MaineToday Media sued for $124k by paper company

November 4, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

Bangor Daily News | The Citizen’s Voice | The Portland Press Herald
A North Carolina paper company is suing MaineToday Media Inc., claiming the Portland Press Herald parent owes $124,000 for more than 300,000 pounds of glossy paper.

But the lawsuit from Charlotte, N.C.-based McGrann Paper Corp. buries the lede. A more explosive revelation than an unpaid bill is the allegation that MaineToday is effectively in the hands of a “restructuring” firm, which is making all its financial decisions.

Michael R. Sisak notes that the lawsuit identifies CRG Partners as a firm “that specializes in restructuring companies at or near collapse.” The lawsuit says CRG has been making all decisions about paying vendors since Oct. 12, and that McGrann has been unsuccessful trying to collect on its bills. (Sisak is a staff writer for The Citizen’s Voice, which competes with The Times Leader, owned by a MaineToday sibling company.)

McGrann’s suit was filed just days after MaineToday CEO Richard Connor — who engineered the 2009 purchase of the Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram and other papers from The Seattle Times Co. – announced he was retiring effective Dec. 31.

Connor, a former Fort Worth Star-Telegram publisher, said he was leaving to have more family time and make way for a new generation of leaders. But a story by Al Diamon suggested MaineToday board members were looking into how expenses were allocated between Connor’s Maine publisher and Impressions Media, which publishes The Times Leader and other Pennsylvania papers. MaineToday President Dale Duncan also resigned. His last day is today.

Both executive departures follow last month’s loss of 61 jobs at the Press Herald, most of them in the newsroom, with 38 involuntary layoffs and another 23 voluntary buyouts.

McGrann’s lawsuit says it delivered 154 tons of glossy paper suitable for printing inserts over the late summer, and was never paid. The company threatened to stop paper deliveries and, the suit says, was promised a partial payment of about half the $124,285 owed. McGrann kept shipping paper until, the lawsuit says, it received this Sept. 27 e-mail from MaineToday’s CFO, Patrick Sweeney: “I am not going to be able to maintain the commitment to pay 3 invoices this week. I just haven’t the cash on hand to manage it.” || Previous: MaineToday Media CEO departure clouded by speculation, confusion