Owners Sue Ex-Publishers Who Started New Paper in North Carolina

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The owners of two newspapers are suing their former publishers who quit and took staff with them to start a new, competing newspaper.

Heartland Publications LLC filed the lawsuit last week against former publishers of The Mount Airy News and The Tribune in Elkin, seeking to stop the Monday publication of the new paper, The Messenger.

The lawsuit in Surry County Superior Court said Mike Milligan, publisher of the Mount Airy News, and Rebel Good of The Tribune hurt their former newspapers when they took with them key employees and business information to start The Messenger.

Good and Milligan were planning the new publication while still working at the newspapers and caused employees to walk out on June 18.

A lawyer for the new newspaper said no response had been filed. A hearing date hasn’t been set.

“Any intent will be to fight these claims vigorously, and that’s probably all I can say at this point,” said attorney Peter Brunstetter.

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