Back in March, New Times proclaimed the death of the SunPost, Miami Beach's scrappy and once impressive weekly rag.
If we didn't turn out to be precisely right -- a few stray copies of all-but-content-free issues are still appearing from time to time around Lincoln Road -- we were pretty damn close.
The SunPost's site has completely disappeared from the web, and several of its former staffers have started a new, impressively designed paper called the Lead that's now filling the SunPost's niche around the Beach.
Since then, life has apparently gone from bad to worse for longtime SunPost publisher Jeannette Stark. Stark's husband, Felix, created the SunPost in 1985, and her son, Andrew Stark, shepherded it through the paper's best years.
Riptide has learned that this past August, Stark filed for bankruptcy. And according to her filings, she owed more than $1 million to creditors -- and listed only $250 in assets.
Stark also faces four civil cases in Miami-Dade Court, including two from banks and one from the paper's Hialeah printer.
Her August bankruptcy filings show just how much a toll the economic meltdown has taken on her paper, which was a vibrant voice in Beach politics as recently as last summer.
Stark owed thousands of dollars to former staffers, including $1,100 to former VP of Sales Jamie Kaufman, $450 to contributor Jordan Melnick, $500 to former designer Michael Menchero and $400 to former staff writer Lee Molloy, now the copublisher and senior writer at the Lead.
Molloy tells New Times that he has yet to see a dime of that money from Starks.
Stark also owed more than $10,000 in back taxes -- $4,020 to the state of Florida, and $6,100 to the IRS.
Her other creditors ran from her paper's printer, Southeast Offset, which was owed $10,757, to various bank and credit card debts that total in the hundreds of thousands.
So what does Stark own? According to the filings, she had no property of value, a checking account with $130, "miscellaneous costume jewelry" worth $100 and 25 bucks in cash.
Stark's lawyer, Geoffrey S. Aaronson, hasn't returned Riptide's call for comment.
As for the SunPost, it's not clear who's running what's left of the paper today. Bill Cooke, the photographer and Random Pixels overlord, forwarded Riptide a (rather nasty) email from Stark's daughter Kim, who appears to be the current publisher.
Since Riptide failed to find any copies of SunPost in Midtown, we've been unable to verify that. Kim hasn't responded to a voice message or an email asking for a comment.
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Check back to Random Pixels soon for Bill's take on the SunPost.
And check out the full filing below for yourself: