What was supposed to be a 3.3 million dollar “loan” and a 5% share in equity of Maine Today Media has turned into a 75% ownership stake in the Maine paper by Donald Sussman, the husband of congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
Sussman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and prolific democrat funder, has pledge his political affiliations, marriage to Congresswoman Pingree, and support of liberal ballot initiatives won’t have an impact on how the paper reports. “They report the news thoroughly and fairly, and I’m not going to interfere with that in any way,” Sussman said in an article that appeared in his Portland Press Herald paper. “I’m a businessman, not a newspaper editor,” he said.
Sussman was recruited to purchase the paper by the Portland Newspaper Guild, the union for the company. A NewsGuild.org article quoted Local Vice President Greg Kesich saying, “It was the longest of long shots, we got a message to him that the paper was in trouble, and that we were a forward-looking, progressive union that was determined to save it.”
Initially, the response was the $3.3 million “loan” that was supposed to give Sussman and his Maine Values, LLC company a 5 percent equity stake in the company. However, Sussman’s Press Herald reported today that, “The financial structure changed…during final negotiations.”