Down East 2013 ©
After only four months, the partnership  between Westbrook-based Current Publishing  and Biddeford resident David Flood has come to an abrupt end. According to a news release  from Current publisher Lee Hews, Flood has “resigned” as publisher of the company’s three York County weeklies: the Sun Chronicle (Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach), the Weekly Observer (Sanford, Springvale), and the Reporter (Waterboro, Alfred, Lyman, Limerick, Shapleigh and Newfield).
Flood’s departure means more than a change on the masthead. In an email, Hews confirmed that Current is laying off three people – an advertising representative, an office worker, and a reporter – although she said the company might rehire the reporter “once we figure out what we have.” Current is also closing its Biddeford office, which is located in a building Flood owns, and moving all staff to its office in Westbrook. In her release, Hews said her papers are “showing tremendous growth,” and she hopes to open a small sales office in the Biddeford area in the near future.
Flood built a chain of weeklies in York and Cumberland counties that he sold to the Sample Media Group a little more than five years ago. At that time he signed a non-compete agreement that kept him out of the newspaper business until it expired in February of this year. He then entered into the agreement with Current, which was supposed to include an equity stake in the company at some point, and began competing against his old publications.
According to a source in the media business, Flood, who resigned his seat on the Biddeford City Council when he signed on with Current to avoid potential conflicts of interest, was dissatisfied with the financial returns on his investment. Hews declined to comment on what lead to the breakup.
Disclosure: My weekly political column and other writing run in some Current publications. The column also runs in two of the Flood-founded weeklies now owned by Mainely Media, a subsidiary of Sample Media.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org .