Pub­lisher of Alaska’s largest news­pa­per sued for $1.4m

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The pub­lisher of Alaska’s largest news­pa­per is be­ing sued over nearly $1.4 mil­lion in un­paid rent and other fees on the pa­per’s former head­quar­ters, which still houses the print­ing press. The civil law­suit filed Fri­day in An­chor­age by Alaska ca­ble com­pany GCI is the lat­est le­gal bat­tle for Alaska Dis­patch News pub­lisher Alice Ro­goff, wife of bil­lion­aire fi­nancier David Ruben­stein. Ro­goff backed a news web­site to com­pete with the An­chor­age Daily News be­fore buy­ing the news­pa­per for $34 mil­lion in 2014. She re­named the print pub­li­ca­tion the Alaska Dis­patch News.

GCI pur­chased the news­pa­per’s former build­ing around the same time, and the news­pa­per of­fices moved to an­other An­chor­age lo­ca­tion. Ro­goff didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on the law­suit, which also names Alaska Dis­patch News LLC and AK Pub­lish­ing LLC. But KTUU re­ported that Ro­goff is­sued a writ­ten state­ment Fri­day af­ter­noon, say­ing GCI’s le­gal ac­tion is “ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate” and events lead­ing to that point have been “ex­tremely com­plex.” Ro­goff said there was never any bad faith on the part of the news­pa­per, adding that the goal has al­ways been to keep the news­pa­per alive and “ro­bust for the sake of our read­ers and the com­mu­nity.”

“Our goal re­mains un­changed and we are in ac­tive dis­cus­sions to­ward that end,” Ro­goff said. “Until the dis­cus­sions are con­cluded, we are un­able to pro­vide any de­tails. Please know that busi­ness dis­putes arise from many causes and are never one-sided.” GCI seeks more than $1 mil­lion in dam­ages and eviction of the print­ing equip­ment. The com­pany says in its 14-page law­suit that the orig­i­nal agree­ment called for the de­fen­dants to va­cate the ware­house nearly two years ago. But it worked with the news­pa­per by rene­go­ti­at­ing leases and ac­cept­ing ad­ver­tis­ing cred­its in some cases. That agree­ment called for a holdover rent equal to 250 per­cent of the base rent.

The law­suit says de­fen­dants breached their con­tract with GCI in sev­eral ways, in­clud­ing fail­ure to make pay­ments as re­quired since mid-De­cem­ber, cit­ing cash flow prob­lems, as well as fail­ing to va­cate GCI’s ware­house premises. GCI spokes­woman Heather Handy­side said the com­pany had no choice but to seek le­gal ac­tion af­ter ef­forts to be sup­port­ive and pa­tient in find­ing a res­o­lu­tion. “This is just a re­flec­tion of our feel­ing that we have ex­hausted all of our op­tions,” she said. “We don’t be­lieve we re­ally have any other op­tions left than to ask the court to help us pur­sue this.” Ro­goff is fac­ing other le­gal bat­tles. — AP

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