Alice Rogoff took her online webzine Arctic Today with her when she parted out the the Alaska Dispatch (formerly and now once again the Anchorage Daily News).
Rogoff, who had hosted President Barack Obama at her Campbell Lake home in 2015, told the bankruptcy court two years later that her Arctic Today online publication was not worth anything.
The bankruptcy judge, seeking to simplify a mess of limited liability corporations that had been set up to move money around the Alaska Dispatch world, allowed Rogoff to take the publication, then known as Arctic Now.
None of the creditors fought for it. In fact, it didn’t look like it was worth fighting for as a publication with barely a pulse.
Now, it appears Rogoff was right — it’s not worth anything, at least as a commercial concern. Last year, she was recruiting for an ad sales person, trying to grow the bottom line. This year, after trying to make a go of it financially with Arctic Today, and after paying her skeleton staff out of her own resources, Rogoff has turned it into a nonprofit.
She advised readers of the change, and she asked them for tax-deductible donations to be mailed to a Potomac Falls, Virginia address.
Rogoff is the incorporator and president of the nonprofit, which is registered with the State of Alaska Department of Commerce. She is using her home address on Campbell Lake in Anchorage for that purpose.
But no charity filing appears at the Internal Revenue Service, GuideStar.org or CharityNavigator.org. An organization must have an IRS 501(c)(3) status in order to be tax exempt and must comply with other federally established rules.
Having that special tax status will allow Rogoff to receive grants from many source, whether it’s the Rasmuson Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center (where she serves as co-chair of the Arctic Initiative), or perhaps organizations such as the Pew Charitable Trust.
Others are involved: Dwayne Menezes is vice president. He is the founder and managing director of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, a London-based think tank.
Directors include University of Alaska journalism professor Elizabeth Arnold, and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who has launched a company that plans to ship natural gas from the North Slope via ocean routes.
Also on the board are Halla Hrund Logadóttir, who is the co-founder and co-director of the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and Tero Vauraste, president and CEO of Arctia Group, a company owned by the nation of Finland.
Rogoff, Treadwell, and Vauraste circle back with Menezes in another nonprofit: All serve on the advisory board for Menezes’ Polar Research and Policy Initiative.
Previous incorporators no longer associated with the nonprofit include John Tichotsky, a former special assistant to former Gov. Bill Walker.
Rogoff is familiar with setting up nonprofits. She set up an art gallery in downtown Anchorage, making it a nonprofit supported by both federal and State of Alaska grants. Many in the downtown business world viewed it as a bit of a scam to market Native art in competition with the private sector, which was already doing that.
But it brought in millions of dollars in grants while it lasted.
Rogoff also founded the Alaska House in New York City, another nonprofit gallery that opened with a splash in 2008 and closed in 2015 after the Alaska Legislature refused to giver her $600,000 to keep it open. It had depended on the generosity of philanthropists such as billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Daisy Soros, sister-in-law to George Soros.
And then there was Rogoff’s husband at the time, supporting all of these ventures: Carlyle Group cofounder David Rubenstein.
When Rogoff bought the online Alaska Dispatch in 2008, and the Anchorage Daily News in 2014, most Alaskans who paid attention to the wealthy East Coast socialite, thought of her as the richest person who had ever run away to Alaska.
Later, when through her various limited liability companies she stiffed contractors and workers, as well as her former business partner Tony Hopfinger, the other side of her finances started to show, especially in bankruptcy court, where it became evident she was nearly completely dependent on the good will and checkbook of her estranged, now-former husband Rubenstein.
(Craig Medred photo)