Many of Air America’s investors and executives say they thought the network had raised more than $30 million, based on assurances from its owners, Guam-based entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen. In fact, Air America had raised only $6 million, Mr. Cohen concedes. Within six weeks of the launch, those funds had been spent and the company owed creditors more than $2 million.
When the problems came to light, “we realized that we had all been duped,” says David Goodfriend, the company’s acting chief operating officer. Messrs. Cohen and Sorensen say they didn’t mislead anyone about the company’s finances. They say they planned to invest more over time but didn’t because of cultural differences with other managers. Both resigned in early May.
Five months before a presidential election, Air America should be on a roll. Instead, it’s grappling with a financial crisis. Creditors are lined up at the door, and it is off the air in two big markets, Los Angeles and Chicago.