Foreclosure company exits the Capitol Hill newspaper business

8444908477_1d4347ac48After selling off the business in the wake of the economic downturn of the late 2000s, Georgetown-based Pacific Publishing has apparently reacquired the Capitol Hill Times weekly newspaper. On January 1st, the company took over management of the paper from RIM Publications, the publishing wing of a foreclosure services company that took over from Pacific in 2012.

Pacific announced the change in December but didn’t divulge any financial details. The company also will now run the Monroe Monitor and the The Eatonville Dispatch, RIM’s two remaining Washington state publications.

Pacific also publishes the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, the Madison Park Times, and City Living where “local first rate writers give us their take on food, books, people, real estate, home and gardens, life and love, getting out of town or staying put.”

Stacks of the company’s newspapers can be found in some neighborhood businesses and are often left outside bank and public building lobbies.

The changes at the Capitol Hill Times comes amid several years of uncertainty at the community weekly. In 2009, Pacific canned the newspaper’s longtime editor in favor of a centralized approach that syndicated content across several now-shuttered Seattle properties. Since then, the business has gone through a number of editors and freelance contributors.

For three years, RIM financed the paper primarily through publishing its legally mandated foreclosure notices — just one arm in the company’s multifaceted approach to profit from foreclosure sales. In 2012, The Oregonian called RIM parent company Northwest Trustee Service a “vertically integrated foreclosure machine.”

RIM’s parent has found itself under steady criticism for its practices. One open King County Superior Court lawsuit alleges Northwest illicitly sold a property it did not own. Darla Pardo sued the company after it allegedly sold her Fauntleroy neighborhood home “in a private parking garage owned by Steven Routh,” president and CEO of the company.

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In a document filed in December, the company refutes all of the allegations of the suit.

We tried to call RIM to ask about the end of the Bellevue-based company’s days on Capitol Hill, but only got this message before the voicemail picked up: “This communication is from a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

The changes will include a new editor for the Capitol Hill Times weekly. In an assignment emblematic of the profit-challenged world of the remaining print media, she’ll also be tasked with running the paper in Monroe, Washington. The existing RIM editorial staff will apparently not remain with the papers.

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