A castle tragedy


A big, white castle in Anchorage/McClatchy Co. photo

The lawsuit pitting former Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger against former ADN owner Alice Rogoff  stylized into a fairy tale and reduced to 500 words for those who haven’t been following the story:

Alice was a princess from the island of Nantucket who ran away to Alaska to escape a family life she didn’t like, and there in Alaska she discovered a big, white castle high atop a mountain called the McClatchy Massif.

It was a beautiful castle, and many thought it ruled the country all around.

It was the castle of Alice’s dreams, and she wanted it badly. But there was no path to the castle.

Then a fairy Godmother introduced Alice to Tony and Amanda, a younger couple toiling to build a new path forward in Alaska. And Alice decided that maybe if she bought them some better machinery, they could build her a road to the castle.

So they struck a deal.

Alice invested in the Alaska Dispatch Dirt Moving Company and Tony and Amanda started building the castle road, and along the way – as the road snaked deeper into the wilderness and everyone could begin to see Alice’s dream of reaching the castle some day  becoming a reality – they all became good friends.

Sadly, though, the task of road building exhausted Amanda. So she quit the company to do other things.

Tony, however, toiled on.

And, by God, he managed to a build a road to the gates of the castle so Alice could drive up, bang on the door and offer the McClatchys so much cash they couldn’t resist selling.

Then the castle was hers, and she promised Tony $1 million for building the road, and everyone was happy.

Only the story doesn’t end there.

By the time Tony reached the castle, Alice was so enamored of his road-building skills that she asked him to hang around and tend the fires in the castle, and he agreed to do that for a time.

But he pretty quickly decided he didn’t like tending the fires, and so he told Alice he, too, was leaving, and he left. This did not sit well with Alice, but she refused to hire anyone to replace Tony because she had decided anything he could do she could do better.

It was a bad decision.

With no one left to help her tend the fires in the castle, poor Alice managed to burn her dream to the ground.

This would be a sad tale if it only ended there, but it doesn’t.

With her castle a pile of ashes, Alice decided it was all Tony’s fault because if he hadn’t built that road she wouldn’t have reached the castle and the castle wouldn’t have caught fire and it would still be a big, beautiful castle on a mountain in Alaska.

So to get even with Tony, she decided she wasn’t going to pay him the money she promised for completing the road.

And that’s why Alice and Tony are today spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers to fight with each other in a court in Alaska’s largest city.

5 replies »

  1. Really, this is one of the most worthwhile essays I’ve read here. Engaging, most likely accurate and enjoyable to read because it uses less words along with a simple (and no way do imply that to be negative) creativity. PLUS! most likely we won’t have to hear from the nutty coffee klatcher’s that infest this nest.

    Thumbs up.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. I was wondering how things had started before I started reading your excellent posts, Craig.

    • Har!!!
      What no Dragons to defeat ?
      Or was that in the form of a beast called Pebble Prospect ?
      Best piece i have read for awhile Craig

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