set to stop Star-
District Judge Alan KayBy Debra Barayuga
will hear the case
The state's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from closing will be heard at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay.
The state filed its motion Friday seeking to preserve the status quo and to prevent further erosion of the assets of the Star-Bulletin until the court can fully consider the merits of the case.
According to the motion, Gannett Pacific Corp., Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership and the Hawaii Newspaper Agency have already taken substantial steps to close the Star-Bulletin, including notifying and soliciting Star-Bulletin subscribers and advertisers and removing Star-Bulletin vending racks from the streets to repaint and reuse for the Honolulu Advertiser.
These actions undermine the public's confidence in the viability of the Star-Bulletin and impair the state's ability to put the paper up for sale if Liberty chooses to stop publishing, the state argued.
Rupert Phillips, principal investor of Liberty Newspapers, which bought the Star-Bulletin from Gannett in 1993, announced the paper's closing Sept. 16.
The state and seven private citizens representing a group that calls itself Save Our Star-Bulletin, last week filed separate suits in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, alleging the termination agreement violates the federal Newspaper Preservation Act and may violate state and federal anti-trust laws.
Both suits asked that the court order Star-Bulletin owners to continue publication and if not, put the paper up for sale. Phillips said he had not put the paper up for sale.
Attorneys for Save Our Star-Bulletin say the Star-Bulletin's is unique from other papers that have folded because it was making a profit and benefiting from the joint operating agreement.
Star-Bulletin closing Oct. 30, 1999