Settlement reached in Alaska Dispatch News bankruptcy case

Alice Rogoff, the former owner and publisher of Alaska Dispatch News, is set to pay a settlement in the case of the company's bankruptcy.

A settlement agreement filed in court last week between Rogoff, the bankruptcy trustee and Northrim Bank shows Rogoff will pay $1.5 million, plus interest, to the trustee for the benefit of the Alaska Dispatch News estate.

"With regard to the best interests of creditors, the settlement provides a substantial recovery to unsecured creditors from an estate that currently has no assets to distribute and no substantial assets to sell," a motion to approve the settlement said.

Alaska Dispatch News filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2017. The Binkley family of Fairbanks bought Alaska Dispatch News in the bankruptcy process and changed the name of the state's largest news operation back to Anchorage Daily News.

The case has since been converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for the trustee to try to recover money for the creditors.

[Sale of Alaska Dispatch News to Binkley group is approved by judge]

Asserted claims from creditors in the bankruptcy top $7 million, said Christine Tobin-Presser, special counsel for the trustee in the case. Just because there are claims for that amount doesn't mean they've all been approved by the court, she added.


Among the largest creditors on that list are telecommunications company GCI, M&M Wiring Service Inc. and a company called Arctic Partners.

It's still unclear exactly how much each of the unsecured creditors in the case will get from the settlement.

"Nobody ever gets paid 100 percent because otherwise a company wouldn't be filing bankruptcy," Tobin-Presser said. "But certainly creditors are going to get far more than they would had we not reached a settlement."

The settlement agreement also means the trustee in the case won't pursue Northrim Bank for payments that were made to the bank on Rogoff's behalf during the time that she owned the news operation, Tobin-Presser said.

[Alaska Dispatch News bankruptcy sheds light on distressed company's finances]

Rogoff also agreed to waive her claim for $16.6 million of money she had furnished to Alaska Dispatch News, according to last week's court filing.

Per the agreement, Rogoff will also be the owner of the website names and other intellectual property used for operating the sites Arctic Now and Arctic Today.

The settlement still needs to be approved by the court.

Rogoff has also been involved in other court cases recently. A lawsuit filed against her in 2016 by former Alaska Dispatch News president and editor Tony Hopfinger is set to go to trial.

Hopfinger alleges that Rogoff didn't pay him money he says was promised to him. According to that suit, she wrote on a cocktail napkin: "I agree to pay Tony $100K at end of each calendar year (beginning '14) for 10 years."

Rogoff is also listed in state court records as a third-party defendant in a suit filed by M&M Wiring Service in 2017, related to electrical work done at a location on Arctic Boulevard that Alaska Dispatch News had planned for a printing operation. In September, Rogoff was dismissed as a third-party defendant in that case.

This story has been updated to reflect that Rogoff was dismissed as a third-party defendant in the M&M lawsuit.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.