Little love’s been lost between the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the SF Weekly in their well-documented, drawn-out lawsuit over alleged ad price-fixing.

(In a nutshell, the Guardian accused the Weekly of selling ads below cost in order to put the Guardian out of business, and last year, a judge ruled in the Bay Guardian’s favor and awarded the Brugmann organ $16 million. The Weekly’s corporate parents have appealed the ruling; in the meantime (according to the Guardian) interest piles up on the original award.)

Thanks to some unusual, and perhaps drastic action last month, the Guardian is now owed a few thousand less — and if you’re in need of a van formerly owned by New Times/Village Voice Media, you can knock another few thousand off that total.

sfwvan.jpg

Latest Casualty In Newspaper Fight: This Van

Maybe it was because we’re in a recession, maybe it’s because it was the holidays, or maybe it was because we’re in a recession, it’s the holidays, and the Guardian fucking hates the Weekly, but in any event last month the Guardian, with the assistance of the San Francisco Sheriff, seized two vehicles belonging to the Weekly: a 2005 Honda Civic and a 2007 Ford delivery van. The Civic netted $1,100 at auction (or about a third of what we just paid to drop a new transmission in our ’98 Golf, holy crap!); the Guardian bought the van itself for $1601.

“So the Weekly’s debt to us is reduced by $2701,” SFBG executive editor Tim Redmond wrote in an e-mail, “which is less than a week’s worth of interest in the judgment.”

Is this legal? Apparently so: a creditor can file court papers on a debtor if a debt isn’t paid in a timely fashion. Then, the local sheriff seizes property on which the debtor owes money (evidently the Weekly hadn’t finished paying off either vehicle quite yet) and sells them at auction.

Redmond promised “a lot more in the way of aggressive collection efforts coming, so stay tuned.” We contacted the SF Weekly for comment (and to warn them to bolt down and/or hide everything and anything fungible), and will update when we hear back.

In the meantime, anyone in need of a van can contact the Guardian (who hope to net $9,000 to $10,000, just so you know).

Full Disclosure: The author’s services are (occasionally) employed by the SF Weekly.

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  • bloomsm

    The one thing that shocks me about this post is: why put a new tranny in a VW that’s only worth about $3,000?

    As long as the Guardian has an enforceable judgment against the Weekly, it can request that the sheriff levy assets, including bank accounts, property and other tangible assets.

    The question to ask is why wouldn’t the Weekly obtain an appellate bond, which prevents execution of assets while the judgment is on appeal? Since appellate bonds usually require a security amounting to 1.5 times the judgment, that would require the Weekly to securitize approximately $24 million. That is a ton of samoleans. If you do not bond the appeal, the judgment creditor (the Guardian) can execute against whatever it can find.

  • bloomsm

    The one thing that shocks me about this post is: why put a new tranny in a VW that’s only worth about $3,000?

    As long as the Guardian has an enforceable judgment against the Weekly, it can request that the sheriff levy assets, including bank accounts, property and other tangible assets.

    The question to ask is why wouldn’t the Weekly obtain an appellate bond, which prevents execution of assets while the judgment is on appeal? Since appellate bonds usually require a security amounting to 1.5 times the judgment, that would require the Weekly to securitize approximately $24 million. That is a ton of samoleans. If you do not bond the appeal, the judgment creditor (the Guardian) can execute against whatever it can find.

  • Chris Roberts

    Re: the VW — Repair, do not replace, my son. Engine’s good, exhaust is good, car should go another 80,000 miles at least.

    And like you said, that’s a dump truck-worth of cash, especially in the newspapering business. In the grand scheme of things, I imagine a couple vehicles are chump change in comparison.

  • Chris Roberts

    Re: the VW — Repair, do not replace, my son. Engine’s good, exhaust is good, car should go another 80,000 miles at least.

    And like you said, that’s a dump truck-worth of cash, especially in the newspapering business. In the grand scheme of things, I imagine a couple vehicles are chump change in comparison.

  • bloomsm

    I respect your dedication to the Golf (I also own a VW).

    There is an expression among lawyers: “winning is nothing, collecting is everything.” The Guardian may have to wait a long time before it sees that $16 million + interest.

  • bloomsm

    I respect your dedication to the Golf (I also own a VW).

    There is an expression among lawyers: “winning is nothing, collecting is everything.” The Guardian may have to wait a long time before it sees that $16 million + interest.

  • scallywag

    Found this photo on Flickr that seems very apropos… since both news stands have taken quite a beating, but the SF Weekly stand is upside down on account of this latest right hook that you’ve reported on:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyholden/4179739427/in/pool-sfistphotos/

  • scallywag

    Found this photo on Flickr that seems very apropos… since both news stands have taken quite a beating, but the SF Weekly stand is upside down on account of this latest right hook that you’ve reported on:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/troyholden/4179739427/in/pool-sfistphotos/

  • cedichou

    I wish the Guardian would seize Matt Smith’s laptop, like, yesterday. They’d make a couple hundred bucks, but mostly, the world would be a better place.

  • cedichou

    I wish the Guardian would seize Matt Smith’s laptop, like, yesterday. They’d make a couple hundred bucks, but mostly, the world would be a better place.