By: E&P Staff
Louis Sito, the executive who apparently jump-started Newsday’s stalled circulation while creating the other seemingly fast-growing Spanish-language daily Hoy, has surrendered to federal authorities on charges related to circulation fraud at the papers, Newsday reported Monday.
Sito will plead guilty when he is arraigned on fraud charges, and has agreed to cooperate with investigators, according to the story by staff writers Robert E. Kessler and James T. Madore. The story quoted “sources familiar with the surrender.”
Four former Newsday executives, all of whom reported to Sito, have previously been indicted in the federal fraud case. Among them is Robert Brennan, the former vice president for circulation that Newsday has reported to be cooperating with investigators.
Newsday said Sito went by himself to U.S. District Court in Brooklyn Friday afternoon to surrender to the pre-trial services office. The paper said he declined to make any comment. He could not be reached Monday morning.
A photo published in Monday’s editions of Hoy showed a grim-faced Sito with a mustache noticeably grayer since his last public appearance two years ago, when the circulation scandals were first revealed.
Newsday reported that federal officials apparently wanted to keep Sito’s surrender and arraignment a secret, “and switched the site of the arraignment several times after observing Newsday reporters in the courthouse.”
Sito was publisher of Hoy and vice president of Hispanic Media for Tribune Co. in 2000 when it was discovered that Newsday’s circulation had been inflated by nearly 100,000 copies–and that Hoy had barely half the circulation it claimed.
Citing unnamed sources, Newsday has previously reported that a circulation subcontractor has alleged to authorities that he paid $1 million in kickbacks during the 1990s.
Tribune paid advertisers about $90 million in restitution related to the circulation fraud.