Garrett Harris noon, May 24
Gay Paper Suspended, but Sends Money for Back Taxes
The California Franchise Tax Board on Aug. 2 suspended the rights and privileges of San Diego Gay Times, parent of the Gay and Lesbian Times, under the provisions of the tax code. Owner Mike Portantino says he sent the board $1494 today (Aug. 18) and was told the paper would be reinstated. "We simply made a mistake. I FedExed a check today for the balance [owed] the Franchise Tax Board," says Portantino. There is a bitter battle between San Diego's two major gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender publications, the Times and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. San Diego News Network, which went out of business recently, ran two stories, researched in part by employees of the News along with former Times employees, stating that the Times was in financial trouble and also bloated circulation figures. Portantino admits that he has an arrangement with the Internal Revenue Service to pay back taxes. After the two stories came out, Portantino sued a former employee for breach of confidential agreement and invasion of privacy.That suit is going forward, says attorney Mike Aguirre. The district attorney is investigating whether the Times has illegally misstated circulation. Spokesman Paul Levikow says there is nothing to announce on that matter.