JUDGE RULES REMOVALS A MISTAKE IN SALT LAKE

By: Lucia Moses

Says Trib Managers Should Have Retained Agency Roles


Salt Lake Tribune managers were claiming victory after a federal judge in Utah ruled Wednesday that they should not have been removed from their positions in the Newspaper Agency Corp., which acts as the business arm of the Tribune and its joint operating agreement (JOA) partner, The Deseret News.

Shortly after closing its purchase of the Tribune last month, MediaNews Group Inc. of Denver replaced Tribune Publisher Dominic Welch and General Manager Randy Frisch with its own appointees to the agency.

But U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell also upheld a section of the JOA that allows the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News to block a future sale of the Tribune.

MediaNews has said it would appeal parts of the ruling.

The decision was the latest volley in the managers’ court case challenging the sale of the Tribune, Utah’s biggest daily. They claim the deal violates agreements struck under earlier ownership that the managers say entitle them to continue operating the paper and buy it in mid-2002.

In an earlier ruling, Campbell had refused to stop the sale from proceeding.
MediaNews bought the paper for $200 million from the AT&T Corp., which was selling the paper as a noncore asset.



Lucia Moses (lmoses@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor covering business for E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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