Former SoVo, David mogul finds new gig

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imageimageWhat do you do next when you’re dethroned as king of a gay media empire that crumbled during your reign?

You get hitched to a boutique investment house with a job — wait for it — finding media investments.

That’s the career trajectory of David Unger, the former Avalon Equity Partners principal who was recently forced out — or as he puts it, pulled a Sarah Palin and quit. Avalon is the majority owner of the companies that publish Southern Voice, David Atlanta, Washington Blade and a handful of other gay publications. At least that was the case until the Small Business Administration took control of Avalon as it moves toward a full liquidation of its assets.

But Unger seems to have landed on his feet, joining New Jersey-based Knight Libertas as managing director of corporate finance.

At Knight, Unger will report to Corporate Finance head Les Levi and focus on media and communications investments. Publicly traded Knight has a market capitalization of about $1.6 billion and has a wide range of investments.

In an interview, Unger said his role will be finding media investments for Knight, including companies in the radio, television and cable industries.

Unger’s 30-year track record in the media industry includes borrowing about $38 million and using some of it to assemble the gay media properties. But last August, the SBA stepped in when the value of Avalon’s investments fell below a required capital threshold as the newspaper industry was hit hard by the recession and investors pulled their money from Unger’s fund.

Before he left, Unger presided over the shuttering of the national gay glossy Genre and gay weeklies New York Blade and Houston Voice, while page counts and employee ranks thinned at the other publications. Some reports suggest Unger tried shopping some of the properties before being the last of several company executives to leave.

Though Unger’s future seems bright, the publications he left behind operate in a shroud of uncertainty.

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