December 15, 2018

TRIBUNE, TRONC AND BEYOND: A SLUR, A SECRET PAYOUT AND A LOOMING SALE:

At the dinner, as at other moments, [Chicago investor Michael Ferro, who ran Tribune Publishing, which then-published the L.A. Times] railed against those who he felt were impeding him — including perceived rivals and competitors. Among them: the Southern California billionaire and civic leader Eli Broad, whom Ferro called part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles.

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Early this year, however, Tribune Publishing made the first in a series of secret payments to total more than $2.5 million to avert a threatened lawsuit filed by a fired newspaper executive, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. That had the effect of keeping Ferro’s anti-Semitic slur out of the public spotlight.

The payments, reported here for the first time, are stark embodiments of the consequences of Ferro’s actions that contributed to a series of crises at Tribune Publishing. The LA Times has been sold. Tribune Publishing has put itself on the auction block and is reviewing three bids from potential buyers.

Ferro no longer controls day-to-day operations; he stepped down as chairman after sexual harassment accusations arose involving his conduct outside Tribune Publishing.

According to NPR, the fired official was then-editor in chief Davan Maharaj, who “hired a prominent Beverly Hills attorney to pursue a wrongful termination suit. Maharaj had ammunition, having recorded Ferro in unguarded conversation with associates.”

Read the whole thing.

Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times tweets, “You’re the editor of the LA Times. You find out the CEO is an anti-Semite. Do you: a) confront him? b) assign an investigative reporter to expose him? Or c) use the information to get a $2.5M personal payout at a time the company is laying off journalists and closing bureaus?”

C’mon – it’s the L.A. Times; he newspaper that “kept rockin’” as it buried the John Edwards story in 2008 and has still kept the tape of Obama’s meeting with former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi in 2003 in the vault. Of course, you ignore the story. Or as Jim Treacher would say:

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