Newspaper company tries to distance itself from ex-biz partner p. 10

By: Dorothy Giobbe TIMES PUBLISHING CO., which owns the St. Petersburg Times, is attempting to distance itself from embarrassing revelations about one of the company's business partners.
Last month, the company announced the resignation of Anthony Wunsh, president of Florida Directory Publishing Inc., a Times Publishing subsidiary which was formed in September 1994. In addition to stepping down, Wunsh sold his minority interest in the subsidiary.
The move came after Times Publishing learned that Wunsh had spent time in jail after skipping bail on a felony arson-for-hire charge. Also, Wunsh has twice filed for bankruptcy protection.
In 1988, an Illinois Grand Jury indicted Wunsh on the felony arson charge. While out on bail, Wunsh missed his court date and was arrested. Though he pleaded guilty to missing the court date, Wunsh said his absence was unintentional. He later was acquitted of the felony arson charge.
Wunsh filed for bankrupcy protection in Indiana in 1993, and Illinois in 1980.
A background check of Wunsh failed to uncover the criminal charge or the bankruptcy filings, and Wunsh did not bring them to the attention of Times Publishing officials, said the company.
Times Publishing officials learned of Wunsh's past after the Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a story detailing the incidents.
After conceding that the revelations were "embarrassing," Andrew Corty, Times Publishing vice president for affiliates and planning, said that Wunsh had not been "forthright" with the company.
However, Wunsh said that he didn't tell the company about his record because no one had asked about it.
"They never brought it up," he told the Times. "Had I been asked, I would have given a full explanation."
Wunsh has been replaced on a temporary basis by Alfred Corey, the senior sales and marketing executive of Times Publishing, Corey said.
Florida Directory Publishing was formed last year when Times Publishing acquired a majority interest in Community Smart Books, a publisher of Yellow Pages directories.
Wunsh was president of Community Smart Books, and he retained the title at the new Times Publishing subsidiary. In addition to publishing directories in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the subsidiary plans to publish directories in St. Petersburg and Tampa this year.


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