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After stinging criticism, tronc reportedly calls cops on picketing reporters

Friday, May 18, 2018

* Joe Cahill

There are excessive executive compensation packages, and then there are outright giveaways. Put Tronc’s recent payment of $15 million to former Chairman Michael Ferro in the latter category.

The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers disclosed last week that it accelerated payment of $15 million in fees under a three-year consulting agreement with Ferro and his private company, handing over the entire amount in the first quarter. Ferro retired from Tronc in March, shortly before Fortune magazine reported that two women had accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. A month later, he announced plans to sell his controlling stake in Tronc to a group including a distant relative of the McCormick family that once ran the Tribune. […]

Tronc has provided scant detail on what services Ferro has performed or will perform under the consulting agreement. The agreement itself, attached to a Tronc filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, contains no clause requiring a lump-sum advance payout of the entire $15 million under any circumstances. […]

Tronc’s financial outlook only grows darker, as online revenue sources fail to offset the impact of digital competition on print advertising dollars. The top line dipped again in the first quarter, falling 3 percent to $355.6 million, and the net loss quintupled to $14.8 million. (By the way, Tronc blamed most of the loss on the $15 million payment to Ferro.)

So, almost its entire quarterly loss is blamed on the accelerated Ferro payment. Great business practices.

* Today is tronc shareholder meeting day…



* Tribune writer and union member Michael Hawthorne noted earlier today that tronc paid $1.3 million to lease a jet from a Ferro company and paid a half million dollars for stadium suite leases, including apparently paying for Ferro to go to the Cubs’ World Series while tronc “fired sportswriters, cut back on travel and operated a bug-riddled website seemingly designed to drive readers away.” His conclusion…



* Today…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Perrid - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    I read the part that said the contract didn’t require “a lump-sum advance payout of the entire $15 million under any circumstances” but would it really be that easy to break the contract entirely? To me it looks more like a buyout, “Here, take your money and get out and never speak to us again”, not a golden parachute. But I obviously don’t know that.


  2. - PJ - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    Tronc is disgusting. What a tough time to be a reporter. I’d never give that crap company a dime.


  3. - 44th - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    Dangerous looking group, call the po po immediately. Trib saved the city from burning buildings and turned over cars….


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    You’d think there’s the makings of a shareholder lawsuit in regards the Ferro shenanigans. Tronc is a publicly traded corporation; just because he was the largest shareholder doesn’t give him the right to abuse his position to rob the place blind.


  5. - Robert the 1st - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    =bug-riddled website seemingly designed to drive readers away=

    That’s why I canceled my subscription. It was around the time they added the “pay to promote your comment” brilliant feature.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Pretty pathetic of tronc to call the cops on peaceful demonstrators. This company totally justifies workers forming a union.

    Hang tough, CT Guild. Many are standing with you.


  7. - Nearly Normal - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    Those union “thugs” look pretty dangerous to me! LOL, just like the teacher union “thugs” who picketed in WVA, OK, AZ, KY, NC, etc.


  8. - Claud Peppers - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 2:26 pm:

    I didn’t know what Ferro looked like until now. He is not as regal as Sir Conrad Black.


  9. - JoanP - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 2:37 pm:

    = It was around the time they added the “pay to promote your comment” brilliant feature. =

    That was a truly bizarre “feature”. It’s gone now, with nothing in its place (no commenting for now at all).


  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    Do they really need the police? Can’t they send John Kass down to turn a hose on them?


  11. - Moe Berg - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    For a chuckle, a section from the Trib’s “Statement of Principles”:

    The Tribune believes in the traditional principles of limited government; maximum individual responsibility; and minimum restriction of personal liberty, opportunity and enterprise. It believes in free markets, free will and freedom of expression.


  12. - wordslinger - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 3:20 pm:

    –He is not as regal as Sir Conrad Black.–

    That’s Conrad Moffat Black, the Right Honourable Lord Black of Crohssharbour, KSG, to you.

    Also, convicted felon, deported to Canada, barred from re-entering the United States.

    Also, convict


  13. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, May 18, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Rough crowd of union thugs. Looks like they might riot and throw kombucha on someone.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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