Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons

Business Center

May 5, 2010 10:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Publisher of Dan's Papers files for Chapter 11

May 5, 2010 10:34 AM

Brown Publishing Company, the parent company of Dan’s Papers, a weekly publication with offices in Bridgehampton, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.

Brown has liabilities estimated between $10 million and $50 million, according to the bankruptcy documents filed in federal bankruptcy court in Central Islip. PNC Bank is the company’s largest creditor, according to the filings.

Brown Publishing’s board of directors made the decision to file for Chapter 11 during a vote on Friday at the company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In addition to Dan’s Papers, Brown publishes a number of daily and weekly newspapers and business publications in the Midwest. The company bought Dan’s Papers Inc., which also publishes the Montauk Pioneer and the Insider Guide, in 2007.

Dan Rattiner, who started publishing weekly periodicals on the East End in the early 1960s and started the popular Dan’s Papers in the 1970s, deferred all comment to Brown Publishing.

Numerous calls placed to Joel Dempsey, the vice president of general counsel for the company, were not returned. The company’s bankruptcy attorney, Edward Fox of K&L Gates LLP in Manhattan, also deferred comment to Mr. Dempsey.

Brown’s Chapter 11 court filings say that Dan’s Papers benefited from the lucrative East End real estate market—advertisements from the industry made up most of the revenue for the company, the filings explained—but those conditions have changed, according to Dan himself. In a blog post on the Dan’s website, blog.danshamptons.com, Mr. Rattiner wrote about the market woes: “You remember those times. Money flowed like water. Everybody was happy. The sky was the limit. Then everything went down the drain.”

Mr. Rattiner wrote that Brown financed the purchase of Dan’s Papers and other newspapers through “large loans from a bank.” Once the economy faltered, the company no longer had enough money to pay both the debt service on that loan and keep business running, a situation that prompted the Chapter 11 filing, Mr. Rattiner explained in the post, which was titled “Dan’s is here to stay.”

“Though Brown (and Dan’s Papers) are profitable, they are not profitable enough to both pay back the loan and continue along with business as usual,” he wrote.

The Chapter 11 will allow Brown to deal with the long-term loan, Mr. Rattiner wrote. He wrote that much of the loan will be forgiven.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

"What goes up must come down."

It has been noticed that the ads in Dan's have been much thinner this spring, at what would normally be the height of the build-up to summer. Hmmm?

Is this a Dan's problem, or a more general corporate problem from above? What percentage of the Brown Publishing revenues have been from Dan's Papers?

What does all of this say about the general economy, and the economy on the East End?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 3, 10 5:31 PM
Dan's ad rates are, quite frankly, outrageous. Perhaps if they were more affordable for small businesses, they would have sold more.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on May 3, 10 5:47 PM
yup, everybody sterotypes that if you are from here you have money. this time, that sterotype hurt this company.
By local (106), north sea on May 5, 10 8:09 PM
you know what year rounder I advert. in Dans for over 6 years and I think it is a great value. Why is it you are always complaining about something?
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on May 3, 10 6:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Excuse me, but I do not post on this board for your benefit. Speaking of complaining, do these sound familiar to you? "The CPI is nothing more than a magnet for bringing people with no class into this town. " "hey faceless... you seem to have a problem with capitalism. no one told them to come here and sleep in the woods." "The UPS guy just left my package in the snow on the street by my entrance and ran" "It seems dissent is only patriotic if you have the same view that the editor has" All ...more
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on May 3, 10 6:56 PM
joe hampton, you're the biggest whiner on these boards. Glass houses, dude, glass houses.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on May 3, 10 6:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
This from the man who says global warming is a lie because it snowed.
By lablover (104), Southampton on May 3, 10 7:05 PM
Classic post! " the UPS guy left the package in the snow and ran". Wonder why
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on May 3, 10 7:09 PM
Oh wow looks like all the villains united on this one But where is Mr z he is the only one missing. Al Sharpton should be leading this parade ... LOL
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on May 4, 10 12:59 AM
2 members liked this comment
Time for a little introspection, Joe. You've been exposed
By lablover (104), Southampton on May 4, 10 7:55 AM
hey lib lvr you and your clan wont miss Dan at all since you most likely read Pravda between listening to Fresh Air and the Randi Rhodes show. Talk about needing Introspection.....Dasvidanya
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on May 4, 10 9:51 AM
hey27dan, HAH!
By lablover (104), Southampton on May 4, 10 12:03 PM
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on May 5, 10 8:24 AM
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 7, 10 10:00 AM
I advertise in the paper every summer and it's a very important source of income. I would not like to see it go under. It obviously is a source that is important to summer visitors as well. Yes, the price is high but so is the return on my investment.
By roban (1), East Hampton on May 3, 10 6:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
yes I agree
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on May 4, 10 12:50 AM
I'm not terribly surprised the independent and even more so the press has killed them. Far better articles and more news worthy. It seems more advertising has switched to them
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on May 3, 10 7:13 PM
good riddens to that rag of a paper - it was never a newsworthy thing to even be called a newspaper. Catered to "east of the canal" snots ..... In college, we used it for toilet paper when we ran out - just wet it, it worked like a charm, but left an ink stain at times. Plenty of other forums to advertise in that are worthy.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on May 3, 10 7:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey Dan! Maybe Southampton Town can use it's CPF funds to bail you out... that's a good use of CPF monies, right?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on May 3, 10 8:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Dan's Papers sometime ran almost 300 pages a week in the summer, a few years back. Considering the percentage of advertising in it, that's real money!
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on May 3, 10 8:32 PM
Yea we can use the CPF for a couple of years until Dan's becomes independent again or unless Stony Brook acquires it for their journalism program...I'll miss the picture section of those events most of us can't afford to buy into.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on May 3, 10 8:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who will do those amazing stories about Monte Farber and Amy Zerner.
Will the last local burn the last copy this winter in the woodstove, please!
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on May 3, 10 10:02 PM
Imagine what the ad rates will be if this paper disappears...the Press, Country & Hamptons/Niche Publishing will be an oligopoly, at least until another Randy Schindler comes along. Not that that would be a good outcome, either.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on May 3, 10 10:38 PM
brown publishing way overpaid for the paper in the first place. i belive the number was close to 7 mill. tuff to make that back in this economic climate.
By tito (56), e hampton on May 3, 10 10:57 PM
While at one point this past winter Dan's Papers went to to bi-weekly due to low ad sales, the business model isn't bad. I own a newspaper that distributes outside Suffolk County and employ a similar business model.

The model -- the only serious cost should be printing. If one can't find cheap (almost free) writers (forget benefits), the publisher should write the articles himself. People selling ads should only work on commission. Dan does have other staff, such as layout people, but it's ...more
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on May 3, 10 11:21 PM
Best part of this article was the world crappin' on Joe Hampton...!
By Hambone (514), New York on May 3, 10 11:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
I found it amusing as well....LOL
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on May 4, 10 12:53 AM
I hope Dan Rattiner has been paid in full by Brown. If not....well... you know the rest of the story.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on May 3, 10 11:52 PM
Bring back The Improper!
By WHBinManhattan (47), Manhattan/Westhampton on May 4, 10 12:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
And "The Morning After Man", Jeff Nichols!
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on May 4, 10 6:45 AM
i grew up with Dan's...was great...then he bought into the scene and thought it could become his. Forgot about the fundamentals...
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 4, 10 7:05 AM
Good Luck Dan...We love you!!!! All things aside. You are an institution and alot of fun!!
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 4, 10 7:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Without Dan's Paper how am I going to know who's turn it is to feed the shark?
By bird (829), Southampton on May 4, 10 8:40 AM
Good riddance!

"Bring back The Improper!" Haha! Hear hear! Forgot about that one.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on May 4, 10 10:06 AM
Amazing how someone with so little writing ability and ridiculously high advertising rates could last as long as he did. Why those idiots in Cincinnati would waste their money on such an inferior product is hard to figure out.
By realdeal (23), Southampton on May 4, 10 10:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hmmm, probably something to do with an earlier post referring to 300 pages a week - most of it advertising. Remember when there were a couple dozen pages of glossy cover wraps every week?
By VOS (1241), WHB on May 4, 10 11:15 PM
Bring back the "original" DANS. Fun, outrageous stories, local news etc. DANS has become like all the rest of the summer rags - the same "celebs" and the same events. There are REAL people out here too.
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on May 4, 10 11:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
And the Ed Sullivan show also
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on May 6, 10 12:43 AM
I normally don’t get involved in the community here as you all have such a close relationship one hates to intrude. However, this seems too good to miss out on. Having bought advertising for local businesses I worked for in the past (Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Bridgehampton) I have a pretty good feel of what the real "costs" are of all the papers out here - I have to laugh at the comments from those who think a paper that distributes under 10,000 or even under 20,000 is a better "value" than one ...more
By 11968dposer (1), Water Mill on May 4, 10 11:12 AM
Couldn't have said it any better myself.
By ChefRobert' (3), southampton on May 5, 10 6:47 AM
Why don't you let us decide what is a good value for our self.....Its about results and target marketing Dan's reaches the people who count. your welcome Steve ;)
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on May 5, 10 8:19 AM
Great. Now what will Hamptonyte Blog do for their hilarious recaps of that paper?
By DrEngine (10), Brookhaven on May 4, 10 4:32 PM
By ELECTRICUTIONER (65), east islip/montauk on May 4, 10 5:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By NYWHALER, southampton on May 4, 10 5:26 PM
you haved some nerve! what do you know about who works at dans and why are you judging all the people who work there? what does that have to do with anything?
By bobbitchin (1), sag harbor on May 4, 10 7:03 PM
Oh well, I guess we will still have Dan's Papers with the pompous articles and inaccurate reporting if you can call it reporting!
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on May 4, 10 10:25 PM
Dan's is part of the Hamptons. Each new issue was a signal of a new week. It's got to stay!
By artizt101 (29), Hampton Bays on May 5, 10 7:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
why don't throne-holst and throne-theile propose a bailout with CPF funds? it would be a great photo-op for the dynamic duds.
By uncleronk (136), southold on May 5, 10 10:23 AM
Ah, just read Hamptonyte's latest entry. Looks like Dan's is here to stay! And thanks for the link, Electricutioner. Though the commenters at Dan's are calling us all out, I think.
By DrEngine (10), Brookhaven on May 5, 10 10:39 AM
I have no opinion about Dan's advertising rates but the paper itself has lost the whimsical iconoclasm that made it a delightful read when it first began publishing. I still remember the decades old story about the "science" of suntannning that involved balancing the "yin" and the "yuck" to achieve the perfect state of suntannedness dubbed "gloopeepee". Then there was the article about a road in the Hamptons that contained cottages that were constructed for people under 5 feet tall. (I'm still ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 5, 10 2:52 PM
I don't believe Dan's Papers will be leaving the scene. Either Dan will buy it back and cheaply at that or someone else will and keep Dan running it. I am a VERY local, family has been here hundreds of years and I enjoy the tongue in cheek as well as the ridiculous doings of the rich and famous. Go for it Dan and keep the subway open to all.

By Doug (14), Hampton Bays on May 5, 10 3:50 PM
You knew the writing was on the wall when they said they were going to charge $2 an issue in NYC.
By Dr Spock (36), Hampton Bays on May 5, 10 6:33 PM
Print is dead!
By Bandguy (23), Sag Harbor on May 5, 10 9:35 PM
ya ! lets all go play on twitter....whatever
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on May 6, 10 12:48 AM
I dont know the man(DAN), but it seemed like he got himself confused with Ernest Hemingway. I hope he cashed the 7 million dollar check. Will they want it back? By the way I have a mortgage can I get it "forgiven" too?
By jim (48), hampton bays on May 5, 10 11:45 PM
Lost in all of this, is the fact that Dan, has not owned Dan's Papers in a very LONG time. In 2007, the paper was sold by it's then parent company, News Communications Inc., of New York City to Brown Publishing.
You can still find this by doing a google search. Dan may write interesting stories(good, or bad), but a business person he ain't.
By beachbum27 (1), Montauk on May 6, 10 7:20 AM