Note on Napkin Will Cost Woman $850K

Jury rules against former owner of the 'Anchorage Daily News'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 2, 2018 4:12 PM CST
Updated Dec 3, 2018 4:03 AM CST
In this Sept. 11, 2017 file photo, former Alaska Dispatch News Publisher Alice Rogoff is seen entering the federal bankruptcy court in Anchorage, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

(Newser) – An Alaska jury has ordered the buyer of a news website to make good on a payment promise she had scrawled on a cocktail napkin, the AP reports. The Anchorage Daily News reports that jurors on Thursday ordered Alice Rogoff to pay more than $850,000 to Tony Hopfinger. Rogoff purchased a majority stake in the Alaska Dispatch website from Hopfinger in 2009. Her company bought the Anchorage Daily News in 2014 and merged the businesses as the Alaska Dispatch News—which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, costing Rogoff an estimated $30 million, per the Daily News. The remains of the business were sold to another family that continued putting out the paper as the Anchorage Daily News.

But back to the napkin, on which Rogoff wrote in April 2014: "I agree to pay Tony $100K at end of each calendar year (beginning '14) for 10 years," meaning $1 million total. Hopfinger sued Rogoff, claiming she failed to pay him $100,000 annually for 10 years as promised; she only paid him $100,000 in 2015. Rogoff's attorney argued that terms were stated to commit Hopfinger to work for a decade and that he deserved nothing when he moved to Chicago in 2015, per the Daily News. But the jury, which deliberated for roughly nine hours, found that "the actual promise was for his shares," says Hopfinger's lawyer. (Meanwhile, a blind man has sued Playboy over its website.)


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