Owner of LA Times, Chicago Tribune & NY Daily News pockets $15M, ticks off union


Media mogul and Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro stuffed his own stocking this Christmas with a $15 million consulting deal that has members of the Los Angeles Times newsroom union fuming. Ferro’s company owns the LA Times, as well as the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.

An SEC filing indicates Ferro hired Merrick Media, another company owned by Ferro, to pay out $15 million over the next three years to “provide certain management expertise and technical services.”

The filing states the annual fee of $5 million each year until 2020 will be paid in cash, as well as in advance on the first business day of each calendar year.

The Los Angeles Times Guild is more than just displeased with the announcement. On their website, they ridiculed and mocked Ferror by writing that the hefty deal “would cover the cost of his sleek Bombardier jet and any other luxury travel he chooses to indulge in.”

The Guild continued:

“In fact, Ferro gets the money even if he never takes to the skies again — or leaves the house. This is all according to a SEC filing that Tronc clearly timed for the Friday afternoon before Christmas.

It essentially replaces the leasing arrangement in which Tronc paid Ferro’s Merrick Ventures for his own use of the jet. That act of plundering cost Tronc — and its newsrooms — $4.6 million between February 2016 and last September. Ferro is now free to spend nearly twice that amount per year on the jet or anything else he desires. And he won’t have to break out the travel expenses on future SEC filings.”

The Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee has asked Tronc to allow NewsGuild, the organization that represents journalists at The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the Associated Press, to be recognized as its representative in a case against Ferro.

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