IN HER HAPPY PLACE
Nantucket was the place to be last week for the East Coast sailing set, and Alice Rogoff, owner of the Alaska Dispatch News, was present and accounted for, as she is most years.
The annual regatta week ended Sunday, just in time for Rogoff to appear in Anchorage bankruptcy court on Monday afternoon — telephonically from her Nantucket home.
Rogoff filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, with a pending sale to the Binkley Company.
Rogoff, married to one of the richest men in America, is being sued by creditors and owes millions of dollars to numerous Alaskans and small Alaskan businesses.
But Nantucket at the end of August is a “must” for her. She joined a crew on the yacht American Eagle last week to win second place in the Gifford Bowl, as seen in the social media post of her longtime pal Susan Wayne:
Meanwhile, the Alaska Dispatch News will be able to pay its reporters, press persons, administrative and advertising staff this Friday, thanks to a $300,000 to $1 million series of loans being offered by the Binkley Company, which received permission from a bankruptcy judge on Monday to loan to the Dispatch funds it needs to keep going until the sale of the paper is finalized.
The Binkley Company has also paid two months of past due premiums to Premera Blue Cross, for employees’ health insurance, and the workers compensation and general liability policies that were weeks in arrears.
The newspaper has survived yet another week, although it’s running on fumes.
IN THE SALE: NORTHRIM GETS PAID FIRST
The sale of the Alaska Dispatch News, presumably to the Binkley Company, takes place at a Sept. 11 court hearing. With Ryan Binkley at the helm, Binkley is offering to buy the paper for the $1 million it will have invested.
Any other bidders who come in higher will be paying Rogoff’s creditors. The first $1 million would go to Binkley, and everything else up to approximately $10 million would go to Northrim Bank.
Northrim has the only secured loan to Rogoff. It’s unlikely that any bidders will offer enough for the paper to pay off Northrim entirely, which means the rest of the creditors — and that’s a long list — will almost certainly be stiffed by Rogoff, unless they can legally break down the barrier between her personal assets and her companies.
You can bet lawyers are eager to “pierce the corporate veil.” GCI, which is the landlord for the newspaper’s press operation, appears to know that, and was able to get Rogoff to sign a personal guarantee that she will pay to have the press removed from GCI’s building — an endeavor that is expected to cost well over $1.2 million. That was the price needed for GCI to remove its objection to the Binkley Company loaning the Dispatch the money needed to save the paper.
Rogoff is said to have returned to Anchorage today. Creditors will be keeping a close eye on whether or not she’s removing the artwork from her lakeside home, now that even Judge Gary Spraker has hinted that Chapter 7 bankruptcy — a complete liquidation of assets — is a likely next step.