Patterico's Pontifications

12/8/2008

L.A. Times Discontinues Payments to Former Staffers

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:51 pm

Wow. Ex-L.A. Times staffers are seeing their severance package payments discontinued until further notice. From an internal Q&A:

All ongoing severance payments, deferred compensation and other payments to former employees have been discontinued and will be the subject of later proceedings before the Court.

Ouch. Kevin Roderick says: “Talk about kicking them while they’re down.”

That really sucks, and I’m quite serious. Some of my favorite L.A. Times staffers are former L.A. Times staffers.

30 Responses to “L.A. Times Discontinues Payments to Former Staffers”

  1. The former employees need to move to Illinois, where Gov. Blagojevich, Baracky, Jesse Jackson and Rep. Schakowsky will make sure that some bank is forced to loan money to the company to pay these people their wages.

    JD (059bab)

  2. The saying: “He who has the gold makes the rules” has a corollary that goes “He without any money at all makes new rules that we all have to follow.” The LA Times is broke, as is the New York Times and possibly the Washington Post, Atlanta Constitution and others. Times are changing. You can get eye glasses for blind people but then what?

    howard432 (cc8b85)

  3. Mark my words, they are positioning themselves for a bailout. It’s “for the children …er, journalists.”

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  4. I was just thinking the same thing. When are we going to have the bailout for the MSM? If Bush would propose that, the Left would go apeshit.

    JD (059bab)

  5. If they had the cash to make the payments, they might be considered preference payments under the bankruptcy code and subject to clawback in any event.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  6. They should know better. When dealing with crooks, always get your money up front.

    Kelly T. (8ef5b9)

  7. Ditto #6…
    They should have known they were making a deal with a failing enterprise,
    and that any future considerations were flying on a hope and a dream.

    Another Drew (e451ab)

  8. This won’t prompt cancellations among the LAT’s liberal audience. That says more than any story they’ve ever published I think.

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  9. They only care about the little guy, the working man, in theory, happyfeet.

    JD (059bab)

  10. they should copy those union geniuses in Illinois and stage a sit down/take over strike of the Times building……

    redc1c4 (27fd3e)

  11. I would love to know how the Cubs were not a part of the filing. Do other corporations get to exclude assets when they file for bankruptcy protection?

    Ed (957a32)

  12. It might be that the Cubs are considered a seperate business entity with their own cash-flow, and while thus “owned” by the company they really aren’t a “oart” of the company.

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  13. Clearly no bankruptcy practitioners writing for this site.

    Once a bankruptcy filing is made, severance and similar unilateral obligations cannot be paid without permission of the bankruptcy court. Typically the bankruptcy court will allow modest severance payments, but big amounts, like that owed Mark Willes, will be treated like any other unsecured debt.

    As for #11, the Cubs are a subsidiary of Tribune. If the Cubs have no major debt, then the shares or equity interests in the Cubs are treated like any other property of the debtor. Usually the debt is at the holding company level, so it is often the case that a healthy subsidiary of a bankrupt holding company will not be put into Chapter 11 so that it can be more easily sold.

    Cyrus Sanai (aa741d)

  14. Clearly no bankruptcy practitioners writing for this site.

    It is the end of times…

    We actually found something for which you are useful.

    Stay there. I’ll call the people at Guinness…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  15. Cyrus Sanai– Well said. Once they’re in bankruptcy, they cant buy a barrel of ink without bankruptcy court approval. I dont think the day to day staff at the paper realize the full ramifactions of this yet. They’ll save the Chicago Tribune but the LA Times has had it. The best coal stokers at the White Star Line kept the boilers fired on Titanic but the management still hit the berg and sank it. Memo to LA Times staffers- get topside and abandon ship.

    DCSCA (d8da01)

  16. “Once a bankruptcy filing is made, severance and similar unilateral obligations cannot be paid without permission of the bankruptcy court. Typically the bankruptcy court will allow modest severance payments, but big amounts, like that owed Mark Willes, will be treated like any other unsecured debt.”

    What in the hell are the auto companies afraid of? This alone would cure many of their ails, yes?

    Oh and it might also remove the UAW as an entity designed to suck money like racketeers usually do as well.

    Oh and BTW, Dodd must have baseball sized nads to suggest that old blood needs to move on eh? Even if he is right, he fails to focus on himself and his bedfellows as the real cause of most problems this nation faces today.

    TC (0b9ca4)

  17. Clearly no bankruptcy practitioners writing for this site.

    And apparently, not too many who understand corporate finance. The Tribune didn’t declare bankruptcy because its businesses are losing money (nor did it do so because of its liberal bias), it did so because its operating profits of the group (shrinking as they are, and which exclude debt service and restructuring charges such as for layoffs) are insufficient to meet the loan covenants and cover the debt service on the billions of buyout debt (put another way, there wouldn’t have been a filing had Zell not loaded the company up with billions of debt).

    Zell gets breathing room and keeps the banks from seizing collateral. He’ll continue to try to sell assets (such as the Cubs) to pay down the debt to a more manageable level (his plan all along). The current shareholders (the ESOP) will probably be wiped out, with the creditors receiving equity in exchange for the debt.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  18. [...] Cuts to buyouts? “That really sucks, and I’m quite serious. Some of my favorite L.A. Times staffers are former L.A. Times staffers.” [...]

    Jules Crittenden » T.P. (98837e)

  19. DCSCA wrote:

    Memo to LA Times staffers- get topside and abandon ship.

    Yeah; McDonald’s is still hiring!

    The Dana who reads the Philadelphia Inquirer (3e4784)

  20. Man. I really feel for these people. For these people and the window people and everyone. I hate seeing people lose their jobs, and it would be so scary to see your income cut off.

    MayBee (4a9480)

  21. Maybee, some of this is necessary to happen for many reasons, and I think one reason is that TOO MANY PEOPLE think the world “owes” them a job in the profession they want, rather than those of us who go out and seek the job we want, and then be successful enough at it that we make our job work for us, rather than the company just pay us.

    I hope that came out right….

    I once read the Times-Pick-your-nose in New Orleans, but, have literally stopped reading the printed copy, and done what little I still do on line, because they are just not worth the 50 or so cents a day of reading….circulation is way down, because the paper does not write about what happens in New Orleans, but hammers the surrounding areas, which pisses off those who live in those areas….there is a direct “class envy” of those areas by the publishers/writers, so, why read that….the important news can be gotten elsewhere….

    reff (b996d9)

  22. …. and now the Gov of Illinois!

    Great day for Conservatives.

    Da'Shiznit (089453)

  23. Blago led off in handcuffs by FBI agents early this morning – couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. The GOP, Dems – they’re all farkin’ crooks here, since they’ve been in bed together for many years at this point. Other than NJ, one of the saddest states in the union.

    Dmac (e30284)

  24. This comment was left on another thread:

    I wonder if the Feds could argue now, with so many corruption events identified, that the government of Illinois is an “ongoing criminal enterprise”

    If only.

    Dmac (e30284)

  25. There is a Fitzmis, just for a different set of people this year.

    Another Drew (0c4ac4)

  26. Zell loading Trib Co with debt is only part of the problem. Contracting revenies are another part. There are many causes of the contracting revenues but they include:

    1. Newspapers’ (not just LAt/TribCo) failure to react to competition. Think Craigslist.

    2. The real estate bubble predictably bursting, eliminating revenue that the papers’ biz plans irrationally expected to continue to grow.

    3. The auto slump (driven in part by the credit slump, driven by the real-estate bubble’s pop) pulling another revenue rug out from under them. I don’t think people get how much of a mainstay RE and auto ads were to newspaper finance.

    4. Newspapers’ collective decision to halve their funding base by taking partisan positions in a 50/50 nation; minus the degree to which their readership was nonrepresentative. So for LAT they’re maybe only throwing away 40% of their revenue, assuming their circ area is 60/40 liberal/left.

    5. Rejection of the papers’ greatest strength and hardest-to-duplicate capability, and hyperconcentration on something readily available to consumers in greater quality and diversity elsewhere; even, more convenient for consumers elsewhere. I refer to hard-news gathering versus opinion. Example: while Patrick has broken real stories here, he can’t do what the Times could do (if so inclined) to cover a beat story. But he can analyze events as well and, for half or so of the former Times readership, more agreeably. The other half of Times readers can find better written opinion on their side at other sites, which, like Pat and unlike the Times, don’t deny their partisan nature and so don’t start off lying to you.

    6. Most papers’ failure to monetize their new media properties effectively.

    Some of these are environmental; some of them are management “own goals.” Some, you can argue the degree to which a more astute management might have handled them.

    Along with the writers who are the face of the newspaper to the public, a great many behind-the-scenes folks lose out when a paper fails. Many of the production workers, for example, the IT people who trend libertarian or the pressmen who trend conservative, are not part of the newsroom’s liberal monoculture (and so they’re generally looked down on, sneered at, and insulted by the reporters). The good news is that, unlike the reporters, most of them have real skills that employers will pay fair wages for. (Being able to write literately is a necessity for many jobs, and beneficial in almost any of them, but on its own opens few doors).

    Some guy in the New Republic has already called for Obama to provide do-nothing jobs for unemployed writers. Of course, since it’s TNR, home of Steven Glass, Scott Beauchamp, Eve Fairbanks and Fabricating Franklin Foer, you gotta take it with a grain of salt. Or maybe a salt lick, given their history.

    When next in LA, I’ll be sure to tip my waiter generously. Thus will I support unemployed Times writers.

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (88bf29)

  27. Some of my favorite L.A. Times staffers are former L.A. Times staffers

    Yup. It’s a shame anyone should suffer because they quit that abomination.

    To people still employed by the LAT, though, let me say this: this is what you have to look forward to, creeps.

    Daryl Herbert (b65640)

  28. [...] and over, in story after story, for months, as the newspaper, which is already the butt of jokes, lays off other journalists who report actual news.  Meanwhile, circulation at the newspaper declines, and the owner’s stock price [...]

    Los Angeles Times continues journalistic jihad against joking Judge Alex Kozinski | Popehat (895595)

  29. 2030: The Smithsonian presents:

    RECENT RELICS- 1980 – 2030

    The Rotary Dial Telephone
    The 33 1/3 Long Playing Record
    The 8-Track Cassette
    The Audio Cassette
    The Typewriter (manual & electric)
    The Videocassette Recorder
    The Picture Tube
    The Internal Combustion Engine
    The Free Market Capitalist
    The National Hockey League
    The Newspaper

    DCSCA (d8da01)

  30. Scott’s comment.

    Hilarious.

    steve miller (14eb4b)


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