Former OC Register Employees Mull Legal Action Over Their Endangered Pension Plan


If current writers for the Orange County Register are freaking out about the paper's second bankruptcy in six years, former employees are outright furious. They're fretting about pension plans being lobbed around in bankruptcy court like bald tennis balls--beat-up, unloved, and in danger of never getting fully paid out.

Now, a group of Register alumni are mulling legal options to go after the federal caretaker in charge of representing them.

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Mike Harrah Is So Desperate to Build One Broadway Plaza, He'll Buy the OC Register to Do It

Luke McGarry/OC Weekly
There's a story told by the OC millionaire set about Santa Ana developer Michael F. Harrah--he of the offensive-lineman build, ZZ Top beard and an ego as big as the black Cadillac Escalade he guns up Broadway--that may or may not be true, but it says all you need to know about the man. It's whispered that someone once asked him during a party at his Newport Beach home why he was so intent on building One Broadway Plaza, which would be the tallest building in Orange County history at 37 stories yet has cost Harrah nearly 15 years and millions of dollars without so much as a foundation poured. Harrah supposedly looked out from his house to the northeast, to where Santa Ana is as the crow flies, and told his guest, "So I can see it from my own back yard."

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OC Register's Mexican Mural on Grand Avenue Gets Whitewashed, No One Cares

Gracias, source!
Exelcsior mural: Now just a memory

Orange County has a long, nasty history of whitewashing or destroying Mexican-themed murals, from a 600-foot-long wall that once stood in Fountain Valley to one inside the Plummer Auditorium at Fullerton High School to a wall in Old Town Placentia that was barely in the planning stages by Cal State Fullerton's MEChA chapter before some pendejo called it racist.

Now add to that ignominious list a large piece that graced the wall of the former SanTana offices of the Orange County Register's Spanish-language weekly, Excélsior. That's the mural above; below is the newly gentrified wall.

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Why Mike Harrah is the WORST Owner the OC Register Can Possibly Have

From the gentrification-glorifying Santa Ana: The Heart of Orange County
Harrah: Now, with more forehead sore!

Dear National Media: So most of you are going to be parachuting into Orange County in the next couple of weeks to report on the fiasco that is the Orange County Register's bankruptcy--their second in six years. You will no doubt encounter current Register publisher Rich Mirman, a nice-enough guy who's now apparently gone native and wants to be a newspaper man instead of just someone looking to get their investment back. But another guy you're going to meet is Mirman's takeover partner: Mike Harrah.

Already, you're just referring to him as a "developer" who happened to buy the Register's SanTana offices and land last year--and that's it. Eventually, ustedes will latch on to the man's size, his big beard, and that he likes Harleys, helicopters, and the city of Santa Ana (which everyone who counts calls SanTana). What you probably don't know is what we at the Weekly have covered for almost 20 years: that Harrah is an aggrandizing, thin-skinned multimillionaire far too obsessed with erecting a monument to himself to be trusted with ANYTHING.

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Orange County Register Declares Bankrupcty, be Bought By...Mike Harrah?!

BOOM goes the Kushner!

Who declares bankruptcy midnight on a Sunday, after a reporter starts asking questions? The Orange County Register, of course!

Yesterday, multiple, trustworthy sources who requested anonymity told me the Register's parent company planned to file bankruptcy sometime this week, if not sooner. I sent out an email for comment to Reg publisher Rich Mirman and one of their attorneys, which weren't returned by press time.

Then at 1 a.m. last night, a source sent me a press release officially confirming the story, along with another thing I was hearing: that notorious landlord Mike Harrah--the man who bought the Register's offices and land last year, and has been trying to build a 37-story office tower in SanTana for over a decade--was going to put in a bid with Mirman to take over the Register.


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Why is the OC Register So Anti-Airbnb?

Eirk (Airbnb host)

For a publication that historically has held up free markets as the real Jesus, the Orange County Register's news section has recently has treated Airbnb as if it were the housing equivalent of Mexicans, a public menace deserving of scare tactics. In a late August, staff writer Jessica Kwong highlighted the voices of SanTana neighbors unhappy with a resident's alleged conversion of her home into a short-term vacation rental. Another article a couple of days later, by staff writer Susan Christian Goulding, switched the NIMBY scene to Fountain Valley.

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OC Weekly Wins 7 Awards at LA Press Club Gala, Including 3 First-Placers!

Cover design by Dustin Ames
Awesome cover for Reza's awesome piece

Last night, the LA Press Club held their annual awards gala, and although no one from this infernal rag was able to make it (Mox is still in the salt mines, Nick was finishing up a cover, and I had just finished a five-day taco bender--go to Instagram and find the hashtag #epictacocrawl if you don't believe me), we still did mighty fine, hauling in seven awards, including three first-place finishes.

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Federal Lawsuit: OC Register Owes $609,000 Printing Bill

Thumbnail image for kushner_wrecking_ball.jpg
And the Kush swings again!

Although the Orange County Register is no longer run by the bumbling Aaron Kushner, his legacy lives on. Last week, the paper got hit in federal court with a lawsuit asking for $609,638.30 in damages for failing to pay their printing bill. Failing to pay bills was a big part of Kushner's business strategy, of course--don't forget that the Los Angeles Times sued the Reg for over $3 million for not paying their delivery bills--but this is the first time I remember the Reg being taken to the federal level.

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Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz Resign from Orange County Register Effective Immediately

Thumbnail image for kushner_wrecking_ball.jpg
BOOM! goes the Kush!

UPDATE #1, 5:20: The Weekly has obtained audio of the meeting in which it was announced that Kushner and Spitz were stepping down. Still trying to pin down Kushner's speech, but far more interesting for sure would be the words of his former co-owner, Eric Spitz, whose angst was audible as he rambled about Kushner's greatness.

Spitz is going to remain at Freedom Communications in a capacity, but is sure going to miss the Kush. "Not much happens without a dream," Spitz said, talking about Kushner, "and for something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality, but the dream must be there first."

And he went on like that.

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OC Register Loses Latino Reporter, Editor in Further Gabacho-fication of Paper

As Kushner sings, "La la lalalala la lala la la"

Back in 2013, at the height of the Orange County Register's much-ballyhooed hiring spree, we did a blog post criticizing the paper's lack of diversity in expanding the paper, especially in getting next-to-no Latinos. And that situation has gotten even worse, with the departure of editor Theresa Cisneros and crime reporter Salvador Hernández.

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