BANGOR, Maine — A Penobscot County Superior Court judge has issued a default judgment against a Pennsylvania newspaper, finding it owes the former owners of a East Millinocket paper mill $212,152.
The money is for 840 metric tons of newsprint paper ordered a year ago and worth $254,170, according to court documents.
The suit, filed in February, was lodged by Katahdin Paper Co. against Wilkes-Barre Publishing Co., doing business as Impressions Media, which was doing business as The Times Leader, a newspaper.
The mill, previously owned by Katahdin Paper, is now known as Great Northern Paper. Katahdin was owned by Brookfield Asset Management until last fall, when it sold the mill to Cate Street Capital, which changed the mill’s name.
A spokesman for Cate Street said the company wasn’t party to the suit and suggested Brookfield brought the legal action against the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for Brookfield said the company does not comment on court cases.
According to court documents, from February 2011 to April 2011, Wilkes-Barre Publishing ordered the 840 tons of paper from Katahdin and the paper was delivered.
In July 2011, the documents said, Katahdin contacted Wilkes-Barre Publishing President Prashant Shitut because the mill had not been paid. The media company agreed to make weekly payments of $25,000, the court documents said.
Wilkes-Barre Publishing made two payments totaling $76,354, according to the court documents, leaving $177,815 unpaid. The $212,152 decided by the judge on April 19 would include that balance, interest and fees.
According to a recent story by The Citizens Voice, a paper that competes with The Times Leader in Pennsylvania, Shitut said in an interview that the suit concerns the newspaper’s former owner and asserted that the company is up-to-date with payments to its vendors.
At the time when the newsprint purchases in question were made, Impressions Media was co-owned by Bangor native Richard Connor, who had bought the company with backing from HM Capital Partners LLC.
Connor, along with HM Capital, also bought MaineToday Media in 2009. MaineToday Media includes newspapers such as the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Waterville Sentinel.
MaineToday Media also faced a suit for not paying for newsprint filed last fall by McGrann Paper Corp., a North Carolina mill. The suit charged MaineToday Media had not paid for $124,061 worth of paper it ordered from McGrann in August and September 2011.
That suit, according to court documents, was settled at the end of March.
Connor resigned as CEO of MaineToday and as CEO of Impressions Media effective Dec. 31, 2011. Impressions Media, according to the Citizens Voice story, was bought by Versa Capital Management. HM Capital remains an investor in MaineToday Media.