Arizona AG Suit Rejected -- 'Tucson Citizen' Can Stay Folded
Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher
The Tucson Citizen can remain dead as a print newspaper, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, saying the Arizona attorney general's office had not shown folding the Gannett Co. daily was a violation of antitrust law.
"While regrettable that the Citizen's illustrious legacy must come to end, it can not be said at this time, the decision to close the Citizen involves an anti-trust violation," U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins wrote in his opinion denying the temporary restraining order (TRO) request from Arizona authorities.
"The Court can not say at this point in time that there is a violation of the Newspaper Preservation Act," Collins added. "While, it is true the closing of the Citizen is an irreparable harm, the plaintiff has failed to show the balance of hardships weighs in their favor."
Collins says there is no evidence at the moment that there is a "ready and willing buyer to pay the fair and reasonable liquidation value of the Tucson Citizen assets."
He added if he were to apply the "failing company" test of the Newspaper Preservation Act, "the Citizen would qualify."
On Saturday, the Citizen published its last print edition, and Gannett announced it had terminated its joint operating agreement (JOA) with Lee Enterprises Inc.'s Arizona Daily Star, but that the two would remain partners, sharing profits and expenses in Tucson. …