LIVE session coverage...
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.


* Deal outline begins to emerge
* Question of the day
* Rauner proposal funds abstinence education grants
* Social services implode as middle class shrinks
* Reporters are understandably freaking out about Chicago's violence
* IDPH director violated rules, judge declares, so med-mar coverage must include PTSD
* "It was as if a mini-Capitol had sprouted"
* Kirk slams Duckworth and "crooked Democratic machine in Springfield" which defended her
* A little late
* Group warns Rauner stopgap does "nothing" for human service provider contracts
* "The wasteland that is Illinois"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* *** LIVE *** Leaders meeting and session Coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Good morning!
* Stay tuned
* 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

  
* OK-Google.io – Interactive way to learn OK Google commands
* Galaxy S8 could also get Galaxy J2’s Smart Glow
* Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wave 2 could double speeds
* Carl Pei of OnePlus posts sketches of canceled smartwatch
* Drawing App 'Procreate Pocket' Available for Free Through Apple Store App
* Samsung could muster 40 million OLED panels for iPhones next year
* Pocketnow Challenge July: Best fireworks photo? You decide!

* Hit in 57 games, win $5.6 million
* 2016 Draft: Signing and bonus tracker
* Sox hold off Twins, net Shields 1st Chicago W
* Sprained wrist to sideline Melky 3 or 4 days
* Putnam hoping to avoid surgery on elbow
* Everything keeps coming back to Avisail Garcia
* White Sox shut out by Twins in opener

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


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

Archives
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
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


* Rauner, lawmakers nearing deal - The Herald-News..
* Illinois governor, lawmakers may be near budget.....
* Illinois governor, lawmakers nearing budget dea.....
* Rauner, lawmakers nearing budget deal - Fox 32 .....
* Illinois governor, leaders may be closing in on.....
* Illinois governor, lawmakers nearing budget dea.....
* Illinois governor, lawmakers nearing budget dea.....
* Rauner, lawmakers piecing together education fu.....
* Illinois governor, lawmakers nearing budget dea.....


* Illinois governor, lawmakers nearing budget deal
* Former Chicago fire official faces misdemeanor over crash
* Excerpts from editorials on Illinois' budget impasse
* Illinois newspapers tell Rauner, Democrats, 'Do Your Job'
* Illinois owes $82,000 in utility bills for Peoria
* Lawsuit filed by ex-officer against police chief dismissed
* Pet owners urged to protect pets during July 4 celebrations
* Money donated in bid to make Illinois site national park
* GOP, Democrats say progress made in Illinois budget talks
* Illinois lawmakers say progress made on stopgap budget

* Deal to fund schools, 6 months of state services nearing passage
* Illinois Republicans say deal close on six-month budget, school funding
* Illinois governor, leaders negotiating stopgap budget
* Follow live: Budget negotiations at the Illinois Capitol
* 'Daily Show' makes fun of Illinois budget situation
* State owes $82,000 in utility bills for Corrections facility in Peoria
* Carlinville train station upgrade dependent on state budget
* Governor, leaders say progress made on budget deal
* Deadrick Wolfer suspends House race vs. Scherer
* Higher education coalition urges full funding for both 2016, 2017

* Accretive Health restructuring plan cuts 41 employees
* Gannett's little digital deal has a takeaway for Tronc
* Here are details of that United labor deal
* McDonald's names Ogilvy's Colin Mitchell as global brand VP
* Citadel quadruples currency trading as Brexit spurs volume surge


* That’s more like it: Shields pitches White Sox past Twins
* Blast or gassed, Rizzo will take first inside-the-park homer
* Can Edwards be the impact power arm that bolsters Cubs’ bullpen?
* 2 teens shot in Austin
* Man shot multiple times near Clark and Division
* Man wounded in Near North Side shooting
* Brown: A tentative outline of stopgap budget stirs our souls?
* Man shot in Chatham
* LeBron James is a free agent, but he’s not leaving Cleveland
* Colts QB Andrew Luck signs $140 million extension


* Bulls figure to be bottom-feeders in NBA free agency
* James Shields finally shows up, gets standing ovation in White Sox victory
* Trump dares business to flee Republican Party
* Inside the Democratic Party's showdown over Israel-Palestine
* 'Tesla Solar' wants to be the Apple store for electricity
* Grizzly bear kills 38-year-old mountain biker near Glacier National Park
* United Airlines flight-attendant top pay to rise as much as 31 percent
* 2 dead, 4 injured in shootings on South, West and North sides
* Wednesday's recap: White Sox 9, Twins 6
* Gary Bettman says NHL is ready for its first gay player


* Deal to fund schools, 6 months of state services nearing passage
* Bernard Schoenburg: A break in the acrimony? Some OK signs
* Guest column: Congressional delegation must aid Illinois patients
* Eugene Robinson: Brexit's cautionary tale for Trump supporters
* George F. Will: The hinge of the Great War
* Illinois Republicans say deal close on six-month budget, school funding
* Follow live: Budget negotiations at the Illinois Capitol
* 'Daily Show' makes fun of Illinois budget situation
* State owes $82,000 in utility bills for Corrections facility in Peoria
* Enough: Illinois' budget standoff must be resolved


* MTD agrees to buy 5 buildings near terminal for $1.16 million
* Grentz reflects on death of icon
* Leman ready for turnaround
* UI hoops recruit glance: Nojel Eastern
* Glendale Commons expansion is "God-sent"
* For the homeless, Glendale Commons expansion is 'God-sent'
* Accident claims father, son
* Judge allows lawyer to leave case of state trooper accused of bribery
* PODCAST: 85-year-old Paul Magelli preps to climb Kilimanjaro
* FDA has a few questions for makers of hand sanitizer


* Chicago White Sox lose Cabrera for 3-4 games
* Donations sought for drowned Waukegan boy's funeral
* Shields takes another positive step for Chicago White Sox
* Future soccer stars learn from Red Stars in Libertyville
* Carol Stream Park District remembers longest-serving board member

* 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

* Illinois to get $17 million for HIV assist......

* Kirk Slams VA for Ignoring Veterans Crisis......

* Thomas More Society: Supreme Court views vital protection as "unnecessary"
* Republicans hopeful about budget deal
* Governor, Local Mayors Urge Passage of Stopgap Budget and Education Funding
* Former Jack Ryan campaign staffer signs on with Trump
* City Sums Up Montrose-Clarendon TIF
* Prager U: "Why Don't Feminists fight for Muslim Women?"
* Daily Show features Illinois' budget bickering
* Patriot TV Series Filming Near Wilson/Broadway; Parking Restrictions Wednesday-Thursday
* Exploiting terrorist fear, Illinois House Takes Up More Gun Control Legislation
* McCann breaks with GOP again to stand with SEIU daycare workers


* 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 -- CapitolFax.com Privacy Policy -- SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax -- Advertise Here -- Mobile Version -- Contact Rich Miller