The long-standing financial woes of Lee Enterprises trickled down to the Arizona Daily Star, and in a big way. The Star laid off about 20 people Thursday morning, in the process gutting its marketing department and taking a major swath to the news department.
The Weekly has learned the list of layoffs includes Shelley Shelton, Sarah Trotto, Fred Araiza, Angela Pittenger, Dave Skog, Dan Sorenson, Scot Skinner, Jeff Jackson and John Ames.
Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, has been in the midst of major money woes for the last few years. It is in the process of attempting to realign a massive debt payment due in April of 2012, but has refused numerous options involving junk bond proposals in hopes of a better deal. If the company can’t come to terms, bankruptcy looms as a very real option. Sources involved in Lee negotiations suggested that possibility was on the table as a result of meetings with creditors
that have occurred over the course of the last two weeks.
Lee stock has tumbled from near three dollars in March to under a dollar in July. On July 8, the New York Stock Exchange warned Lee that delisting looms if it can’t consistently get its stock price above one dollar in the next six months.