Facing debts of more than $1 million stemming from a faile publishing company, Theodore G. "Ted" Venetoulis, a former Baltimore County executive and publishing executive, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday.
The personal bankruptcy filing in federal court in Baltimore came more than a month after Maryland National Bank seized the assets of the Record Printing and Composition Co., a commercial printing operation in Silver Spring owned by Mr. Venetoulis and two other investors.
Later, on April 13, Maryland National filed suits in Baltimore County Circuit Court claiming the company's three owners owed the bank $2.98 million. The bank is seeking $1.2 million from Mr. Venetoulis alone.
"We are not in a position to coment on the nature of our relations with a customer, particularly when litigation is involved," said Maryland National spokesman Daniel Finney.
Mr. Venetoulis, president of the company that owned the printing firm, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1978 at the end of a four-year term as Baltimore County executive.
Since leaving office, he has bought and sold a variety of publications, including a collection of Baltimore suburban weeklies, San Francisco Magazine and weeklies in the Washington suburbs.
He also occasionally appears as a political commentator for WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
Mr. Venetoulis, who owns a home in affluent Green Spring Valley, said the filing lists his assets at more than $1 million and his liabilities at more than $1 million. More precise figures were not available.
The filing does not include his wife, Lynn Morrison Venetoulis, and will not affect the Orioles Gazette, a baseball publication with a circulation of 30,000 that is published twice a month from April to Oct. and monthly the rest of the year.
Even though he is the publisher of the 2-year-old paper, Mr. Venetoulis said, he does not have an ownership interest in the publication. He declined to identify the owner.
He also refused to say which of his personal assets were involved in the filing, other than to say "real estate and stocks." Mr. Venetoulis said it did not involve any business operations.
The effects of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Maryland National's previous actions against Record Printing and Composition were unclear. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 11 allows a debtor to reorganize while protecting assets from creditors.
Mr. Venetoulis bought Record Printing and Composition in 1988 along with Vicki L. Bagley, the owner of a Washington real estate company, and Lanny J. Davis, a Washington lawyer and Montgomery County Democratic official.