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Thursday, November 23, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsRogoff has political conspiracy theory: Binkleys and GCI forced her out

Rogoff has political conspiracy theory: Binkleys and GCI forced her out

A former reporter for the Alaska Dispatch News, Jeanette Lee Falsey quoted her former boss, ADN owner Alice Rogoff, theorizing about why she lost the newspaper: It was a political conspiracy.

In a thorough account that appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review on Nov. 10, Falsey tells the history of how Alaska’s largest newspaper careened toward bankruptcy due to reckless spending, incompetent ownership, and a loss of community support, and was ultimately saved by a family of riverboat operators from Fairbanks.

But that’s not how Rogoff sees it.

Hawkins

Falsey asked Rogoff why she thought the newspaper went into bankruptcy. The heiress from the East who just two years ago hosted President Barack Obama at her Campbell Lake home, said the Binkley family of Fairbanks and Ron Duncan, president of GCI, ‘worked in concert’ to force her to sell the ADN, with GCI starting the cascade of events with a simple eviction notice due to over $1 million in unpaid rent.

I believe the Binkleys and GCI together decided to force me to sell and the only recourse I had was to go into bankruptcy. I think at the end of the day it was probably political. The management of GCI wanted to see the paper in the hands of people with conservative state politics. There is a sizable group of business people in Anchorage who believe the role of a newspaper is boosterism. Ron Duncan is one of that group. Time will tell whether the Binkleys are as well. – Alice Rogoff

Rogoff is married to one of the richest men in America, but events of the last year point to a reality that she may not have access to his fortune, except through a limited marital agreement that could foreshadow a legal separation.

Ryan Binkley, the new co-publisher (with Jason Evans) whose father invested $1 million — for openers — to keep the paper from folding in September, said that’s just not true: “I don’t understand. Why did she think this? Nobody forced her to do anything,” he told the reporter. John Binkley, Ryan’s father, had already unsuccessfully tried to purchase the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and the family has an interest in keeping Alaska newspapers alive.

Falsey writes how the paper was deep in the red on the day Rogoff filed for bankruptcy: “ADN was occupying the GCI building, where the press was, without a lease; almost $3 million in bills had gone unpaid, including two months of employee insurance premiums and rent at the Arctic Boulevard and GCI buildings; Rogoff owed $10 million to Northrim Bank; half a payroll period was in danger of going unpaid for lack of cash; and losses were averaging $25,000 a day. There were also the lawsuits brought by contractors, the paper supplier, [Tony] Hopfinger and GCI.”

“We didn’t buy the paper for political reasons,” Ryan Binkley told Falsey. “We already tried to buy our hometown paper because we think it’s a viable industry. There’s no political motivation for us.”

[Read the story at Columbia Journalism Review.]

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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

  • Blaming your incompetence and lack of basic financial skills on others. Classic.

  • Another Clinton liberal claiming a “vast right wing conspiracy”. Ha! I agree with James, incompetence and a lack of business acumen.

  • Twenty years ago, I stopped underwriting the advance of totalitarianism’s propaganda machines when I terminated all newspaper and magazine subscriptions. I experienced the hostility of the left in my earlier years and used those experiences to guide me in my mature years. As a young bride, my father-in-law advised, “…subscribe to two opposing newspapers.” Observing the frank warfare between the two publications, and by becoming active in the community, I found not truth, but a test that led me to it, so I kept the subscriptions going; however, when I came to Alaska, I could see that the totalitarian bunch had won the information war. Over the years, my test, “Know them by their fruit,” served me well. I welcome the arrival of your publication. As a truth seeker, I have sent a small contribution and look forward to sending more as I apply my test to your publication. Ditto on James’ comment.

  • Good riddance to her.

  • She threw down the victim card, as any self-righteous whack-job liberal should do whenever given the chance.
    Rogoff is just more proof that liberalism is in fact a mental disorder…

    • Anyone that puts narrative over facts is usually not mentally ill, just a crook.

  • Who other than a political hack would see a political conspiracy as the cause for failure of their very own political conspiracy? Rogoff has at various times claimed that she did not push her political will upon the adn, even while the blind could see she did just that. According to many she ran editorial control over the entire paper, she played a part in getting wild Bill elected, crazy ideas from the far left were splashed across adn from front to back. Politics played apart in the downfall of the adn, Rogoffs politics drove her to make unsound decisions…but then those of her political bent are well known for making unsound decisions.

  • Yeah thats it, thaats the ticket.

    • Did they force her to become her own largest creditor also?

  • Scammed her husband, scammed the state, scammed her paper…

  • Steve-O, I was jury duty 20 years ago. And the key witness was Wild Bill. Judge asks, does anybody know this character witness? All 12 of us raised our hands. The judge asks us all, “Is this going to persuade you decision?” We all said it’s ok. But I’m thinking to myself, who the heck would want Wild Bill to be a character witness!

  • It may be that Ms. Alice “Irrelevant” Rogoff needs to hold on to some beliefs for one reason or another. I hope she knows that confidential, professional help is available.

    I am still predicting this woman will relocate back home to the Northeast before the first of the year.

  • If, as she suggests, GCI and Ron Duncan wanted the paper in conservative hands, why would they need the Binkleys? They could just buy the paper themselves, right? GCI owns KTVA last I checked, so it’s not like they aren’t already in the media/press game.

    I think what GCI/Duncan wanted from the ADN/Rogoff was simpler: for Rogoff to pay her bills.

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