Creditors’ claims could sink Alaska Dispatch News deal, buyers say
The family slated to spearhead a purchase of the state’s largest newspaper defended its proposed financing of the deal in court filings Thursday, saying the paper only has weeks’ worth of pay remaining for employees and that the roughly $1 million purchase won’t occur if other creditors can recover their money from the paper first.
The new documents were filed ahead of a Thursday hearing in federal Bankruptcy Court for the Alaska Dispatch News, which entered Chapter 11 proceedings last weekend. Representatives from the Binkley Company, which has stepped forward in a potential deal to buy the paper, as well as ADN creditors including GCI, KTVA’s parent company, were slated to attend.
The proposed deal is intended to keep the ADN alive beyond the tenure of current owner Alice Rogoff, who purchased and renamed the Anchorage Daily News for $34 million in 2014. A federal trustee in the ADN’s bankruptcy has already objected to some initial moves in the potential purchase,saying the lack of notification to other parties makes the Binkleys “insiders” in the transaction rather than arm’s-length potential investors.
Erik LeRoy, representing the Binkley siblings as potential buyers of the paper, said Thursday that their company would not provide a crucial loan to the paper unless it could recover those funds ahead of other creditors’ roughly $2.5 million in total claims. Among those claims, GCI is seeking at least $1.4 million in back rent from an expired lease to house the ADN’s printing press in the old Anchorage Daily News building on Northway Drive.
“To make this very clear, the Binkley Company is not prepared to loan more than $1,000,000.00 to the [ADN] and that loan has to be secured by a [super priority lien],” LeRoy wrote in a court filing Thursday. “That means the [ADN’s] sale has to be approved by September 20 because it is in that week that the [ADN] no longer has funds to meet its September 23 payroll.”
Creditor Arctic Partners LLC, which claims it’s owed rent for July and August plus more than $600,000 in mechanical work at the Arctic Boulevard facility where Rogoff had planned to install new presses for the paper, filed an objection to the Binkleys’ proposed loan agreement.
A filing from Cabot Christianson, representing Rogoff, said that the paper had reached an “agreement with Northrim (Bank) concerning the use of cash collateral,” which was subject to documentation and other conditions. Details were pending at Thursday afternoon’s hearing.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Steffi Lee contributed information to this story.