Tony Ortega’s Shell Game Lie

Recently we’ve been taking a look at the nefarious, often turbulent, tenure of one Tony Ortega during the dying months of the Village Voice. We saw how under Ortega’s leadership, The Village Voice’s circulation dropped from 240,265 to 213,358 in the space of a year. That’s a crushing 11% drop… and it was only the beginning.

We saw how Ortega, now overseeing a giant publishing boondoggle, was having a decidedly difficult time finding an audience willing to read his free give-away paper.

Although Village Voice flatly refused to publicly release the real figures detailing the Voice’s startling crash in value, Ortega said ad revenue declines for the paper were “consistent with the rest of the industry” which was (and we are being generous here) a little less than honest. This of course was only part of the story but it helps explain why The Village Voice was so coy about releasing its actual figures in the first place.

Ortega would later give the game away when he admitted that The Voice’s parent company, Village Voice Media, was seeing substantial growth in its Web Revenue sector.

It won’t surprise our readers to learn that by ‘web revenue sector’ Tony Ortega was of course referring to the infamous Backpage, which by that time was beginning to entrench itself as the world’s leading online market for sex trafficking. Ortega would go on to explain that he fully expected print revenue to increase in the following fiscal year as a result.

Of course, none of this was even remotely as expected (let alone as above board) as Tony Ortega was trying to make it seem.

One does not need any keen financial insight into the shady world of corporate shell games to understand that the money generated as ‘Web Revenue’ which Tony Ortega saw as the means by which the paper would remain solvent was coming from selling women for sex.  Or to put more directly — the money to pay whatever remaining staff there was after Tony’s firing spree was coming directly from human trafficking.

Indeed, as a number of former Village Voice employees have attested, The Village Voice was little more than a human trafficking criminal enterprise under Lacey, Larkin, and Ortega. After all Ortega made it clear what his position was when he wrote, “The people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com.”

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