Denver - December 10, 2010
LovelandPolitics has received numerous reports that the owners of the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald are
negotiating with the owner of the Denver Post, W. Dean Singleton, to acquire the company that owns the Loveland
newspaper, Lehman Communications. Lehman Communications owns and operates the daily newspapers of
Loveland, Longmont and Canyon City, Colorado along with a new 60,000 square foot state of the art printing
facility recently constructed in Berthoud, Colorado. Ed and Ruth Lehman, both Denver attorneys at the time, bought
the Longmont Times-Call newspaper in 1957 and ten years later acquired the Loveland Reporter-Herald through a
While staff at the Loveland Reporter-Herald are not authorized to either discuss or report on the deal unless it is
officially announced, they are anxiously waiting what comes next. Rumors about changes in staffing, news reporting
and even the current financial struggle of the newspaper abound. According to one anonymous source, Lauren
Lehamn had a falling out with her father and brother who are attempting to buy her out (see sidebar to the right)
which is responsible for the company's financial problems.
In 2008 reporters saw their pay reduced to less than 40 hours a week, divisions were closed and staff terminated.
Neither Ed or Dean Lehman, partners of Lehman Communications left are discussing the acquisition negotiations in
public or whether the company is still a going concern after Lauren's apparent departure.
William Dean Singleton is the CEO of MediaNews Group, Inc. which owns the Denver Post along with 54 daily
newspapers in 11 states. Based in Denver Colorado, MediaNews Group was founded in 1983 by Singleton.
Affiliated Media, Inc. is the privately owned holding company of MediaNews Group that operates the newspapers.
In 2006 MediaNews Group formed Prairie Mountain Publishing with the E.W. Scripps Company when it acquired
an interest in Scripps newspapers. By August last year MediaNews Group, Inc. was the sole owner of the
newspaper group which now includes newspapers in the cities of Brush, Fort Morgan, Sterling and Estes Park,
Colorado. Earlier this year Affiliated Media Inc. sought bankruptcy protection as it struggled to survive the
downturn but emerged with debt holders taking more equity in the company.
According to sources familiar with MediaNews Group, Inc. the acquisition of Lehman Communications is targeted at
the Lehman’s new printing facility in Berthoud and not the Loveland or other newspapers necessarily. According to
one source, Lehman Communications sunk approximately $20 million into their new Berthoud printing facility which
is the source of the miniature media empire’s current financial crisis but also makes them attractive for a take-over.
The oversized Printing Center in Berthoud could serve as the central publishing facility for the newspapers owned by
MediaNews Group Inc. throughout Colorado.
The Lehman Printing Center in Berthoud sits on land it acquired in 1993 when the Loveland Reporter-Herald was
still growing. According to Larimer County records, Ruth Lehman sold the land for $429,393 to an Ed Lehman
managed partnership called Western L, LLC. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Lehmans began building the center with a
loan from Wells Fargo borrowed by Western L of $6,686,987. Lehman Communications secured the loan through
a lease agreement by Western L to Lehman Communications for an annual lease of $990,000. A total investment of
approximately $20 million was made into the center by 2009 according to one source using loans from Wells Fargo
Bank, Lehman Communications and direct contributions by both Ed and Dean Lehman.
As the economy declined at the end of 2008 so did the fortunes of the Lehmans and their ambitious new printing
center. All three newspapers in Loveland, Longmont and Canyon City were struggling with anemic revenue by mid-
2009 as advertising dollars continued migrating towards the internet and traditional newspaper advertising revenue
staples like real estate and car ads were drying up.
When the City of Longmont considered placing legal ads on the internet threatening the Longmont Times-Call's
approximately $250,000 revenue from the city, Ed Lehman appeared in person at a Longmont council meeting to
personally dissuade the council from sinking the flag ship paper of his small media empire. Loveland, like Longmont,
provides significant revenue to the company by way of legal ads and other city advertising and occasional newsletters
published by Lehman Communications.
Ironically, some criticism in the Longmont community of the Longmont Times-Call reflects complaints
LovelandPolitics has received in Loveland regarding the editorial policy of the Loveland Reporter-Herald for years.
The Lehmans maintain editorial control over both papers in Loveland and Longmont which frequently print identical
editorials that often defend the status-quo in both communities.
Longmont community activist Kaye Fissinger wrote on her community blog late last month,
“It is well understood in the Longmont community that the Lehmans and their newspaper have carried the
water for those in Longmont with long-standing economic and political interests, whether or not these
interests have been in the best interest of the community as a whole.
Should the Times-Call change ownership as rumored, it is hoped that a new publisher will demand a
healthier distance between the paper’s management and editorial staff and Longmont’s ‘special
interests.’ More substantive and investigative reporting would also be welcomed. These changes would
likely boost the paper’s circulation and advertising revenues.”
No word on whether the NewsMedia Group Inc. will be hiring Fissinger to advise the publishing giant on how to
improve the newspapers standing in the community if they acquire the publication through the acquisition.
|REPORTER-HERALD To Be Sold?
Newspaper magnet W. Dean Singleton, owner of the Denver Post, is reported to
be in acquisition talks with Lehman Communications (owners of Loveland RH)
|Above: Lauren Lehman with her husband Weld
County Councilor John Kivimaki in 2003 attending a
fund raiser. Click on picture for source
Lauren Lehman Kivimaki, daughter of Ed Lehman
and sister of Dean Lehman the publishers of the
Loveland RH, served as the Chief Financial Officer
and Executive Vice President of Lehman
According to a posting on the LovelandPolitics blog:
"She [Lauren] severed her relationship with her
family over the building of the printing facility.
After multiple independent market research
studies- one even conducted by a researcher
hired by Lauren herself- suggested that the time
was right to build the plant.............
Lauren attempted to sell her company shares and
threatened to sue – so her brother, Dean and 82-
yr.-old father, Ed bought her out of her shares in
order to complete the plant. Employees have
been laid off, divisions have been closed, benefits
to remaining employees have been eliminated in
order to make massive quarterly payments to
Lauren Lehman in addition to covering the
expense of the papers and the printing plant,
bank loan payments etc..
She rolls in dough while her father and brother
have had to make radical decisions for their
company. THAT is what has put this company in
the position it is in. You will find out the “dirty
little secret” if you check into it deeper. One evil
person can cause this much mayhem with no
regard to the people and family who supported
her for years."
Featured also in the Denver Post society page Seen
First, Lehman is a resident of Erie, Colorado and
claims to be the niece of the late Jeanne Gillespie.
Lauren Lehman or other family members and Lehan
Communications employees are welcome to submit their own
comments or clarifications on this blog or in an article that will be
published in its entirety on LovelandPolitics.com.
|Did She Destroy The Family Empire?