(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.
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.