Media covers the Alice Rogoff story - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Media covers the Alice Rogoff story

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With Hopfinger v. Rogoff, time and money are on Alice Rogoff’s side.

While we wait, news writers find the story fascinating. After all, who can resist the bar napkin?

Newsweek jumped in with a wistful telling of the sad state of the relationship between former Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger and the woman who scooped up his property. The property? A successful online news site.

Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes tells it this way. Hughes gets a statement from Rogoff’s attorney, who says the bar napkin agreement was a loyalty payment — not a buyout. Rogoff intended the payments as insurance that Hopfinger was giving it his all — “that Hopfinger was truly committed to the paper.”

Loyalty contracts lasting 10 years may provide interesting fodder in court, and the pulpit of public opinion.

Craig Medred, who for many years wrote for the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Dispatch, and other newspapers, keeps everyone honest with the insider’s view. There’s a good chance he knows a lot more than he’s telling, too.

Alaska Dispatch News gets the story here, buries it quickly in its lineup, and leaves readers wondering why they cannot comment on it, since they are able to comment on all other the news stories.


A separate Alaska Dispatch lawsuit reveals the Rogoff view of contract law. This time it was Rogoff, as Alaska Dispatch Publishing, suing the former owner of the Anchorage Daily News, McClatchy Co. The newspaper was consumed by the upstart Dispatch on April 8, 2014. Rogoff became unhappy with the terms soon thereafter and asked for $780,000 as compensation from McClatchy for breach of contract; Rogoff dropped the complaint earlier this month.

But here is what wil come back to bite her: The complaint says McClatchy “failed to perform many of (its) obligations, which was a breach of the SPA (Stock Purchase Agreement) and a violation of the implied-in-law covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which is implied in all contracts.”

Including bar napkin contracts.

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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.

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