Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2014

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Decision about newspaper joint operating agreement put off for another day

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Brian Greenspun

A federal judge today said a lawsuit that would have blocked the termination of a business agreement between the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review-Journal was premature, leaving the issue to be decided another day.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan denied an injunction requested by Las Vegas Sun Editor and Publisher Brian Greenspun because no contract has been signed between Stephens Media and Greenspun's siblings.

"This is Round One," said Greenspun, adding that he is confident the Sun has a long life ahead. "This is Round One in a 15-round fight."

"This isn't over," Greenspun attorney Joseph Alioto said.

Alioto and other Greenspun attorneys now will decide whether to appeal Mahan's decision or wait for a contract to be signed and request another injunction.

Greenspun had asked the judge to enjoin Stephens Media from terminating a joint operating agreement in which the Review-Journal prints and delivers the Sun, saying it could lead to the demise of the Sun and leave Las Vegas a one-newspaper town without diversity in editorials and commentaries.

Greenspun's attorneys cited the Newspaper Preservation Act, which says that the federal government must preserve the publication of newspapers in communities where publishers drafted a joint operating agreement because at least one of the newspapers struggled financially.

Greenspun's three siblings have agreed to walk away from the joint operating agreement, putting at risk the newspaper founded by their father in 1950, in exchange for control of lasvegas.com, which the Greenspuns currently lease from Stephens Media for $2.5 million a year.

Brian Greenspun voted against the agreement.

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