Red Herring's 19 employees were evicted Tuesday from the tech publisher's offices in Belmont, Calif., after it fell behind in rent payments, according to a source close to the situation.
Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday arrived at around 3 p.m. and gave the staff 30 minutes to leave the premises, said the source, who is not authorized to speak on the matter. A locksmith and the landlord's attorney showed up at the same time to change the locks.
Employees were seen trotting back and forth from the office to their cars, hauling PCs and other belongings. The blog Valleywag first reported the eviction.
In a phone interview, Red Herring publisher and CEO Alex Vieux acknowledged that the deputies cleared out his staff, but said it was not unexpected and denied not having the money to make rent payments.
"We have been in negotiation about how to get out of the lease," Vieux told CNET News.com. "We did not agree and we made an economic decision."
Vieux said that he has already found a new office somewhere near his former headquarters, but he wouldn't disclose the location.
Red Herring was one of the tech magazines that rose to prominence during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, competing with the likes of The Industry Standard, Business 2.0, and Wired. The magazine was a casualty of the Internet meltdown and ceased publication in 2003.
Vieux acquired some of its assets and reopened it as an Internet-only publication that same year. He started printing the magazine again in 2004. Since then, reports of financial distress have plagued Red Herring. The magazine has not been printed for at least the past six weeks.
If Vieux couldn't agree with his landlords on lease terms, he still may have to negotiate with them about taking possession of the company's e-mail servers, which are still in the building, according to a source.
Meanwhile, Red Herring's Web publication is still operating. The publication's servers were hosted in a different location, according to the source.