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The Gateway Guardian, the politically one-sided newspaper started by ex-real estate agent and self-appointed publisher Melinda Kimsey, has closed its office in Artesia, Hews Media Group Community News can confirm.
Sources are telling HMG-CN that Kimsey has cut circulation to 3,000 print newspapers contradicting her stated circulation to advertisers and cities of 10,000.
Kimsey closed the office after she learned of an impending 11/13/15 article published in HMG-CN outlining her cozy and lucrative relationship with Cerritos’ Mayor Carol Chen and former Mayor Bruce Barrows as related to the newspaper, its advertising and financing, and the misuse of Cerritos City funds by Chen.
HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews will ask the Los Angeles District Attorney to investigate Chens’ use of City funds in relation to Kimsey’s newspaper.
Kimsey occupied the office, owned by Artesia Councilman Tony Lima, for over a year, with sources telling HMG-CN that, “Kimsey was constantly late with the rent.”
“I’m surprised it took this long,” said HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews, “if it wasn’t for the city of Cerritos advertising in the paper, as ordered by Mayor Carol Chen, the paper would have scuttled long ago. By my calculations, and if they are printing the number of newspapers they claim to print, the paper loses $3,000-$4,000 per month, and that is with Cerritos’ advertising in it,” said Hews.
The paper was distributed to a small neighborhood in Cerritos and about 80% of Artesia, in the exact same place and locations as the 30 year-old Los Cerritos Community News, which covers 98% of Cerritos and Artesia, and eight other cities.
Yet, puzzlingly, the City of Cerritos somehow justified advertising in the paper.
This is an organization that did not have an office in Cerritos, did not have a published advertising rate card, and published its first edition two weeks prior to Cerritos placing advertising.
“That’s duplicating advertising dollars during tough times for the city,” said Hews, “the city can’t even afford to cut their trees, but Mayor Chen did not care, and ordered city personnel to place advertising in the newspaper. The publication catered to her in every edition, publishing 2-3 pictures and stories of Chen and her City Council buddies in every edition, it was her own newspaper financed by the city, it’s the Chen News.”
Disgruntled long time former HMG-CN reporter Randy Economy was seen inside Kimsey’s newspaper office a few days after he abruptly left HMG-CN last year.
Hews later discovered that a scheme was hatched to start their own paper, followed by a coordinated plan, with assistance from Carol Chen, Bruce Barrows, and many in the Cerritos Republican Club, to put HMG-CN out of business by spreading vicious rumors and lies about the publication.
Three years ago, Economy asked Hews to hire Kimsey as a sales representative. Hews agreed and hired Kimsey but during her tenure at the paper, she was apparently taking note of operations at HMG-CN.
Kimsey eventually left HMG-CN and took Editor Jerry Bernstein to establish her own newspaper, which took nine months to start. Kimsey and Bernstein also tried to hire away HMG-CN’s graphics designer and salespeople.
Economy stayed at HMG-CN for a few more months, quit his long-time job by phone, and immediately began spreading lies about Hews and HMG-CN, while appearing in every edition of Kimsey’s newspaper and asking long-time HMG-CN Sports Editor Loren Kopff to quit and work for the paper.
“He was vicious,” said Hews. “I was very disappointed, we worked side-by-side for over four years, after he quit he tried to put me out of business, spreading falsehoods about how I operated the paper while helping Kimsey in the process; and he is still spreading lies to this day.”
Emails into Kimsey and Bernstein for comment were unsuccessful.
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