Western Edge shareholder closes car lotsAfter area investors and prepaid advertisers spent money on a radio station that never got off the ground, one of its primary shareholders has abruptly closed the doors on a few other businesses, this time in Alaska.
After area investors and prepaid advertisers spent money on a radio station that never got off the ground, one of its primary shareholders has abruptly closed the doors on a few other businesses, this time in Alaska.
Rob Skinner of Ketchikan, Alaska, was a majority shareholder in Western Edge Media, LLC, a company that had aspired to start broadcasting FM station Wild 105.7 out of Dickinson in February of last year.
After 18 local businesses purchased prepaid advertising, they were told the station would start in February, which turned into late March.
That time never came.
In July, Randall Sickler, the attorney who represents prepaid advertiser Roughrider Electric Cooperative in Dickinson, said he thinks prepaid advertisements totaled about $90,000.
Western Edge Media’s majority shareholders, one of whom was Skinner, proposed “Wild” Bill Palanuk, the company’s former general manager, give up his ownership rights in exchange for funding required to make the station operational, according to an April 4 Press article.
Refusing the proposal, Palanuk was terminated.
In July, Jason Henderson, a Dickinson-based attorney representing Western Edge Media, said the company filed a notice of dissolution with the North Dakota Secretary of State in June to cease efforts at establishing the station.
A call to Henderson went unreturned.
“It’s one thing to see your dreams fall apart, but at the expense where other people got hurt and at the expense of my career and everything that I’ve worked for, that takes the pain to a whole other level,” Palanuk said.
Now, Skinner has left a mark about 2,000 miles away.
Three car dealerships owned by Skinner in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, Alaska, abruptly closed Dec. 4, leaving people scratching their heads.
Skinner had not personally communicated with about 50 employees when all three dealerships closed the same day, according to the Juneau Empire.
“The people had zero warning,” said Sarah Walden, a resident of Ketchikan, whose husband, Thomas, had a pickup in Skinner’s service shop when the doors closed. “The employees got there and were told, ‘Pack your stuff, you’re out of a job.’”
The Waldens happened to find out about the closing from a friend who had previously worked for Skinner Sales and Service, a Subaru, Buick and Chevrolet dealer in Ketchikan.
While Thomas Walden was driving the 2008 Chevy Silverado he purchased from the dealership, the airbags mysteriously deployed and after General Motors Corp. sent an investigator to inspect the truck, it sat at Skinner’s service shop for about 140 days, until it closed.
Sarah Walden said it wasn’t until after the attorney general got involved that GM bought the truck from the Waldens and had it shipped to Juneau, Alaska, as it was not drivable. The seats had been ripped out and airbags were still lying all over the vehicle.
When Walden called GM to ask how to retrieve her vehicle, they were unaware of the closing.
Debbie Fischer of Juneau, Alaska, received a call from Skinner’s Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership at about noon on Dec. 4, stating the seat belts she ordered had arrived, according to the Juneau Empire. A few hours later, when Fischer’s husband went to pick up the seatbelts, the business was closed.
On Dec. 4, Skinner told the Juneau Empire he “was not going to comment at this time.”
As of Friday, additional calls have gone unreturned.
From the time Skinner purchased the Juneau location in 2007 until October, Mike Chrisman had worked for Skinner, most recently serving as a sales manager.
“He basically mortgaged what we had built in the Juneau store to go after this store in Montana, leaving the Juneau store without a valuable asset we could use during tough months,” Chrisman said, according to the Juneau Empire.
However, Skinner’s Montana dealership seems to have gone unfazed.
Wayne Blake, general manager of Skinner Sales and Service of Townsend, Mont., said there is no indication of the dealership closing its doors.
“We’re a very, very well-run corporation,” Blake said. “I’ve been here for about 60 days and we’re very fine.”