Friday’s news that the Hearst Corporation will cease all printing operations at the Seattle P-I if a buyer for the paper is not found within 60 days shocked journalism enthusiasts across the Puget Sound.
While some crazy rumors have circulated that the impending closure is due to the fact that the paper has been bleeding money for years, The Naked Loon has obtained an exclusive interview with a high-ranking Hearst executive who reveals the real reason for the sale.
Ultimately the one responsible for making the call on the sale of the P-I was 81-year-old George Randolph Hearst, Jr., chairman of the board of the Hearst Corporation.
He explained the closure to The Naked Loon in a phone call Friday afternoon.
“The truth is, I lost hundreds of millions of dollars investing in condos in Florida and Arizona, a few million more buying mortgage-backed securities, and now even my little 5-bedroom cabin in The Hamptons is going into foreclosure,” said Hearst. “Basically what it boils down to is that I need a place to live, and the P-I offices are an ideal location.”
Just three years ago, Hearst ranked #160 on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans, with a net worth of approximately $2.0 billion. Thanks to a series of unbelievably foolish investment decisions at the height of the housing and stock bubbles, today his accounts top out at a few thousand dollars and his only asset is a 30-year-old Bentley, which currently doubles as his transportation and living quarters.
“I’ve always felt like I get too much exposure to the sun living in Los Angeles,” explained Hearst.
When the P-I “sale” charade concludes in 60 days, Hearst has indicated that he intends to move into the Elliott Ave. headquarters as quickly as possible.
“I want to get settled in with enough time to enjoy the summer views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains,” said Hearst.
Hearst also revealed that he would not be liquidating any of the paper’s other assets, but is instead opting to keep the P-I office in its current state even after he moves in.
“Slap a mattress and some sheets on the editor-in-chief’s desk, and it’s good to go,” said Hearst.
“And no,” added Hearst sternly, “the ‘It’s in the P-I’ globe will not be for sale, either. I will be keeping it.”