SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
This just in… Sun-Times files for bankruptcy

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009

* 7:57 am - Sad news, but not unexpected, I suppose…

Sun-Times Media Group Inc., owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and many suburban newspapers, today voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the aim of reorganizing operations, settling a tax liability and making the company fit for a buyer.

The petition was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Chairman Jeremy Halbreich said the filing was a difficult decision but essential for the company “to re-establish itself as a self-sustaining, profitable operation. That is worth fighting for.”

His overriding goals are to sustain the company’s print and online news operations while “preserving as many jobs as possible,” he said.

The company has one significant creditor — the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has said Sun-Times Media Group owes up to $608 million in back taxes and penalties from past business practices by its former controlling owner, Conrad Black, now imprisoned for theft from corporate coffers.

Unlike other newspaper owners that have filed for bankruptcy amid steep dropoffs in advertising, including Chicago-based Tribune Co., Sun-Times Media Group has no bank debt. But its IRS debt thwarted efforts to raise new capital.

Halbreich said Sun-Times will continue talks with the IRS while implementing a “strong and impressive” business plan. It also will pursue a deal with buyers and has hired Rothschild Inc., which was involved in the bankruptcy of United Airlines’ owner, to field offers.

Several potential buyers have approached Halbreich since he took over Feb. 10 as chairman and interim chief executive, he said. “We’re very confident that there’s going to be some interest here,” he said. “We intend to start that process immediately.”

The company claims it has “sufficient financial resources” to continue its day-to-day operations.

* Sun-Times Media Group CEO’s letter to readers

To Our Valued Readers:

Today our corporate parent, Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. and certain of its affiliates voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This action begins a legal and financial process that is designed to protect our Company’s brands, stabilize our business and create a brighter future for all of our stakeholders, including our news organizations, advertisers, employees, and you our valued readers.

Please be assured that this action does NOT mean the Company or our newspapers or online sites are going out of business. We will continue to publish and operate our newspapers and corresponding online sites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, the SouthtownStar, Beacon News (Aurora), Courier-News (Elgin), Herald News (Joliet), Lake County News-Sun (Waukegan), Naperville Sun, and Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Ind.); our weeklies published by Pioneer Press and Fox Valley Publications; our free shoppers and content on corresponding online sites, including YourSeason.com and Rogerebert.com.

If you are a subscriber to any of our publications, your newspaper will continue to be delivered as it is today, and you will still get the great mix of news, sports, features and opinion that you count on in each edition. Like many U.S. companies today and like many other newspaper companies across the country, Sun-Times Media Group has faced significant declines in revenue. This process will help us to better address these challenges and ultimately work toward strengthening our commitment to remaining the Chicago area’s best, most reliable and most distinguished source of news and information for our readers.

Sun-Times Media Group intends to move through the Chapter 11 process as quickly as possible, and expects that the process will be completed in 2009.

In the coming weeks, we will be keeping you informed through our Web site thesuntimesgroup.com. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I would like to thank you for your business and support during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Jeremy L. Halbreich

Chairman of the Board
Interim Chief Executive Officer

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:09 am:

    The IRS should just wiave this money; Why drive all hese people out of work during a recession over the past practices of a jailed corrupt owner.

    Rich, time to buy the Times :)


  2. - anon50 - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:10 am:

    If American citizens were operating the way these corporations are nowadays, everything but the clothes on a person’s back would be seized by the IRS. It is absolutely unbelievable that the board of directors for the Sun-Times didn’t know that Conrad Black was operating this way. You get to the point you get tired of making excuses and forgiving these people. Then needs to be some stiff penalties, like serious jail time, for other executives besides Mr. Black because you can’t tell me they didn’t know about this. Where was the Sun-Times CFO?

    The IRS nor the federal government can expect everyday citizens to continue to abide by the law, if corporations keep getting a pass. The little people can’t keep bearing the burden in America; it’s time for some real reform and change. It’s just unbelievable, unbelievable!


  3. - Leroy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:13 am:

    Ghost - Why should a single working mother of two, living just above the poverty line, have to subsidize corporate theft by having the IRS waive owed taxes by the Sun-Times Media Group?

    Do we have to bail EVERYONE out?


  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:25 am:

    Do we have to bail EVERYONE out?

    Yes, and have the gub’mint own it. Fire Jeremy L. Halbreich, but not before he collects a $20 million bonus.


  5. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:41 am:

    Leroy, a single working mother of two just above the poverty line pays no taxes and gets money back from the government. So she is being subsidized.

    How is waiveing tax debt a subsidy? What about the 40 single moms wth kids who depend on the sun times for their livielihood who will be unemployed, or the hundred of families who need those jobs in order to feed and lcoth themselves.

    The country is in a recession, should the governemnt be driving a viable buisness out while trying to prop up failed business?


  6. - Redbright - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:43 am:

    What is the IRS’s ability to negotiate long-term payments? I think they (and every other person/organization) should pay their full taxes but the bankruptcy process should allow for very long term payments of large amounts.

    It would be better for the US for the CST to pay off their debt (plus inflation) over 50-100 years than to pay a significantly lower amount now. It may well be that the IRS does not have the legal tools to do this without legislative or regulatory action.


  7. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:49 am:

    I don’t know if Tim Geitner would understand how challenging it is to pay back taxes.


  8. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:53 am:

    Not to be too cynical, but it’s probably a good thing for the Sun-Times (which I think is a great paper, I subscribe to, and wish nothing but the best) that it’s now liberal and not the neocon voice it was under Conrad Black. If nothing else, it can’t hurt!


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 8:56 am:

    Lord Black was the worst thing to ever happen to the Sun-Times. Even The Alien was far better than him. At least Murdoch didn’t rob the paper blind.

    I agree that the former board of directors should have some culpability here. The problem is that the paper has new leadership, a bolder, more honest business approach, a leaner, meaner staff, but as long as they have this IRS debt over their heads they’ll never be able to move forward. Black should pay it.


  10. - Justice - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:04 am:

    Perhaps the people at GM and Chrysler should take a cue from The Sun Times and file for Chapter 11. It’s a shame that the Sun Times biggest creditor is the government. Something is seriously skewed here. The feds prop up companies who couldn’t possibly succeed and let those who could succeed, fail.


  11. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:13 am:

    It is sad to see such an institution encounter bad times. It is worse for the people who have worked to make the paper what it is today be given the boot as thanks for all their hard work. The reality is that the organization is suffering from financial crimes committed by their leadership.

    It is incomprehensible to me that more people did not know about the looting of the paper by Lord Black and his cohorts. Certainly their Board of Directors had to know what was going on. There should be more scrutiny of their behavior and a restitution of the money they took while they allowed the assets of their company to be plundered.


  12. - Concerned Observer - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:14 am:

    Black should pay it, Rich is right.

    But, since that’s unlikely, I’d like to see the IRS negotiate it down to some workable number. That $680M is gone, and not coming back.

    Make it $300M, set up a payment plan, and hold them to it. If they don’t meet their requirements, THEN you worry about closing them down.


  13. - MrJM - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:23 am:

    Con Black’s malfeasance is just the type of behavior that should lead the IRS to “pierce the corporate veil” and go after Lord and Lady Black’s personal assets to settle the newspaper’s debt.

    It might not save the S-T, but it would be nice to see it ruin the Blacks.

    – MrJM


  14. - Chicago Guy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:25 am:

    The judge who let “Lord” Black off so lightly ought to be impeached. Black destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of people and will have taken away the leading investigative journal in the nation’s second most important city. He got a slap on the wrist compared to the damage he did.


  15. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 9:26 am:

    So sorry Rich. Yes, Lord Black should pay for it, but how hard would be to find all the hidden funds he took?
    This affects so many jobs, from delivery, to printing, to of course all the writers,and other staff. Not to mention all the suppliers/vendors of ink, paper, service for equipment & vehicles, vehicles, insurers, etc. The Suntimes Media group is something like 59 local news publications in Chicagoland alone? This is horrific.


  16. - Bobs yer - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:12 am:

    US Gov will able to drive the reorganization. Fact of no bank debt is huge. EBDIT is probably fine, which means they are a viable candidate for reorganization.

    I’ve always been a trib guy (at least until Zell wrecked it and took it BK), but no denying CST has been in the lead in investigative reporting for the last 10 years (see: e.g. Hired Truck). We need to keep those reporters working. And the feds need to start tracking and recovering the money that was squeezed out. Black et al didn’t burn it…it’s in real estate and business investments around the world.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 7:45 pm:

    I suspect the former audit committee chair, Big Jim, is unavailable for comment.


  18. - stiffedbySunTimes - Monday, Apr 20, 09 @ 10:14 am:

    How many other subscribers have been stiffed by this corporation? They stopped publishing my local paper and offered me a refund on my subscription. When I deposited the check it was refused and I lost that money and was charged a $19 returned check fee by my bank. I have called them once a week for four weeks, got voicemail, left messages and no response. No wonder they are in trouble.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x2 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: 130-page oppo dump on Rep. Ken Dunkin's past
* Hey, he's just doin' what he said he'd do
* This Just In: Exelon Announces More $$$$ For Shareholders, Higher 2015 Profits And Still Seeks Bailout
* "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please"
* *** UPDATED x2 - Stratton responds - IllinoisGO checking the facts *** "Mug shot" mailer hits Ken Dunkin
* Credit Unions – A Smarter Choice!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Money, Endorsements, Muñoz, Farnham
* *** UPDATED x1 *** State to close Kewanee youth center
* Today's political videos
* *** UPDATED x2 - Duckworth doubles down - But what about Kirk's Rahm endorsement? *** Because... Rahm!
* As expected, Rauner endorses McCann opponent
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Dunkin mailers, Alvarez poll results and xtabs, etc.
* Pot, meet kettle
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* Alcatel OneTouch Ride-Fi hotspot available through Sprint
* Get faster data transfer and charging with MuConnect
* Visa’s Square disclosure raises questions
* Google waves goodbye to Picasa to focus on Google Photos
* Galaxy Note 6 spec rumors already incoming, suggest lofty 6GB of RAM
* MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Tech Travel Vest From AyeGear
* Tap, click, and tap to get more loot and powerful items in Clicker Pirates

* White Sox reportedly considering Desmond
* Lefty-heavy rotation not a concern
* Melky: White Sox must play like family to contend
* White Sox remodel in big way this offseason
* White Sox ink Ishikawa to Minor League deal
* White Sox sign righty Latos to 1-year deal
* White Sox sign Mat Latos for one year, $3 million

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* The Latest: Closing Kewaunee juvenile center co.....
* Rauner appoints Holder to ESBR - The Randolph C.....
* Meet Madigan Challenger: Jason Gonzales - WLS..
* Governor announces appointments - RiverBender.com..
* Governor Rauner announces recipients of 2016 Or.....
* The Latest: Closing Kewaunee juvenile center co.....
* The Latest: Closing Kewaunee juvenile center co.....
* The Latest: Closing Kewaunee juvenile center co.....
* Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says closing.....
* The Latest: Closing Kewaunee juvenile center co.....


* The Latest: Legislator says Kewanee plan is 'opportunity'
* Illinois to close youth correctional facility in Kewanee
* Illinois roads could benefit from potential $84.7M windfall
* AP Interview: Police shooting spurs state agency changes
* Illinois governor's mansion renovation gets $1M in donations
* Ray LaHood, NPR host among Order of Lincoln award winners
* Chicago-area priest charged with sexual abusing 2 children
* Illinois youth soccer group bans hitting ball with head
* SIU small business center to close due to no Illinois budget
* EXCHANGE: Richwoods swim team includes 4 sets of brothers

* Gov. Rauner endorses Bryce Benton in Illinois Senate race
* Illinois roads could benefit from potential $84.7 million windfall
* Ray LaHood, NPR host among Order of Lincoln award winners
* Rauner closing youth correctional facility in Kewanee
* $45M and counting for $315M rail consolidation project
* Lawmakers making second attempt to send AFSCME talks to arbitrator
* President Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Presidential visit notebook: Obama doesn't like horseshoes?

* Here's where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is selling his amazing rug collection
* A family defends its honor after settling lawsuit over its failed bank
* Autopsy reports found from 1929 Valentine's Day massacre
* Beam Suntory plotting headquarters move to Chicago
* This U of C backed startup makes it easy to split the bill on almost anything


* The stage is almost set for the Blackhawks’ Stadium Series game
* Blackhawks hoping to get Artemi Panarin back for Ducks game
* Blackhawks will have their first-ever game broadcast in Spanish
* Mailer dubs Rep. Ken Dunkin criminal and ‘deadbeat dad’
* Linda Yu’s daughter, Francesca Baer, on Friday’s ‘Hawaii 5-O’
* Emanuel downplays police controvery
* Blackhawks will have their first-ever game broadcast in Spanish
* Tales from the Front: When you’re cheap on first date, don’t count on a second
* Watch the Johnny Oduya tribute video from Thursday’s Blackhawks game
* Oxford’s savage upper-crust boys wreak havoc in ‘Posh’


* Driver killed in Huntley rollover tied to earlier crash of another vehicle
* Bond set at $50,000 for priest accused of molesting girls in Aurora
* Marina City landmark status welcome, long overdue
* Man charged in kidnapping, carjacking, shooting at mall awaits verdict
* Record number of riders take 'L' but bus use slips in 2015, CTA says
* Matt Forte says Bears won't re-sign him, ending 8-year Chicago career
* Milwaukee man found guilty of taking girl to Chicago area for prostitution
* Wife of Hinsdale man killed in DUI crash seeks leniency for driver


* Gov. Rauner endorses Bryce Benton in Illinois Senate race
* Illinois roads could benefit from potential $84.7 million windfall
* Ray LaHood, NPR host among Order of Lincoln award winners
* Rauner closing youth correctional facility in Kewanee
* $45M and counting for $315M rail consolidation project
* Lawmakers making second attempt to send AFSCME talks to arbitrator
* President Obama returns to his political roots, connects with past friends, supporters
* Our View: Illinois officials should heed Obama's call for civility, compromise
* Bill aims to create foundation to raise private money for state fairgrounds
* Bernard Schoenburg: State GOP past $250,000 in support for Rep. Avery Bourne


* Driver in fatal crash pleads guilty to DUI
* Tom's #Mailbag, Feb. 12, 2015
* Tom's #Mailbag, Feb. 12, 2016
* Urbana man charged with burglary
* Illini Preview: Wildcats using depth effectively
* Pair charged after drugs, weapons found
* Teen charged in connection with Urbana burglary
* Police shooting spurs state agency changes
* 02-12-16 Penny for Your Thoughts.
* Illinois gets extension to determine flooding damage


* Obstacles abound in prosecution of Texas priest in cold case
* Stage version of 'Frozen' to kick off in Denver in 2017
* New York City officials decide it's too cold for ice fest
* Autopsy: Slain New Jersey sex worker possibly strangled
* Over and out: Some MLB teams open with little playoff shot

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin, wicker say next Amtrak CEO should ......
* Roger That: Durbin battles McCain over Rus......

* Sen. Mark Kirk Says Rep. Tammy Duckworth I......
* Illinoisans Urge Kirk To Take Lead On Cons......
* Kirk calls Duckworth a “naive fool.” - WLS...

* Maskel finds rewarding ways to help his community
* Illinoisans Urge Kirk To Take Lead On Conservation Issues
* Brad Schneider Makes DCCC's 'Red-To-Blue' List
* Budget Impasse To Force Closure Of SIU Small Business Center
* CPS Reports Declines In Out-Of-School Suspensions, Expulsions
* Lincoln Park High School Students Stage Walkout Over Budget Cuts
* IAR offices closed Monday for Presidents’ Day
* State Senator talks flood prevention with Grundy County residents and REALTORS®
* Three Rivers members partner with Joliet and community organizations to promote home ownership
* REALTORS® Hear Another Chapter in Black History


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller