Wednesday, August 23, 2000

By: Mark Fitzgerald


Pressmaker Accuses Hollinger Of ‘Breach Of Contract’

by Mark Fitzgerald

In the latest development from the floundering installation of six
offset color printing presses at the new $100 million Chicago Sun-Times
production plant, pressmaker Goss Graphic Systems is exercising its
right to go to arbitration for what it says is breach of contract by
the tabloid’s owner, Hollinger International.

As first reported by E&P, problems with the installation have stalled
the Sun-Times’ plans to celebrate its conversion from letterpress
printing by relaunching the paper with a dramatic new redesign.
Hollinger’s top production executive, Jack Ferguson, said the poor
quality of newspapers printed on the new presses – and their
unreliability – can be blamed on design, manufacture and installation
problems by Goss. Hollinger has been withholding payments for the
press and in June kicked Goss personnel out of the new facility.

After several weeks of silence, Goss now says Hollinger itself is to
blame for the installation problems. ‘The original Sun-Times contract
was modified when Hollinger selected a non-Goss inking system for the
presses against Goss’ recommendations,’ Goss said in a statement.
‘Hollinger’s decision to use an inker untested in this configuration
significantly delayed installation and performance of the presses.
The situation was compounded by construction site delays, labor
problems at the facility and a separately purchased conveyor system
which did not comply with Goss folder specifications.’

Hollinger’s Ferguson said Goss’ portrayal of the installation is
‘just totally untrue.’ He said the inking system, manufactured by
British-based Printing Press Services International, was working
‘perfectly’ and had not only been tested at Goss’ own British plant
but has been installed successfully on many of Hollinger’s Canadian

There were no labor problems by Sun-Times production workers during
the installation, Ferguson said. Goss, he said, had a contractual
obligation to see that its folders – which he said are the biggest
problem on the presses – worked with the Heidelberg-manufactured
conveyor system.

Goss Chairman, President and CEO Jim Sheehan said the company had
committed considerable manpower and resources on the Sun-Times
installation. ‘Goss has never abandoned any customer,’ he said in a
statement. ‘Even during our financial troubles last year, we stayed
focused on our customers and worked diligently to complete and service
Goss installations throughout the country.’


Mark Fitzgerald ( is editor at large
for E&P.

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(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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