New Scene Magazine sued by former owner

Tommy Wood

FORT COLLINS — The owner and publisher of New Scene Magazine is being sued by the publication’s former owner over allegations of nonpayment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Larimer County District Court.

Blaine Howerton, the owner and publisher of New Scene Magazine and North Forty News, is accused by Michael Mockler, former owner of Scene Magazine, of failing to pay Mockler for the sale. 

“It’s all a surprise to me at this point,” said Howerton. “I can say that we have done everything in our power to keep this magazine going.”

Howerton said that as of Tuesday afternoon he had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

Scene Magazine had been a staple of Fort Collins’ music, art and culture since its founding by Mockler in the early 1990s. Howerton purchased Scene Magazine from Mockler in January 2018, changed its name to New Scene Magazine, and continued publishing. 

According to the lawsuit, Howerton and Mockler executed a promissory note for $149,000 with 4.5% annual interest that was to be paid monthly. The lawsuit alleges that Howerton has paid only $13,894 of the amount owed and has not made a payment since February 2019. The suit also states that New Scene Magazine LLC is in delinquent status with the Colorado Secretary of State. 

“I’d have to go back and look at our books and see what we actually tendered,” Howerton said. “I can’t say if it’s accurate or not.”

A check of the listing at the Secretary of State’s office shows that New Scene Magazine LLC was delinquent as of June 1, 2019.

Howerton said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying near-total cancellation of concerts and other events decimated the magazine’s advertising revenue. In response, he said, the promissory note was renegotiated “to come up with ways to help [Mockler] while we were trying to get the magazine back off the ground.” Howerton did not say what the renegotiated terms of the promissory note were, only that New Scene Magazine had fulfilled them. 

“There’s been a tremendous amount of hard work that we put into Scene,” Howerton said. “The idea that an arts and entertainment magazine needs to continue in this community is absolutely essential. We have committed and we will continue to commit to keep Scene going despite its complete lack of support from an advertising perspective as the pandemic keeps going. I’d hate for a lawsuit to get in the way of that.”

Mockler is asking in the suit for monetary damages and attorney fees. He has retained the Fort-Collins-based firm of Hadfield Stieben & Doutt. Howerton does not yet have an attorney of record. Mockler’s attorneys did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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Tommy Wood

FORT COLLINS — The owner and publisher of New Scene Magazine is being sued by the publication’s former owner over allegations of nonpayment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Larimer County District Court.

Blaine Howerton, the owner and publisher of New Scene Magazine and North Forty News, is accused by Michael Mockler, former owner of Scene Magazine, of failing to pay Mockler for the sale. 

“It’s all a surprise to me at this point,” said Howerton. “I can say that we have done everything in our power to keep this magazine going.”

Howerton said that as of Tuesday afternoon he had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

Scene Magazine had been a staple of Fort Collins’ music, art and culture since its founding by Mockler in the early 1990s. Howerton purchased Scene Magazine from Mockler in January 2018, changed its name to New Scene Magazine, and continued publishing. 

According to the lawsuit, Howerton and Mockler executed a promissory note for $149,000 with 4.5% annual interest that was to be paid monthly. The lawsuit alleges that Howerton has paid only $13,894 of the amount owed and has not made a payment since February 2019. The suit also states that New Scene Magazine LLC is in delinquent status with the Colorado Secretary of State. 

“I’d have to go back and look at our books and see what we actually tendered,” Howerton said. “I can’t say if it’s accurate or not.”

A check of the listing at the Secretary of State’s office shows that New Scene Magazine…