UPDATE: ADN publisher reponds to eviction by GCI

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - GCI filed a complaint in superior court on Friday, seeking to evict Alaska Dispatch News from the newspaper's former headquarters, and to collect what GCI claims is back rent and damages for violating its lease.

GCI bought the building that used to be the newspaper's headquarters, when Rogoff bought the paper in 2014.

"This action should not come as a surprise to the ownership of ADN" said GCI spokesperson Heather Handyside. "We have served several notices of default, starting in March."

In court documents, attorneys for GCI claim that ADN and publisher Alice Rogoff failed to live up to a lease agreement to vacate the building at 1001 Northway Drive, in Anchorage, by December 2016.

GCI claims ADN and Rogoff owe more than $1.3-million in base rent, additional rent and overdue fees. GCI is also seeking $1-million in compensatory damages.

"We have tried to operate in good faith" Handyside said, "and we've really worked to come to a settlement with them and what you see today is that we believe we have exhausted all of our options so we're asking a court to help us through this process."

The lawsuit says ADN has failed to move its printing press out of the building. ADN's staff offices have relocated to a building in midtown.

GCI also claims that ADN has failed to pay it's electric bill.

"The Alaska Dispatch News has not paid the power bill since around early February, so GCI has been paying on their behalf," Handyside said. "Those payment are in excess of $40-thousand a month now, and it's quite a cost to incur."

GCI says it will leave it up to the court to decide the time frame for ADN's departure from the building, and GCI says it's still open to negotiations.

"We're trying to do all we can, because we believe it's important for Alaska to have a large, statewide newspaper," Handyside said. "We've done everything we can we think to support their operations, but we're at the point that, just from a business perspective, it just doesn't make sense."

Friday afternoon, ADN publisher Alice Rogoff issued a written statement:

"It is extremely unfortunate that GCI has taken this legal action to evict us from our press facility. The events that led us to this point have been extremely complex. At no point has there been any bad faith on the part of the newspaper. Our goal has always been to keep Alaska's largest newspaper alive and robust for the sake of our readers and the community. Our goal remains unchanged and we are in active discussions toward that end. Until the discussions are concluded, we are unable to provide any details. Please know that business disputes arise from many causes and are never one-sided. We hope that this matter will be resolved shortly to the benefit of all parties."

This is a developing story. Check KTUU.com and Channel 2 News for updates.

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