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Wednesday, October 18, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsPressures mount on owner of Alaska Dispatch News

Pressures mount on owner of Alaska Dispatch News

For Alaska Dispatch News owner and publisher Alice Rogoff, evidence of extreme financial stress continues to accumulate. Legal filings now raise the question of whether Northrim Bank could end up the owner of Alaska’s largest newspaper.

A review of recent financial filings in the Anchorage Recording District shows that:

In April, Rogoff assigned her ownership interests in her publishing company, AK Publishing LLC (100% owner of Alaska Dispatch News LLC) in the event of default to Northrim Bank, her lender.

This appears to be putting the entire newspaper up for collateral.

The loan documents are not public, but it is a safe bet that the move was connected to either new cash flow financing or the restructuring of her older loan or loans.

In other words, it looks like Northrim Bank no longer views her enterprise to be creditworthy in its own right and is now moving to shore up its collateral in the event of foreclosure or bankruptcy.

For likely the same reasons, Northrim Bank also recorded a security interest in Rogoff’s income stream (allowance) from her marital agreement with billionaire David Rubenstein.

The personal financial details of Alice Rogoff was information her lawyers tried to suppress from open court proceedings during the July 12 oral arguments in a lawsuit filed against Rogoff by former her business partner, Tony Hopfinger. Rogoff’s attorneys attempted to have the media removed from the courtroom, as they said her personal finances could become a topic of discussion during the preliminary hearing. Judge Andrew Guidi refused to remove reporters observing the trial, which will continue in March.

[Read: Rogoff vs. Reporters: Outtakes from oral arguments]

Details of the marital income agreement are not publicly available, but legal records indicate that Northrim is reaching deeply into Rogoff’s personal assets and income streams in connection with her debt.

All of this squares with recent litigation over Rogoff  not paying important bills.

“STOP LENDING”: Rogoff’s former electrical contractor, M&M Wiring Service, has filed in the Anchorage Recording District a “Notice to Stop Lending” against various Rogoff publishing entities.

The May, 2017 filing puts Northrim on notice that if it advances any further funding on the project, it will be liable to the contractor unless the funds go toward paying off the claim — in this case an unpaid bill in the neighborhood of $459,000 to $509,000.

M&M in January was dismissed from the job of wiring the 59th and Arctic building that the Alaska Dispatch News is trying to move to, and where it has been installing a couple of large presses. M&M had helped dismantle one of the presses at the now-GCI building.

Rogoff hired another company — one to which she has other financial connections — to continue the electrical work at 59th and Arctic, but the trail of permitting grows cold at the end of March.

About half of the total bill to M&M has been paid, and the unpaid hundreds of thousands are now part of legal proceedings in which M&M has a lien on the building owned by Arctic Partners.

A separate lien from Precision Maintenance and Fabrication says Rogoff owes $160,000 for work evidently performed at the existing press location at the old Anchorage Daily News building. That building is now owned by GCI, but Rogoff’s press remains there.

STOP WORK: All construction work at the 59th and Arctic location came to a screeching halt on March 24. The only work that continued was when press people were in the building cleaning the presses — without a certificate of occupancy.

Here are some of the challenges the newspaper faces in the 59th and Arctic location:

  • Contractors have been put on ice while owner Alice Rogoff catches up with her bills.
  • M&M is suing Rogoff for hundreds of thousands in unpaid bills from 2016.
  • Her marital allowance seems not enough to keep up with the investments she must make to fund the operations and manage the move out of the GCI building to 59th and Arctic.
  • Without major retrofitting, the roof may not be able to support the air handling systems needed.
  • The gasline to the building is likely inadequate.
  • The 8-inch water main is too small.
  • It will need an expensive sprinkler system.
  • The facility is too small to store many rolls of newsprint on site.
  • Rogoff will either need to build a warehouse for paper on site, or arrange for storage at another location.
  • The parking lot is not large enough to meet city standards.
  • The location alongside the train tracks may be an ongoing problem for motion-sensitive press operations.
  • A big question is: Is this building suitable or has she erred fatally in signing 10-year leases and incurring debt to make it workable?

‘GO FUND ME’ FOR DISPATCH NEWS DEBT

With the bills and lawsuits piling on, is it time for a crowd-funding campaign to help retire the news mogul’s debt? Her “marital asset stream” seems insufficient to staunch the hemorrhaging of cash, and now it is encumbered by her bank.

Without an infusion of cash, and soon, it’s anyone’s guess how much longer the newspaper will continue to land on subscribers’ doorsteps.

Donations Welcome
Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Excellent summary of the Alice Rogoff Saga. Her meddling in Alaska politics with the power of her newspaper has gone on long enough. She failed to recognize that Alaska is a Red state and has offended many by her opinions that find themselves in the news section of ADN rather than in the editorial section. Her national news has come from such liberal stalwarts such as the Washington Post and the NY Times. Almost every national news article has a liberal bias and attacks the current administration. A majority of Alaska readers are fed up and Alice should not hope to be bailed out with contributions from her readership.
    The only questionable issue will be: who will be her replacement? Newspapers as we once knew them are either going under or changing hands in an effort to prevent financial hemorrhaging. Evidence of this business model collapse can be seen regularly and will be seen again in a big way in the near future. Alice’s business model and her failure to recognize the wants and needs of Alaska will soon be next in a line of failed print news. What may not have been covered enough is the fact that she and her husband Rubenstien are in the throws of a divorce. It is unlikely he will show much consideration for her needs to support a failed business with continued financial help. She is rarely seen in Anchorage, her daughter has moved to Washington DC, and there is little left for her here. It’s time for a change.

  • SO! The Anchorage Fake News Dispatch is about to go under. I have already written in asking that their Perspectives / Opinion pages should not print articles from The NY Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Times, and other National Liberal journalists. Even those belonging to other newspapers or magazines. We have enough of our own Liberals to live with without trying to suffocate us with nothing but Fake News.
    For example: Sunday August 6, 2017 a front page picture of a supposedly “Retreating Exit Glacier is an icon of Climate change” This following one of the longest Winters on record with a very heavy snowfall. How easy it is to draw a simple line in the sand and mark it 2005 for comparison. Fake News! Now let them publish a picture of a photo of the same Glacier taken in 2005 side by side as proof.

  • I’m sorry the lady is stressed due to her purchase of ADN, but the Left leaning paper should have gone to the Anchorage Times.

  • I have heard the rumor that this Friday will be the last day the ADN is printed? Any corroboration to this?