Billionaire Joe Ricketts announced Thursday that New York City news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist are shutting down, citing financial struggles just a week after employees voted to unionize. 

Reporters and editors at DNAinfo and Gothamist voted to unionize last week. Local news sites owned by Ricketts in Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago will also go dark. The websites’ archives have also been completely wiped, leaving no trace of past articles.

“DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure,” Ricketts wrote in a letter posted to the websites. “And while we made progress toward building DNAinfo into a successful business, in the end, that progress hasn’t been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded.” {mosads}

“I’m hopeful that in time, someone will crack the code on a business that can support exceptional neighborhood storytelling for I believe telling these stories remains essential,” he added. 

The decision will put 115 journalists in those cities out of work, according to The New York Times

Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade, donated more than $1 million to President Trump’s campaign after he originally sought to prevent his nomination during the primaries. Trump targeted Ricketts on Twitter before Ricketts offered his support. 

“I hear the Rickets (sic) family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” Trump tweeted in February 2016.

Trump nominated Ricketts’s son, Todd, as deputy commerce secretary, though he eventually declined the post.

Ricketts started DNAinfo in 2009, and the site merged in March with Gothamist.


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