Court OK’s ‘Sun-Times’ Circulation Lawsuit Settlement

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By: E&P Staff

Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court Judge Bernetta D. Bush signed an order approving the final settlement of the consolidated class action lawsuits brought by advertisers who alleged they had been defrauded by the inflated circulations claimed by the Chicago Sun-Times and its suburban sibling the Daily Southtown, the papers’ publishing company, Hollinger International Inc., said Monday.

Under the terms of the settlement, which Hollinger disclosed last September, the company willl pay the complaining advertisers $7.7 million in cash plus up to $7.3 million in free or discounted advertising. Hollinger also said it would also pay the legal costs of the plaintiffs up to a total of $5.575 million.

Last fall, the Sun-Times reached settlements with about 400 of its largest advertisers after separate negotiations were approved by the court. Hollinger said it settled with those advertisers — who accounted for approximately 58% of advertiser claims — for $10 million in cash and $6.8 million in advertising benefits “to advertisers continuing to advertise with the paper at specified levels.”

The settlement resolves virtually all the lawsuits that followed the newspaper’s revelation in 2003 that it had been overstating its circulation for eight years, and by as much as 50,000 copies a day. Circulation overstatements were also found at the Daily Southtown and the Jerusalem Post in Israel, then owned by Hollinger.

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