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NPR: Tronc's $2.5M payout to former LA Times publisher to keep ‘secret recordings’ from coming to light

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 10:  Deflated balloons hang from a tree outside the entrance to the Los Angeles Times building after the Tribune Co. announced that it wants to split its broadcasting and publishing businesses into two companies on July 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The new Tribune Publishing Co. would own the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and six other daily papers. In addition the those newspapers, the Chicago-based Tribune currently owns 23 TV stations, including KTLA-TV, cable network WGN America.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images
Deflated balloons hang from a tree outside the entrance to the Los Angeles Times building on July 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

NPR is reporting that Tronc - the former owner of the Los Angeles Times - paid its then publisher Davan Maharaj $2.5 million dollars to keep recordings he had secretly taped of company chairman Michael Ferro using a racial slur.

NPR is reporting that Tronc - the former owner of the Los Angeles Times - paid its then publisher Davan Maharaj $2.5 million dollars to keep recordings he had secretly taped of company chairman Michael Ferro using a racial slur.

Ferro was chairman of Tronc. And he was taped during a meeting in Chicago in 2016 in which he allegedly called billionaire Eli Broad part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles. The story has caused ripples in the LA media circle, particularly in the LA Times newsroom.

The Los Angeles Times was sold to new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong earlier this year.

Here to talk about his reporting is NPR’s David Folkenflik, who broke the story.

Read David Folkenflik’s full story here.

We reached out to the LA Times, and they provided us with this quote from their reporting on the story:



Maharaj, through a representative, said the settlement was not being properly portrayed.



"We reject any assertion that Davan received any payments to keep information secret. Tronc and Maharaj agreed on a confidential settlement that reflected almost 30 years of exceptional service to the Los Angeles Times," his attorney Eric George said Wednesday night.

Owner and executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, had this to say regarding the comments made about Eli Broad:



 "I was so very disappointed to read about the distasteful comments made about Eli Broad. He and [wife] Edythe are civic leaders in Los Angeles and they have contributed much in the sciences and the arts to the city and the nation. I am so glad that we were able to take over The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. This is behind us now, and we should move forward."

We also reached out to Eli Broad, who declined our request.

Guest:

David Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR who broke this story; he tweets

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