Bankrupt Bend Bulletin Blasts Big Bank

Today the Wall Street Journal and media blogs picked up yesterday's news about the recent bankruptcy filing of one of Oregon's largest daily newspapers, the Bend Bulletin.

The Bulletin says it will continue operations. American newspaper bankruptcies are a dime a dozen these days, but what makes this one national news is that the paper's editor, John Costa, wrote an editorial blaming Bank of America for the filing.

Costa says Bank of America jacked up the interest rate it was charging the paper's parent company, Western Communications, after the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis—a financial calamity for which the bank had no small role, and which, in the interest of full disclosure, led to this reporter's layoff in 2008.

Bank of America reported profits of $2.5 billion in the first quarter of this year, up by $1 billion from 2010.

An early bankruptcy filing shows that the city of Bend is among the paper's largest unsecured creditors. Western Communications says it owes the city $11,800 on an unspecified loan.

Update: The Western Communications filing lists Page Cooperative Inc., a Pennsylvania company that sells ink, newsprint and press supplies, as its largest unsecured creditor, with $567,000 outstanding.

Another filing shows the company's assets and liabilities each in the range of $10 million to $50 million.