Journo Friends Raise About $40,000 for Ousted Santa Barbara Editor

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Supporters of former Santa Barbara News-Press editor Jerry Roberts raised nearly $40,000 at an honorary roast held to help him pay legal bills from a $25 million claim brought against him by the newspaper’s owner, Wendy McCaw.

Roberts, who also worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, quit his job at the News-Press in July along with several other top editors amid complaints that McCaw improperly interfered with the paper’s editorial content. Since then, dozens of other New-Press staff members have either quit or been fired.

In a letter posted on a Web site dedicated to his defense, Roberts said the arbitration claim was based on “spurious allegations that I conspired to damage the paper and violated my employment contract by speaking out against breaches of journalistic ethics.”

Tuesday’s dinner at AT&T Park featured roasts from Chronicle Executive Editor Phil Bronstein, Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, political consultant Gale Kaufman and others.

Allen Matthews, the Chronicle’s assistant managing editor, said the final take from the event was not yet tallied, but that he expected it to be close to $40,000.

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