Crikey is enthusiastically in the market for new subscribers after our source of funds to pay off debts has been significantly reduced with $40,000 frozen by Justice Bongiorno, pending the outcome of this month’s defamation action by Steve Price. If you want to subscribe, just click here.

The matter was heard by Justice Bongiorno today and this is what subscribers have just been told about his decision.

Dear Sole Subscribers,

Justice Bongiorno today ruled that $40,000 of the estimated $118,000 in net proceeds from the sale of the Crikey bunker by Mrs Crikey, Paula Piccinini, be frozen pending the completion of the upcoming defamation proceeding brought by 2UE’s Steve Price against Crikey Media and me personally.

The order included a direction that Paula make a priority payment to satisfy her $18,000 debt to the Tax Office.

She is free to do as she pleases with the balance of $60,000 – which is broadly equal to the balance of the outstanding non-mortgage debts that we both owe.

We’d have been absolutely stuffed if the interim ex parte injunction on the entire proceeds from the sale was frozen.

You see Paula will owe the Commonwealth Bank $307,000 on settlement and then we have an additional $80,000 in debts (credit cards, overdrafts and the like) that are costing us an average 14 per cent per annum.

We were obliged to pay about $5830 in legal fees to Steve Price’s team just to amend our defence and only managed to do so after the extraordinary generosity of Crikey subscribers over the weekend.

We also need to lodge a bond and pay the first month’s rent on our new property by March 1. Then there’s the final notice Paula has received from the Tax Office demanding $14,282 and the small matter of Crikey and Paula being two BAS statements behind with about $7000 owing to Treasury on these.

NEW SUBSCRIBERS NEEDED

Without access to the apartment cash, Crikey urgently needs an influx of new subscribers so if you are not getting our daily 3000-word emails just click here to subscribe.

SPECIAL OFFER – RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION EARLY

And in light of all this, we’ve decided to make a special offer to existing subscribers as we rather urgently need to raise some cash. However, new subscribers can also sign up this way if they find our online subscription process annoying.

The price of new subscriptions and renewals will be going up from March 15 but you can sign up for another 12 months at the old rate of $44 in one of the following ways:

SEND a fax to Crikey’s old man on (03) 9846 1472 authorising a renewal at $44 by including the name on the credit card, card number and expiry date. Feel free to throw a donation in on top.

MAKE an internet transfer into the Crikey Media account with the Commonwealth Bank: (BSB 063494, account number 1015 1030).

(Or if you like you could make an internet transfer to Paula Piccinini’s Commonwealth Bank account (BSB: 063009 AC No: 10167322) as she’d dropped about $50,000 from her association with me and the past week has been incredibly stressful.)

SEND a cheque made out to Crikey Media to PO Box 2095, Templestowe Heights 3107.

EMAIL me at [email protected] with a telephone number and I’ll ring you back to collect your credit card details.

Sorry that it has come to this folks but we’re the heavily indebted backyard website up against the millionaire radio presenter backed by a $600 million company and now $40,000 of capital has been frozen by the court.

AMAZING GENEROSITY FROM CRIKEY SUBSCRIBERS

That first bit was sent to subscribers on Friday morning and this update went out on Monday morning:

After an absolutely shocking Thursday night when Justice Bongiorno granted an interim injunction to Steve Price preventing Mrs Crikey from accessing the proceeds from the sale of the Crikey bunker, we were greatly heartened by the amazing level of support shown by subscribers.

The subscriptions, donations and renewals poured in such that we were able to write out a legal cheque for $5830 from the Crikey account without dipping further into the personal credit cards. This enabled outstanding gas, water, electricity, mobile, internet, DJs and Diners Club line of credit interest bills to be paid out of the personal overdraft or credit card account on Friday afternoon.

Three people offered to lend us the $6000 for legals which we were able to decline for now as we might have access to the deposit funds after this Thursday’s full hearing on the injunction.

The old man was completely overwhelmed with about 20 faxes on Friday and 25 new subscriptions such that he ended up banking a record $7,800 for the week and will be able to write out a cheque for more tee-shirts this week and cover the two Crikey BAS payments which are overdue.

One subscriber made an incredibly generous $1000 donation and another took out a life membership for $660 and two more made $500 donations. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of interest in being named on the Crikey Honour board which we would like to encourage, even if it is just an anonymous message.

Twenty subscribers made direct internet transfers totalling $1700 into the Crikey Bank account (BSB 063494 and AC NO: 1015 1030) and it is the amusing that there is no obscenity ban on this as a print out of the account shows one entry that reads “$50: Johnny Smith F**k Them”.

All of this helped boost everyone’s mood on Friday. Paula and I spent much of the weekend working on our respective affidavits for Thursday. Fortunately, Paula will be represented by a colleague from her list and I’ll represent myself.

Holding Redlich and barrister David Gilbertson continue to do a power of work on the main game and we’ll be meeting later today on the question of who is called as witnesses when the 5-day trial gets under way on March 12.

Many thanks again to everyone who emailed, called, faxed, donated, subscribed or renewed on Friday. It was a real pick-me-up in a difficult situation and got us through the weekend in better spirits.

TRIBUTE FROM TONY BELL

Now you might find this very hard to believe but Southern Cross Broadcasting CEO Tony Bell sent me a very nice letter recently responding to my application to replace Steve Price on the Drive shift at 3AW. Again, I promise this is absolutely true and it reads as follows:

Mr Stephen Mayne

Crikey Media Pty Ltd

PO Box 2095

Templestowe Heights 3107

Dear Stephen

Thank you for your interest in joining the Southern Cross Broadcasting team.

Whilst I’m sure Graham Mott will write to you with an appropriate response to relation to 3AW, I thought it would be helpful for you to know that we did give serious consideration to your application, and that I am of the opinion that you could be a very capable broadcaster.

We will keep you in mind for the future.

Best wishes,

Tony Bell

Managing Director

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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