Sunday, June 19, 2016

Partnering with Mrs. Rubenstein Distatsteful

The Alaska Dispatch News reported on a lawsuit against its owner Alice Rogoff-Rubenstein:

The former president and editor of Alaska Dispatch News has filed a lawsuit against Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC and its owner, Alice Rogoff, asserting she failed to pay money he says was promised to him.
Tony Hopfinger now lives in Chicago and hasn't been involved in the operations of the newspaper since the end of 2015. The suit was filed on Wednesday in state Superior Court in Anchorage. 
Hopfinger co-founded the news website Alaska Dispatch in 2008 with his then-wife Amanda Coyne. Rogoff purchased a majority of Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC in 2009, and Hopfinger and Coyne each retained 5 percent of the company. 
Hopfinger asserts he did not wish to retain his 5% ownership of the company when Rogoff sought to buy the Anchorage Daily News from McClatchy.  

Hopfinger approached Rogoff to discuss the buyout in April 2014, the suit says. That's when, it continues, Rogoff wrote a promise to Hopfinger on a cocktail napkin that read: "I agree to pay Tony $100K at end of each calendar year (beginning '14) for 10 years. 
Buying someone's equity stake is different than paying them a salary for services provided. 

Hopfinger's employment contract, attached in court records, shows his annual salary was $190,000.
The question is now does Mr. Hopfinger's 5% equity stake fit in the complex corporate structure Rogoff likely learned from her PEU husband?

A company called AK Publishing LLC now owns Alaska Dispatch News' assets, and is entirely owned by Rogoff through another company called The Moon and the Stars LLC.
Rogoff is married to billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group.
Alaska Dispatch News did not report their paper is bleeding cash  Nor did it mention their $700,000 lawsuit against McClathy for not fulfilling contractual commitments in the sale of the Anchorage Daily News to Rogoff's Alaska Dispatch

Rogoff's lawyer characterized Hopfinger's lawsuit as:

“On June 15, 2016, Tony Hopfinger, former executive editor and president of the Alaska Dispatch News, filed suit against Alice Rogoff and Alaska Dispatch Publishing, LLC, a now-defunct online news outlet."
Oddly, the "now defunct online news outlet" has the $700,000 lawsuit against McClatchy 

Rogoff shouldn't be able to have it both ways.  However she's married to a master of the PEU world where greed and power rule.  Language and law are something to be distorted in their favor.