Former Tribune Employees File Lawsuit
A group of former Salt Lake Tribune employees have filed a lawsuit to suspend the newspaper's joint operating agreement with the Deseret News, arguing the terms of the agreement violate federal antitrust laws and undermine the Tribune's independent voice.
The 30-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday says the agreement that was revised in October gives too much control to the Deseret News, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In May, Sen. Jim Dabakis (D- Salt Lake) said that these changes were contrived by the Deseret News and a New York hedge fund to secure the Desert News as a singular informative voice for Utah.
“When the Deseret News sat down and negotiated this deal with the New York hedge fund, they knew that the Tribune could not survive,” Dabakis said. “Subsequently, the voice — the editorial voice — in this state would be dead and they would be the only party left standing in the monopoly.”
The group previously sent a letter asking the U.S. Justice Department to review the recently revised six-decade-old agreement between Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers.
Under the revised agreement, the Deseret News bought the Tribune's share of a printing plant and will get 70 percent of the profits, up from 42 percent before, leaving just 30 percent for the already struggling Salt Lake Tribune.