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Founders of VegNews Magazine Embroiled in Nasty Legal Battle

San Francisco-based journalist Laura Hooper Beck is night editor for jezebel.com, community manager for vegweb.com, a contributor to VegNews magazine and founder of the blog Vegansaurus! It is those last two strands that have come together unusually this morning in the form of a post on Vegansaurus! titled “Domestic Drama Sends Owners of Vegan Magazine to Court.”

The headline is in reference to Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland, the couple that founded VegNews magazine in 2000 and are now embroiled in a very ugly legal battle. From Beck’s excellent summary of legal briefs filed back and forth in August of 2012 and February of this year, it appears that Connelly is wrongfully trying to claim that the publication is his alone. Or, as Beck puts it, “Something stinks, and for once, it’s not home-brewed kombucha:”

A cross-complaint filed by Colleen on February 7 alleges that she and Joe are now — and have always been — equal partners in the business… In documents and declarations obtained through the Superior Court of California, several close friends, consultants, and advisors who have been present since the inception of VegNews, say they believe Colleen is telling the truth.

The couple was romantically involved at the outset and, per Beck’s combing through of legal documents, Connelly first brought up the issue of whether Holland should be considered a co-founder in 2008. Things really went south in 2012 though, after further mediation failed.

Connelly is asking for full ownership of VegNews magazine and $4.5 million dollars in breach of contract and fraud damages, while Holland is seeking injunctive relief and for operations to be handed over to a neutral third party. What’s most unusual here is that the summary was written by a current editor-at-large and columnist for VegNews. Read Beck’s full post here.

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