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Eugene Weekly discovers embezzlement of funds days before Christmas: employees come to the rescue

By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor  —  The recent embezzlement of funds that has crippled the Eugene Weekly newspaper has swept through the local news like flash floods hit gullies in the desert.

The newspaper that let you know what’s happening at all the area venues took a gigantic hit. Each week its readers could discover: what local government officials might be in the spotlight for supporting a local cause, or, for having their pockets lined for their own self-interest; where the best locales are for your daring culinary curiosity; and how to meet that perfect roommate. This all came to a screeching halt four days before Christmas. The amount embezzled: $100,000, to date, and possibly more. Time to punt? Not so fast.

Down but not out

There is, however, a bright light that shines on this tragic event. Most of the staff and many of the employees are volunteering their time to keep the weekly going. After 40 years, the Eugene Weekly is down but not out. The Weekly will continue its presence online for the time being. Though no names have been forthcoming, the fine print seems to indicate who the culprit(s) are. This will be headlining news for the “other” paper once the identity is announced.

A staff worthy of praise

Camilla Mortensen, Editor of the Eugene Weekly.

I’ve met several of the staff who work at The Weekly. I sought out The Weekly’s Editor, Camilla Mortensen, not long after I took over as editor of The Herald. I had hoped to schedule more time with her for some sit-down discussion. My intention was to gleam some tidbits from her vast wisdom and knowledge of the industry. I believe I should give her some space to concentrate on matters at hand.

You have to have one darn good organization for your employees to come to a company’s rescue. A good leadership team knows the value of the people who work for them. Respect and caring goes both ways. Obviously, the folks at the Eugene Weekly understand that notion.

We at The Herald send our most heartfelt hope for a speedy recovery. I wholly expect the Eugene Weekly to be back on the newsstands in record time. The quick recovery will be due to the combined team effort of all those who have worked hard to keep the Weekly in print for over four decades.


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