The LA Weekly, the largest weekly alternative publication in Los Angeles County, has finally revealed its new ownership team after weeks of speculation and online outrage.
In an online message from new operations manager Brian Calle, the backers were revealed to be a combination of businessmen and attorneys with little previous media ties. The issue of who owns the publication reached a head earlier this week, as most of the editorial staff was laid off by the publication. There has been no information on the new company since its Oct. 18 purchase announcement from previous owners Voice Media Group.
“There is a lot of talk about who owns LA Weekly,” Calle wrote in a blog post on the LA Weekly website. “We’ve seen all the speculation. Is it a Russian oligarch? Is it some Trumpista? Is it Lord Voldemort?”
Calle said the publication wants to make the property “the cultural center of the city.” Calle has no official title, but indicated he would act as publisher of the venture. He previosly worked for the Southern California News Group, where he was an opinion editor for the Orange County Register and 10 other daily newspapers.
Investors revealed in the web post include David Welch, a Los Angeles-based attorney with ties to the cannabis industry; philanthropist Kevin Xu, an investor with biotech firm Mebo International; attorney Steve Mehr; boutique hotelier Paul Makarechian; real estate developer Mike Mugel; and Southern California investor Andy Bequer.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s law school and a Constitutional law expert, will also be an investor. Others have indicated interest, but have not been formally tied to the new venture.
A team of new editorial hires is expected to be announced on Monday, although staffing levels will reportedly be below the previous numbers.