Merrillville ‘Post-Tribune’ Not Guilty of Discrimination

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A white former employee of the Merrillville, Ind. Post-Tribune failed to prove that managers at the newspaper denied her a promotion to head its Gary bureau because they wanted a black person in the job, a U.S. District Court jury found.

The newspaper maintained that it hired the black applicant because he had a more impressive resume than Kimberly Steele, who alleged discrimination.

Steele, who was deputy Lifestyle editor, claimed that in 2004 that she was passed over for the job as editor in charge of coverage of the predominantly black city of Gary because managers wanted a black candidate.

Steele filed the federal lawsuit in 2006. She had sought $250,000 in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages.

Steele’s attorney, Peter Katsaros, said the application process that led to the hiring of Lovell Beaulieu was “fixed” and that “a qualified journalist was pushed to the back of the bus.”

The eight-member jury reached its verdict Tuesday for the newspaper after slightly more than one-half hour of deliberation following the six-day trial.

Post-Tribune Publisher Murdoch Davis said the allegation that Beaulieu was hired because of his race “rather than his outstanding qualifications was an insult to him and offensive to all of us.”

Steele resigned from the Merrillville-based newspaper in February.

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