Defunct District Weekly Owes Former Staffers $70,000, State Labor Board Rules

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A state commission found the former publishers of the now defunct District Weekly, a Long Beach alternative newspaper launched in April 2007 by ex-OC Weekly staffers, owes six employees nearly $70,000 in unpaid salary and vacation pay.

Still to come is a Long Beach Superior Court hearing in a lawsuit brought by a writer who claims he is owed $1,360 in unpaid freelance compensation.

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After an Aug. 26 hearing in Long Beach, the California Labor Commission on Oct. 12 issued six separate judgments that found Seven Days Publishing, LLC, owes the six employees a total of $69,657.14, according to a statement from former District Weekly senior editors Theo Douglas and Dave Wielenga.

"I feel vindicated," Wielenga says in the statement. "I understand that businesses close because they run out of money, but I think we were misled and treated unfairly. It is satisfying to have our sense of injustice officially validated."

Seven Days reps did not appear before the commission, according to the statement, which notes labor panel judgments are valid for 20 years, may be renewed upon expiration and accrue 10 percent interest annually.

Wielenga, Douglas and other Orange County staffers joined OC Weekly's founding editor and longtime publisher Will Swaim in starting up the District Weekly. Heather Swaim, Will Swaim's wife and OC Weekly's former longtime art director, was publisher when the District Weekly shuttered in March 2010. The paper had a peak circulation of 30,000 during its short reign.


Heather Swaim is due in small claims court Dec. 9 to answer to freelancer Greggory Moore's suit, according to the statement.
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