Court documents reveal that Howard Saltz, editor of the Sun-Sentinel, bailed on more than $3 million in debts just months after arriving in South Florida last year. There is also evidence of numerous foreclosures, repossessions, and short sales on properties Saltz invested in over the course of about ten years, as detailed in this week's print edition.
He owed a lot of money to a lot of companies -- some of which appear in the Sun-Sentinel quite frequently. It doesn't look like his staff was aware of the filing, though at least one former colleague in Denver said Saltz was "constantly" on the phone with tenants during working hours. New Times came to Saltz with these findings, to which he provided several answers that turned out to be false.
Check out the full story for the details, but below is my last email requesting comment from Saltz about the largest questions surrounding his proceedings; they're some of the questions you might be curious about from the editor of the daily paper in town. Below that, if you're that interested, is his petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Sent July 19:
Hi Howard--Howard Saltz Bankruptcy Petition
This is my last email of questions for the upcoming story about your bankruptcy filings. I can include your response if it's received by Friday at 2; I look forward to hearing from you.
--On page 14 of your wife's bankruptcy filing, she lists both your and her address as 333 SW 12th Ave. in Deerfield Beach. That's a Sun-Sentinel facility -- why was it included in these documents?
--Why did you not file for bankruptcy jointly with your wife? Why did she file two days after your discharge? Were you attempting to avoid a foreclosure or other proceeding using the automatic stay that came with the proceedings?
--A former Denver Post colleague says there were frustrations with you because of the perception that you spent a significant portion of the work day attending to your real-estate investments. Do you have a response to these statements? Did you attend to personal business from your office at the Denver Post?
--You said in your earlier response that "I am detached. Someone else managed the properties," but former tenants say you were definitely their landlord and the manager of the property they lived at. Can you explain this? What did you mean when you said someone else managed the properties?
--You also characterized these filings as "a business bankruptcy, not a personal bankruptcy," a claim directly contradicted by expert analysis of the paperwork. Do you have assets and debts not listed in these documents? Why is information about your monthly expenses, personal vehicle, and Sun-Sentinel income included, but other assets and debts excluded? Why were they excluded?
--Why did you not return the $1,600 security deposit from the tenants living at your property at 2706 E. 12th Ave. in Denver? They say you lost control of the house to the bank about a month before they had to move out, and that you kept the security deposit because you didn't receive rent for that month. Is this true? Why is that money yours?
--Why did you tell the courts you intended to keep the property at 98 W. Byers Place even though, according to your documents, you owe far more than the property is worth?
--I know these questions have already been asked, but I wanted to reiterate that I think readers would very much like to know if and when you notified your employers at the Sun-Sentinel of your bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, how can readers be sure your debts to these companies have not affected your newspaper's coverage of real estate, banking or foreclosures? Why should someone who has been discharged of hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgage debts be depended upon to lead coverage of a mortgage crisis?
Again, I'd much prefer to speak on the phone (954-233-1547) about this than talk via email. But if email is the only way you will respond, I'll keep an eye out for a message.
Village Voice Media // New Times Broward-Palm Beach