weekly's bill grows by $5,000 a day



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    mdid / Flickr
    The Bay Guardian could be making $5,000 a day while SF Weekly publisher continues to fight the original $16 million judgement against publisher New Times.

    Ever since the San Francisco Bay Guardian's home turf was invaded by the San Francisco Weekly, published by Phoenix-based Village Voice Media, there has been bad blood between the two publications.

    Now that battle has taken a hilarious turn straight out of Repo Man.

    In a lawsuit that brewed for years, the Guardian accused the Weekly of anticompetitive pricing of advertisements, alleging that Village Voice Media offered deep discounts to advertisers who stopped buying ads in the Guardian.

    The Guardian was victorious in court last year, with a judge issuing a $16 million judgement against the Weekly, with $5,000 a day in additional penalties until the Weekly paid in full, or at least placed the money in escrow.

    The decision was appealed, however, and in the meantime, the fine has grown to $21 million. And the court has allowed the Guardian to start collecting even pending the outcome of the appeal.

    Which has all led to some pretty hilarious incidents.

    To start, the Guardian seized vehicles owned by the Weekly, and successfully auctioned them off.

    Now comes word that the Guardian will be able to start collecting the rent checks from the subtenants that lease office space from the Weekly.

    Of course, all this started before print publications began dying thanks to ever-higher costs for printing and distributing papers, competition with free outlets online, and declining advertising sales.

    Say what you will about the Guardian -- and the Weekly has said plenty -- they may have just found a reliable revenue model.

    Debt collection, after all, is a business that thrives in bad times.

    Photo by Flickr user mdid.

    Jackson West wonders who his bloggin' friends could sue for operating expenses.