Advertiser Sues Tribune Co. Over Bad Circ Numbers

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(AP) An advertiser sued the Tribune Co. in response to the company’s announcement that it inflated circulation numbers at two of its newspapers.

Olympic Carpet’s lawsuit alleges that Tribune defrauded advertisers by inflating the figures. Advertising rates are commonly set according to newspaper circulation.

The Chicago-based media company said in June that circulation figures had been inflated at Newsday of Melville, N.Y., and at Hoy, a Spanish-language daily launched by Newsday and owned by Tribune.

Four New York-based business owners sued Tribune and Newsday in February. Thursday’s lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, did not name any of the company’s 14 newspapers specifically.

However, an attachment to the lawsuit included two monthly bills from Exito, the former name of the Tribune Co.’s Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago. Tribune changed Exito’s name last fall to Hoy to match its sister publication in New York.

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said the company planned a statement later.

Another Chicago-based newspaper company has said it overstated circulation numbers. Executives in charge of circulation for the Chicago Sun-Times left their jobs after parent company Hollinger International Inc. announced it had inflated circulation numbers “for several years.”

Advertisers filed two lawsuits against the Sun-Times and Hollinger International in response to the company’s announcement.

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