HOW DID THE EAST COAST HEIRESS MAKE OFF WITH A PUBLICATION?
By CRAIG MEDRED
Less than a month after leaving Alaska’s largest news organization behind in federal bankruptcy court, the estranged wife of billionaire financier David Rubenstein is hard at work rebranding herself on the global stage.
Billed these days as “Publisher, Arctic Now,” Alice Rogoff Rubenstein is scheduled to be a major player at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, Oct. 13-15. Originally on the agenda only to introduce Sen. Lisa Murkowksi, R-Alaska, Rogoff’s role has been significantly expanding in recent days.
All indications are that she is battling her way back into action with the gusto of “Yosemite Sam,” as she was known to the staff of AlaskaDispatch.com back in the day. For a brief period in time, Dispatch was Rogoff’s one, shining, business success even though it never managed to turn a profit.
“Since its inception in 2008, Alaska Dispatch, the state’s sole online-only news organization, has been on the forefront of reporting on climate change, issues facing rural Alaska, politics and the oil industry, and its staff has won numerous awards for doing so,” The McClatchy Company of California echoed in an April 24, 2014 press release announcing it had sold the Anchorage Daily News/ADN.com to Rogoff for $34 million.
ADN was at that time the 49th state’s by-far dominant news source. And Rogoff rode its influence to a peak when she hosted President Barrack Obama for dinner at her posh Campbell Lake home in the late summer of 2015.
Less than two years later, the $34 million ADN was reporting losses of $500,000 a month, and Rogoff and her attorney were in bankruptcy court asking to leave about 200 creditors stuck with about $2 million in bad debt so she could escape from a major business fiasco.
The courts eventually turned the ADN over to the Binkley Company, a Fairbanks family of long-time Alaskans who said their only goal was to save the state’s largest news organization. They paid $1 million. The money went to Northrim Bank, which Rogoff still owed $10 million on a loan that helped her buy the ADN.
Small creditors were left with nothing, and major job cuts soon came at ADN as the Binkleys took the painful but necessary steps to stabilize a company badly bleeding money.