Business

Dean Singleton: Reports that MediaNews Group-related bankruptcy pact could be derailed not good News for Post publisher

After the Rocky Mountain News closed a year ago, the Denver Daily News published a headline reading "We're a 2-Daily Town."

It was the scrappy publication's way of saying to the Denver Post, "Don't forget about us." Not that such a thing would be possible given the News' recent reportage about MediaNews Group, the Post's parent company, which is run by publisher Dean Singleton.

The latest? A report about objections to the recent bankruptcy filing by Affiliated Media, MediaNews Group's holding company.

Word of the filing went public in mid-January, with early reports suggesting that the prepackaged nature of the bankruptcy ensured smooth sailing.

But shortly thereafter, the News drew back the curtain on the process, revealing that MediaNews had asked a judge to order Qwest, its phone and Internet provider, not to pull the plug on it during the bankruptcy process -- and to give it permission not to print "Debtor-in-Possession" on its checks.

And today, the News has another scoop, disclosing that three creditors have filed objections to the bankruptcy plan in advance of a Thursday hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, before a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge. The parties in question: Greenco Inc., a subsidiary of the Tribune Company; Bank of New York Mellon; and Larry Wolfe, the landlord for MediaNews' L.A. property, the Los Angeles Daily News.

According to the News, any of these entities "could ignite... a court battle where the Denver-based newspaper chain... is forced to defend its plans to give creditors $165 million in equity in exchange for $930 million in debut. In other words, they'd get about 18 cents on the dollar."

If problems arise in the case, the article goes on, "it could threaten a $500,000 bonus MediaNews President Jody Lodovic was promised if the bankruptcy plan is approved. Documents in the case show that Lodovic could get as much as $2.25 million this year while chief executive Singleton is in line to get $1.49 million."

Thanks to info like this, Singleton and the rest of the Post/MediaNews Group braintrust won't be forgetting about the Denver Daily News anytime soon.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts