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Newsonomics: GateHouse’s new round of layoffs fits the sad logic of the coming consolidation
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Oct. 7, 2014, 10:47 a.m.
LINK: blogs.ocweekly.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   October 7, 2014

Aaron Kushner bought the Orange County Register in June 2012. It apparently took him less than a year to start having trouble paying his bills.

The Los Angeles Times, which had been contracted to deliver the Register to subscribers, says the Register owes them more than $3.5 million (via OC Weekly) in missed payments.

It wasn’t until November 2013, when it became clear Kushner was having trouble finding the capital to buy the Riverside Press-Enterprise, that his money troubles reached the broader public. (Those troubles have since blossomed into layoffs, cutbacks, unpaid furloughs, and vague dog-ate-my-homework statements about payroll processors.) But the Times’ statement says the trouble began even earlier:

In April 2013, OCR first missed a payment deadline under its agreement with The Times.

By February 2014, the outstanding amount past due had grown to almost $2 million and, by mid-May, the past due amount was more than $2.5 million.

In late May, OCR agreed to a payment plan with The Times whereby OCR would pay down past due amounts.

In June, OCR made one payment on the plan. Since then, it has made no further payments on the plan.

No one would claim that the stretch from June 2012 to April 2013 was a particularly great one for newspapers. But nonetheless, that Register was unable to pay its bills that quickly is further evidence the deal was screwy from the start.

The talk used to be about what newspaper Kushner would buy next; it’s probably time to start wondering who’ll own the Register next.

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