SBA Did Not Shut Down Blade, Voice
It appears it was the owners of the Washington Blade and Southern Voice who decided to shut down their newspapers this week –not the Small Business Administration, as some had speculated.
Small Business Administration spokesperson Mike Stamler acknowledged the SBA did receive “offers” to buy the two papers from Window Media and its business ally Unite Media. But, Stamler said, the decision to decline those offers was entirely left to Window Media and Unite, not the SBA.
The Small Business Administration has loaned 39 million dollars to the Avalon Equity Fund – an investment firm—and Avalon turned around and spent $7 million to buy a majority interest in Window Media and Unite Media to obtain an interest in those publishing companies.
The SBA did put Avalon into receivership when Avalon’s own assets dropped below a required level for its SBA loan, but it was Window and Unite that made the decision to cease publishing on November 15.
The news comes as at least two investors said they’d expressed interest in buying the papers. The former owner of the Southern Voice, Chris Cash, told Gay City News she spoke to the SBA’s attorneys in the matter. And openly gay Northern Virginia newsweekly publisher Nicholas Benton said he was told in September that his bid to acquire the Washington Blade had been successful. Benton said he was blind-sided by news Monday that the paper had closed in bankruptcy.
- Lisa Keen, Keen News Service.