Rogoff says former partner Hopfinger is lying about napkin contract - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Rogoff says former partner Hopfinger is lying about napkin contract

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The former owner of the bankrupt and gone Alaska Dispatch News/ took the stand in Anchorage Superior Court on Wednesday to testify under oath that the former editor of the 49th state’s by far largest news organization lied about a note promising him $1 million.

Alice Rogoff, the ex-wife of U.S. billionaire tycoon David Rubenstein, said 10 annual payments of $100,000 per year she guaranteed ADN editor Tony Hopfinger in 2014 weren’t for the purchase of his remaining, 5 percent interest in the online-only news organization – – he started with ex-wife Amanda Coyne.

Instead, the 67-year-old Rogoff said, the promise was an added “incentive comp” to Hopfinger’s already healthy, new, $190,000 per year salary to encourage him to stay in Alaska for a decade “as president of the company and help me make it work.”

The first witness called by Hopfinger’s attorney in a lawsuit demanding she pay up on a handwritten, signed and dated napkin-promise, Rogoff portrayed the note as nothing more than an effort to buy Hopfinger’s fealty because she needed him to make her newspaper enterprise succeed.

She admitted, however, that there are no witnesses to back this claim. The note was written while Rogoff and Hopfinger were in the offices of the Anchorage law firm Birch, Horton, Bittner and Cherot.  It was witnessed by Jennifer Alexander, one of the firm’s small army of attorneys.

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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

  • What does think of a law firm that says, “Oh, just go ahead and write that contract on a napkin. It will be fun for first year law students to talk about.?”

  • Should have put what money was for. Absence of that means just 100k a year, period. Don’t need a reason or stated purpose.

  • It is hard to understand being in a law office, and writing a promissory note on a napkin. The firm of Birch, Horton, Bittner and Cherot is a long established and well respected litigating business. What happened in this instance truly shows a lack of professional thinking. I certainly would not want to have Jennifer Alexander representing me if she allowed this “contract,” if it can be call that, to not be written up on the company’s letter head paper and recorded.

    • Could it be that she was trying to hustle both sides to make business? That goes on with lawyers a lot more than one might believe.

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