With his gay media empire crumbling around him, David Unger quit earlier this week, meaning another executive-level departure at the majority owner of Southern Voice and David Atlanta.
His legacy? Federal receivership and a handful of publications struggling to weather a recession and a drop in newspaper advertising and circulation that is crippling publications, both gay and straight.
Unger’s resignation on Wednesday comes less than two weeks after reports that he was forced out by the Small Business Administration, allegations he strongly denied — before he quit. Unger was CEO of Window Media and United Media and the owner of Avalon Equity Fund. Window and Unite publish SoVo and David, among other gay publications, and Avalon holds a majority stake in the publishers.
The company is in federal receivership–a form of bankruptcy–with a looming liquidation by the SBA in September. Unger reportedly was shopping the company’s assets prior to his departure.
The Washington Blade, also owned by Window Media, reported Unger’s departure on Thursday.
In a statement, Unger said he’s leaving “for an excellent opportunity in New York” and that his departure “will have no effect” on the Blade or other Window Media publications.
“I will be around to help if needed and I wish everyone the best,” he said.
Unger’s resignation leaves Mike Kitchens, chief operating officer of Window Media, and Steve Myers, chief financial officer, in charge of the company.
In a joint statement, they said Unger’s resignation “was his decision” and the company “will continue to operate as normal, putting out the best weekly gay publications in the country.”
What’s troubling about the Blade report, picked up by Southern Voice, is the spin it puts on Unger’s departure without any mention of the receivership and the company’s lingering troubles with the SBA. It’s unclear where that stands and company officials haven’t discussed it publicly.
The report also didn’t touch on what Avalon’s continued role, if any, might be in Window and Unite without Unger. For several years, Unger and Avalon have infused the publications with cash to keep them afloat, one of the issues that caused its troubles with the SBA.
Unger’s departure comes in the wake of the collapse of HX Media. That company includes the New York Blade and the nightlife magazine HX and Unger was a minority owner. An undisclosed buyer picked up HX, while the New York Blade announced it was closing and the staff was fired.
With Unger out, it means another top-level change at SoVo and David. In April, the publisher left after a few months on the job in a revolving door that has brought four publishers in about two years. The executive that hired that publisher in 2008 later quit the company, too, but only after folding its national gay glossy Genre.