– Going Belly Up?

June 01 2011 - 4:57 PM

As far as foodie sites go, is a Chicago institution. Unfortunately, there are some bad financial happenings. The mark is owned by Gary Wiviott but he’s only one of the founders of the site so it’s unclear whether the kids bounce house whole site is up for sale or if it’s simply Gary’s share of ownership. He owes Peter Daane some dough and declared bankruptcy.

Earlier today the presiding judge in the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, In Re Gary Wiviott, Debtor Case No. 10-52363, approved the Trustee’s Motion for Order Authorizing Sale of Assets Pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, which provides for the sale of all of Gary Wiviott’s interest in LTH Forum on June 29, 2011.

The whole situation seems pretty sticky… This is from a letter from Mr. Daane via Timeout:

On September 15 of 2009, I filed a lawsuit against Gary.  Gary did not bother to participate in or defend the litigation.  I took a default judgment against Gary and proceeded with a Citation to Discover Assets to recover the judgment.  Gary did not comply with the CDA.  First, he was sanctioned $20,000 by the court and then an order for body attachment (arrest warrant) was issued.  I also served summons on his mother, the Trustee of his personal trust.   On November 24, 2010 Gary filed bankruptcy which stayed the various court actions and my collection of the judgment.

What’s a yet-to-be-monetized foodie site worth? Having owned one for over 6 years, I’m keenly watching. Apparantly the opening bid is $40K. It seems that the “labor of love” moniker applies here. That said, LTH is a forum. What’s a forum worth? Surely no more than the people who visit? How hard would it be to move people to a new forum? Would they go to one that’s monetized and earning revenue or would they be more interested in another “labor of love”?