Kathleen McLaughlin
The Bulletin

Buyers have emerged for the building that fomrerly housed the Spokesman, as well as another Western Communications newspaper, The Union Democrat in Sonora, California.

Western Communications is the parent company of the Spokesman and The Bulletin.

The proposals, filed in bankruptcy court last week, would generate a combined $1.39 million for the Bend-based newspaper chain’s main creditor, Sandton Credit Solution. Sandton holds the mortgage on Western Communications’ headquarters building at 1777 SW Chandler Ave. in Bend.

Western Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and plans to sell all of its assets. The Spokesman, Bulletin and other newspapers will continue operating under new owners.

Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers Inc. proposes to pay $1.15 million for The Union Democrat and its 10,000-square-foot office building on S. Washington Street in Sonora.

The real estate accounts for $500,000 of the proposed purchase price, according to the notice filed in court.

The Union Democrat’s office building was previously marketed for $925,000.

Competing bids for The Union Democrat are due by July 11 and must exceed the Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers proposal by at least $50,000, according to the notice. A hearing is scheduled for July 29 in Portland. The deal would close on a date to be agreed upon by the buyer and Western Communications after the sale is approved by the court.

Also known as RISN, Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers was set up in December 2006 and bought the Journal Register Co.’s three daily newspapers and a group of weekly newspapers for $8.3 million in 2007. RISN’s president was listed as Melanie Radler, daughter of F. David Radler, a longtime partner of Conrad Black who testified against Black during his fraud trial. Radler himself pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the case, which stemmed from millions in unauthorized payments to Black and Radler from the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Another Radler-affiliated company, Sound News Media, recently agreed to buy the Bakersfield Californian and owns newspapers in Antelope and Lodi, both in California.

Also last week, the newspaper chain notified the court that Shelby Bishop has agreed to buy the former office of the Redmond Spokesman at 226 NW Sixth St. for $240,000. Compass Commercial Real Estate Services would receive a 6% commission on the transaction, according to the notice.

A weekly newspaper, the Spokesman has been marketed as a package with The Bulletin.

Other media companies, EO Media Group and Country Media, have proposed to buy Western Communications newspapers in Baker City, La Grande, Brookings and Crescent City, California. Hearings on those proposals are scheduled for June 27.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com