Attorneys questioned Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw for two hours at a Thursday bankruptcy hearing, and dug into the business’ operations and the assets claimed in court documents.
McCaw’s Ampersand Publishing, parent company of the News-Press, declared bankruptcy on July 21, the same day the newspaper stopped publishing to its website and told all employes their jobs were eliminated.
The bankruptcy documents list few assets and more than $5 million owed to creditors such as former employees, vendors, utility companies, local businesses, and subscribers.
The assets conspicuously exclude real estate because McCaw transferred the business’ properties in 2014 to separate limited liability companies she controls, and apparently paid nothing to do so.
Those properties include the downtown Santa Barbara News-Press building at 715 Anacapa St., a parking lot across the street, and the newspaper’s Goleta printing press property at 725 S. Kellogg Ave.
McCaw said Thursday that the News-Press had no lease agreements and paid no rent to occupy the buildings, even after Ampersand Publishing no longer owned the properties.
The section of bankruptcy documents where leases would be is blank.
“With nothing listed there, I have questions,” said attorney Michael D’Alba of Danning Gill.
Bankruptcy trustee Jerry Namba,