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Old 02-06-2011, 06:00 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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I know how much you love Gary Wiviott so I thought you might find this
interesting. It was just posted over in chi.eats.

Lou


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-01/features/chi-bankruptcy-puts-lth-forum-up-for-sale-20110601_1_bankruptcy-protection-bidding-sale

Bankruptcy puts LTH Forum up for sale
June 01, 2011|By Steve Cavendish | Tribune reporter
LTH Forum, one of the most robust online communities for Chicago food
enthusiasts, is for sale. The bidding currently stands at $40,000.

How is a website with no advertising, no plans for advertising and one
that
still looks like an off-the-shelf bulletin board circa 2002 worth that
much?


None of the parties involved with the sale are exactly sure, but there
is at
least one bid filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court.

The sale has been triggered by the personal bankruptcy of LTH Forum
founder
Gary Wiviott. Created in 2004 by a group of commenters from the
Chowhound
boards, LTH Forum (the LTH stands for Chinatown restaurant Little
Three
Happiness) has become a message board for passionate food devotees and
a
crib sheet for tourists and food writers. In recent years the forum
launched
the "Great Neighborhood Restaurants" awards, which the community
designates
as great eating finds in and around Chicago.

In 2007, Wiviott borrowed a sum of money from charter LTH member Peter
Daane, a local attorney, with the promise to repay or refinance it.
When the
amount was not repaid, Daane sued in 2009 and received a default
judgment.
Wiviott filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2010. LTH Forum
was one
of the assets listed by Wiviott, and a bankruptcy trustee has now put
that
asset up for sale.

Which brings us to Wednesday, when Daane peppered members of the
media, some
LTH members and a few blogs with an email announcing that bidding for
the
site had begun. An initial bid has been made by LTH Acquisition LLC, a
partnership of LTH charter members David Dickson, Ron Kaplan and Steve
Zaransky.

What is LTH Forum worth? It has never sold advertising or marketed its
membership. Wiviott said "the thought has crossed my mind, but it's an
enthusiasts site. It has never been monetized." He says he listed its
value
as $0 when it was filed with the court.

Dickson said that he and his partners, active LTH members, do not
expect to
make any money from the site.

"That's not the goal. We like the site as it is. Our primary objective
is to
maintain continuity," he said. "We're all in a position in our lives
where
we can do this. This is a labor of love for us.

"Our hope is that everyone who is currently involved with the site
would
continue to be," Dickson said. That includes Wiviott.

Daane, who has an interest in a higher price, thinks the site is worth
"substantially more."

"Somebody could, if they want, mine the database or place ads on the
website," he said. Though he was once an active member and moderator,
Daane
said he has not participated since 2007.

When asked if this was personal, Daane asked to go off the record,
then he
relented and referred The Stew to an email that described the
situation a
"nightmare."

"I just want my money back," he said.



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