Home Town Media Group, a chain of weekly newspapers aimed at affluent Westchester communities, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Publisher and CEO Howard Sturman listed assets of $178,680 and liabilities of $382,935 in a Sept. 15 petition.
He listed HTMG Inc. in Port Chester as the largest creditor with an unsecured claim of $290,995
But the landlord, GHP Hamilton LLC of West Harrison is challenging the legality of the bankruptcy.
Home Town listed an $18,000 debt to GHP for rent of a 2,670-square-foot space at 170 Hamilton Ave.
“This is a bad faith bankruptcy filing brought to avoid eviction proceedings,” the landlord’s attorney, Robert B. Weissman, wrote in a letter to bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain.
He said the tenant and landlord had agreed to an eviction proceeding in August, and the eviction was scheduled for Sept. 21. But then Home Town asked White Plains City Court to vacate the order. Judge Eric Press denied the request and on Sept. 25 Home Town was put out of its offices.
Now the media company is asking bankruptcy court to reverse the city court action.
Home Town no longer has access to documents its needs to complete its bankruptcy petition, lawyer Richard A. Roberts said in a letter to Drain.
“My client needs immediate relief or there will not be enough of a business to reorganize.”
Weissman answered that Home Town has falsely claimed that it has an unexpired lease and a security deposit, and he depicted the need to get back in the offices to reorganize as a farce.
“As of its bankruptcy filing,” he said, “it had no lease with which to reorganize.”
Home Town includes five weekly print publications: The City Review of New Rochelle, The Eastchester Review, The Harrison Review, The Mamaroneck Review and The Rye City Review. They reach 40,000 affluent households, according to the company’s media kit.