NEW YORK – Publisher George Capsis – witty, wise and fierce as he celebrates his 95th birthday – is immersed in a battle for professional survival as lawyer Arthur Schwartz mounts an attack to steal his paper, WestView News from him. Says Capsis: “I called the police and am going by the law. I have talked with a number of lawyers who are sympathetic to what we can do. The paper is liked and respected by the community. Schwartz can’t win an election. He keeps being defeated. So the paper would be a nice ego tool for him.”
According to Dusty Berke, Capsis’ assistant, this bizarre theft, with a paper launched calling itself the New Westview News and copying the real paper’s masthead, the plot is taking place in the most underhanded way. “They’re trying to make George look incompetent,” says Berke. “Liza Whiting has been tricking people into thinking that she comes from WestView, even stealing ads. Advertisers have no idea about the chicanery. The fake paper just took the ads and put them in.”
Says Berke: “Schwartz has been trying to steal the paper for years. In 2013, when he was representing George, he created an outrageous contract and claims that George signed it.”
Two of the people writing for the paper were tricked into believing they were in touch with the real paper, when it was the bogus WestView news they were reporting for. “He’s feeling incredibly violated,” says Berke.
Capsis founded the paper 20 years ago after a successful corporate career. “I was in my seventies when I left my last paying job and founded WestView in 2003.”
His neighbor, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, tagged George “the King of Greenwich Village” and the title is apt. Through the paper, Capsis has put his heart and soul into promoting worthy causes, including campaigning to bring a hospital to the West Village.
When the artistic hub of the Village, the Cornelia Street Café closed and the Greek-American Writers Association lost their home base, Capsis came to the rescue, introducing the group to the Rev. Graeme Napier, pastor of St. John’s in the Village, an Episcopalian church sympathetic to artistic causes.
Can Capsis keep the wolves at bay? According to Berke, George has the right stuff, despite being faced by double-dealing and underhanded tactics. “He’s feeling so terribly violated,” Berke says. “But he’s not giving up the good fight.”