The New Times alternative weekly newspaper will remain a local enterprise.
In a San Luis Obispo probate hearing May 26, Judge Martin Tangeman ruled that management currently operating the paper could move forward with their offer to purchase both the New Times in SLO and part of the Sun in Santa Maria.
Ownership of the SLO weekly paper had been in limbo after the April 2005 death of founder and owner Steve Moss. Two of Mossâ€™s five siblings objected to the sale and wanted to sell New Times and a share of the Sun to Gilroy-based Mainstreet Media Group, owner of several weeklies in the state.
The executor of Mossâ€™s will, SLO attorney Scott Radovich, had requested from the court permission to sell the Moss estateâ€™s interest in both the New Times and the Sun to Bob Rucker and Alex Zuniga, the papersâ€™ current business manager and art director, respectively. Rucker and Zuniga also currently own part of both papers.
Having established that the offer from Rucker and Zuniga was essentially the same as that from Mainstreetâ€”roughly $1.5 millionâ€”the judge ruled in favor of Rucker and Zunigaâ€™s request to buy the estateâ€™s interest in both the New Times and the Sun because it didnâ€™t carry the inherent and potential financial risks associated with changing ownership.
â€œThis transaction to sell both newspapers to the existing management not only makes perfect business sense,â€? Radovich wrote, â€œbut is exactly what Steve Moss would have wanted.â€? âˆ†