‘PiPress’ Publisher: Par Ridder Took ‘Confidential’ Info

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By: E&P Staff

Former St. Paul Pioneer Press Publisher Par Ridder took “sensitive and confidential” information about the newspaper with him when he defected to the cross-river rival Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ridder’s replacement claims.

In an article in Friday’s Pioneer Press, interim Publisher Fred Mott said Ridder took a company-owned laptop with him to the Star Tribune. A Pioneer Press employee was sent to get the laptop the day Ridder’s departure was announced. But Mott told the Pioneer Press that the paper has determined Ridder took data from the hard drive, “including five years worth of W-2 income information for all Pioneer Press employees, sensitive e-mails and other data about the company,” according to the article by John Welbes.

“We found out about it when we asked him for his computer back,” Mott told the paper. He added that Ridder “has been asked to desist from using it.”

Mott said the Pioneer Press would also take legal action against one of two senior executives who also left to take similar positions at the Star Tribune.

Mott said Jennifer Parratt, who directed the Pioneer Press’ targeted publications unit, had a non-compete clause that the paper believes prevents her from taking a job with the Star Tribune for a year after leaving the job. Parratt was hired this week by the Star Tribune.

The article reported Kevin Desmond, the Pioneer Press’ vice president of operations, told Mott Thursday that he is going to work at the Star Tribune.

Ridder did not have a non-compete clause in his employment contract, according to the paper’s parent company, MediaNews Group Inc. Mott said that the Pioneer Press isn’t contemplating legal action related to the claims about data on the laptop.

In Friday’s article, Mott said he is reviewing who has non-compete clauses in their contracts, and whether they should be implemented.

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