LEGAL FILINGS POUR IN
The lawsuits and liens are flying around bankrupt publisher Alice Rogoff and the Alaska Dispatch News.
The company that owns the building where two printing presses of the Dispatch are lying dormant are now suing Dispatch owner Alice Rogoff because her contractors, which she has not paid, have put a lien on the building.
Arctic Partners, the owner of the property at 59th and Arctic Blvd, says Rogoff signed a 10-year lease on Nov. 1, 2016, for $43,577 per month, plus all utilities, costs and expenses associated with the lease. She hasn’t paid her rent for months.
In other court filings, it appears Rogoff owes over $21.4 million to various creditors, split about even between secured creditors like Northrim Bank, and unsecured creditors like M&M Wiring. The court bankruptcy trustee now believes Rogoff will not make good on her debts, and also writes of the confusion surrounding who is responsible for what.
Rogoff’s list of business assets have been filed with the court, which include more than $12 million in personal property and no real property. The newspaper has nearly $1 million owed to it in accounts receivable.
At the 5900 Arctic Blvd property, Rogoff left unfinished the installation of the two presses.
With M&M Wiring now putting a lien on Arctic Partners’ property because of $508,000 in construction costs and damages, and with other companies now getting lawyered up, the lawsuits are starting to pile up.
The company gave Rogoff notice in July that she was in default, but she ignored the notice, and then transferred interest in some of her personal property in order to hinder, delay, or defraud Arctic Partners, the landlord asserts.
Arctic Partners is saying Rogoff is personally liable. That’s what the other creditors are trying to do, too, because she does have personal assets that have not been revealed to the court.
ROGOFF STILL IN CONTROL
The Binkley Company was given the title “publisher” of the newspaper at the time the Dispatch went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But Rogoff has not allowed the company to make any substantive changes that would stopped the hemorrhaging. No one has been laid off.
Even Rogoff’s executive vice president Margy Johnson has been kept on staff at the insistence of Rogoff, even though Jerry Grilly has been hired by the Binkley Company to run the operation. Grilly was once the publisher of the Anchorage Daily News, the former name of the Dispatch. But his hands appear to be tied while the bankruptcy proceeding continues, because Rogoff has not relinquished her authority.
ENTIRE OPERATION HEADING TOWARD CHAPTER 7
As the Dispatch heads for the auction block on Sept. 11, a bankruptcy trustee is recommending the case be converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, since there is so little likelihood that Rogoff will make good on her debts.
In an Aug. 30 filing, Attorney Kathryn Perkins in the U.S. Trustee Office says Rogoff “will face no reasonable likelihood of rehabilitation.” In other words, she’ll essentially skip out on her debts, with her personal assets untouched.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy would mean whatever remaining assets there are after the sale of the paper would be sold off and payments would be made to creditors.
Rogoff has made a deal with the Binkley Company, but she is also believed to be in private side discussions with a group formed by Mark Begich and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to make a bid on the newspaper at the next hearing, which is on Sept. 11. A third bidder has been rumored to be circling the newspaper as well.
The Binkley Company has loaned the newspaper up to $1 million to keep it alive until the sale. That is also the amount the Binkley Company is paying for the paper, which means nothing will be left for Rogoff’s creditors.
If the Binkley Company is not successful as a bidder, the buyer will have to pay off the $1 million loan at closing.