Baltimore Jewish Paper Ordered To Liquidate Assets

93-Year-Old Paper Vows To Press On

By JTA

Published March 18, 2012.
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A federal bankruptcy judge has ordered a trustee to run Alter Communications, the publishing firm of the Baltimore Jewish Times that was unable to reorganize under Chapter 11.

The 93-year-old newspaper, which says it has never missed an issue, could close by the end of the week, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Alter on Friday told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Nancy Alquist that WJW Group LLC, the publisher of the Washington Jewish Week, would make a formal offer for Alter’s assets by Monday and close the deal by Wednesday, allowing the Jewish Times to publish on time, the Baltimore Sun reported.

In an editorial Friday, the Baltimore Jewish Times wrote that it would go on.

“The Baltimore Jewish Times will be in subscribers’ mailboxes and on newsstands throughout the community on Friday, March 23, 2012, just as it has been every Friday for the past 93 years, despite a judge’s decision to appoint a trustee to handle the sale and distribution of the assets of its parent company, Alter Communications,” the editorial said.

“Alter has sufficient funds and receivables on the books to pay essential expenses and continue publishing while the trustee quickly arranges a sale to one of several potential buyers standing ready to acquire the company.”

Alter declared bankruptcy in April 2010 after the newspaper’s longtime printer, H.G. Roebuck & Son Inc., filed a $1.2 million lawsuit. Roebuck, concerned about Alter’s shaky financial position, had asked the judge to appoint the trustee. Alter has lost more than $430,000 in the past two months, the Sun reported.

Since 1996, Alter has sold off Jewish newspapers in Detroit, Atlanta, and Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Fla., as well as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Baltimore Jewish Times has a circulation of more than 50,000, as well as sister publications Style and Chesapeake Life.

“Although it is extremely difficult and sad for my family to give up the Jewish Times, we know that the JT, as well as the company and its employees, will be in good hands with any of the prospective buyers,” said publisher Andrew Buerger, whose family has owned the newspaper since its establishment. “It has taken the input, support and shared purpose of generations of Baltimore Jews to build this company and make the Jewish Times what it is, so its heritage ultimately does not belong to any one family; it belongs to the community.”


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