Washington Times Nears Sale, Wins Dismissal of Forced Bankruptcy in Court

Bloomberg News/October 29, 2010

The Washington Times LLC is close to being sold, the newspaper's publisher said in court papers that successfully sought to avert a forced bankruptcy.

Should "an impending sale of the membership interests" of Washington Times succeed, the company would get $3.1 million in cash to pay creditors, lawyers for the publisher said in papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Washington.

The company, based in Washington, didn't disclose any other details about the proposed sale.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge S. Martin Teel Jr. dismissed an involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against The Washington Times by Richard A. Steinbronn, a fired officer of an affiliate, who claimed the company owed two other affiliates $2 million and therefore should be under court protection. The proposed sale was disclosed on Oct. 25 in court papers seeking dismissal of Steinbronn's petition.

Steinbronn, a former director of Times Aerospace International LLC, said in the filing he was "wrongfully terminated from various positions in early 2009."

The Washington Times' daily circulation is 38,587 and it employs 128 people, according to court filings. Readership has fallen from last year, when circulation fell 17 percent to 67,148 in the six months ending 2009, the most recent data available from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That compares with declines of 6.4 percent at the Washington Post in the period, and 11 percent industrywide.

A spokesman for News World Communications Inc., the owner of the Washington Times, couldn't be reached for comment.

The Washington Times was founded by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church.

The case is In re Washington Times LLC 10-01041, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Columbia.

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