By: E&P Staff
By Ian Shapira | Washington Post
A group of fired Washington Times executives, led by the paper’s founder and Unification Church patriarch, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, has bought the 28-year-old conservative newspaper back from Moon’s eldest son for $1, saving it from a shutdown, the new owners announced Tuesday.
Moon and his lieutenants – former president and publisher Thomas McDevitt, chairman Douglas M. Joo and finance chief Keith Cooperrider, all of whom were fired by the founder’s oldest living son, Preston Moon, after he took control of the Times four years ago – will also assume the paper’s millions of dollars in debt and liabilities.
Times editors said the new owners intend to restore local and sports coverage, which had been virtually eliminated in cost-cutting moves in recent years. Circulation, last reported to the Audit Bureau of Circulations in 2008 as 87,000 on weekdays, has plummeted by nearly half, according to Times executives, and more than half the newsroom has been laid off during the son’s control of the paper.
Four years ago, Moon, known in church circles as “True Father,” gave control of the Times to Preston, but the son grew estranged from his parents and brothers, who then cut off the paper’s annual $35 million subsidy in church funds, according to Times sources and church memos.