Hollinger Committee Dismisses Black's 'New Evidence'

14 January 2004

Drops Lord Bell in Favour of US PR Crisis Specialist

Claimed 'new evidence' presented last Friday to Hollinger International's special committee by the legal counsel to Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, has been rejected.

According to a Hollinger source, nothing in the document altered the company's standpoint in the matter of the allegedly unauthorized $7.2 million in fees paid by third parties direct to Black instead of the company. Whether Black now plans (or is able) to repay the delayed first tranche of $850,000, due at midnight on Sunday, remains to be seen.

And with the inevitability of Greek tragedy, Black has been pierced by yet another arrow from the Gods -- the special committee is now probing a $276,000 salary paid by the Hollinger-owned Chicago Sun-Times to His Lordship's wife, aka Barbara Amiel.

Belying the old newspaper adage that dog does not eat dog, rival publication the Chicago Tribune cited sources suggesting that Lady Black had not set foot inside the Sun-Times offices for more than four years. She is vice-president of editorial for Hollinger Incorporated, Lord Black's holding vehicle for Hollinger International.

• Meantime, Hollinger has fired the London PR company Bell Pottinger run by another media peer, Lord Tim Bell, appointed just one month ago to pour oil on troubled waters. Instead, the hot potato has been handed to New York strategic PR firm Kekst, a specialist in corporate crisis situations.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff