Evry (AFP)

The Neighborhood Agency, an alternative media and training body, was placed in receivership on Monday by the commercial court of Evry pending a safeguard plan, AFP learned from concordant sources.

Launched in the fall of 2019 by Guillaume Villemot, a communicator close to the two ex-ministers of the City Julien Denormandie and Jean-Louis Borloo, the media had to deal with the information of these sensitive areas by avoiding the sensational and by training in journalism young people from "priority" neighborhoods.

But he has been experiencing significant cash flow problems for several months and has been in turmoil since the call for help from employees in a scathing open letter in early March.

The majority of employees and work-study students have not been paid since the end of 2020 and some for a year.

"We got what we asked for, the objectives being to preserve jobs, pay wages late, pay off debts and continue activity," responded to AFP Guillaume Villemot.

As part of this placement in receivership, a receiver was appointed by the commercial court.

"This is an act of protection for the company which has experienced financial difficulties because of the health situation", continued Guillaume Villemot, co-founder of the citizen movement "Bleu Blanc Zèbre", with the writer Alexandre Jardin , which wishes to "rebuild something which is positive and lasting".

The six branches of the Agency - out of fifteen originally planned - in Grigny and Villiers-le-Bel in the Paris suburbs, Roubaix (Nord), Evreux (Eure), Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), and Toulon (Var), were to provide journalistic training, in partnership with the Lille School of Journalism or the School of Information Trades.

The media site, funded in particular by nearly two million euros public subsidies, has not been accessible for several weeks.

The National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT), which partially funded the project, launched an investigation, according to the City Ministry interviewed in March.

© 2021 AFP