The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing by the publisher of Thoroughbred Times lists liabilities of nearly $5.3 million and assets totaling just under $1 million.
Norman Ridker, owner of Thoroughbred Times Co. Inc., filed the petition Sept. 14 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Under a Chapter 7 filing, the petitioner seeks to liquidate assets rather than restructuring and continuing operations.
According to Thoroughbred Times editor Mark Simon, he and the publication's 26 other employees were notified by Ridker in letters received via Federal Express Sept. 15 that the company was halting operations. The Lexington offices were locked and employees were not allowed access to the building over the Sept. 16-16 weekend.
The $92,883 in "unsecured priority claims" listed in the filing consists primarily of payments owed to current or former employees and magazine contributors, and to some vendors that provided goods and services to Thoroughbred Times.
The largest portion of the liabilities are owed to companies associated with Ridker, who operates California-based BowTie Inc., formerly known as Fancy Publications. Among the other titles within the BowTie family are Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, and Horse Illustrated. The publisher recently ceased publications of three other pet-related magazines, though one, Bird Talk, continues as an online product.
In the bankruptcy filing, BowTie Inc. is listed as being owed $2.48 million and Ridker personally is owed $1.9 million. Also, an Irvine, Calif., company called Global Distribution Services is owed $418,020, according to the filing.
Global is a division of BowTie Inc., and Ridker is listed as part of the company's management team.
Among the Thoroughbred Times Co. assets are $883,661 in accounts receivable, according to the filing.
As of Sept. 18, the bankruptcy records did not indicate that a receiver has been appointed to handle the bankruptcy filing and liquidation.