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LA Weekly Investor Lawsuit Continues

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

LA Weekly, long-known for its progressive coverage of Los Angeles culture, is having its own culture shock.

It's toxic litigation, the type that can tear apart any business. One investor is suing the others, alleging they are using the weekly newspaper to line their pockets.

A judge has denied a motion to end the case, but the litigation could spell the end for the publication. Some say the old LA Weekly is already dead.

Toxic Culture

Founded in 1978, the Weekly has enjoyed a premiere position in Hollywood entertainment. It has hosted annual music festivals, awarded small theatre productions, and published Pulitzer Prize-winning writers.

A year ago, however, new owners changed management and slashed staff, prompting boycotts from writers and advertisers. The Columbia Journalism Review called it the "most turbulent newsroom in America."

Nine month's after the ownership turnover, David Welch sued to dissolve the company. He says the other investors have mismanaged, pillaged and otherwise killed it.

Welch largely blames Brian Calle, leader of the investment group and now publisher of the Weekly. He formerly led the editorial board at the Orange County Register, a libertarian newspaper.

Attorneys for Street Media, which owns the Weekly, asked Judge Dalila Lyons to dismiss the lawsuit. They argued the court lacked jurisdiction to dissolve the Delaware-based company.

The judge denied the request, leaving more legal battles for another day. Several defendants had yet to be served with the complaint.

The boycott group, lead in part by music writer Jeff Weiss, had hoped to buy back the newspaper. But now they plan to launch a new publication, according to reports.

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