Thursday, September 02, 2004

The action is about to begin again.
According to , a new version of the old Diamond Forums is starting. Someone one else has the domain name so the new address is
Participation in the original Diamond Forums began slowly but soon took off with most of the posts directed at the ongoing situation in the school district.
Though R-4 Superintendent Mark Mayo claimed time after time that he read it once or twice, then never bothered with it again, it was pretty obvious that was not the case.
He made continued efforts to have the site shut down, threatening lawsuits, claiming that there were numerous incidents of libel (from what I read, most of the posts were opinion which is protected by the U. S. Constitution and none of the posts were libelous).
I would guess the new incarnation of Diamond Town Forums will probably meet with the same reaction from the superintendent. And to think that students in the Diamond R-4 School District are learning the meaning of the Constitution from teacher/coaches hired by this man.
It has been a long time since Hollinger, a Canadian company, owned The Neosho Daily News and The Carthage Press. From the articles in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media outlets yesterday, that is apparently a good thing.
Many people did not realize during the 1990s that the Daily's ownership was not located in the United States. Hollinger, the parent company, put all of its U. S. Newspapers under the umbrella name of American Publishing. Most of the newspapers were small, but a year or two before Liberty Group Publishing broke away from Hollinger, the company bought the Chicago Sun-Times.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a report was issued yesterday by a committee selected by Hollinger officials to determine the extent to which the company's former CEO, Lord Conrad Black, mismanaged Hollinger.
The report indicated that Black and another former company official, David Radler, "siphoned off more than $400 million in the course of seven years." Of course, all of this activity took place after the Daily and the Press were no longer in the Hollinger fold.
The report said Black spent $24,950 for "summer drinks" and $90,000 to refurbish his Rolls Royce. Also, $2,083 for exercise equipment, $2,463 for handbags, $3,530 for silverware for a corporate jet.
From the Journal article: "According to the report, a birthday party for Mrs. Black at New York's La Grenouille restaurant cost the company $42,870 and fed 80 guests, including Oscar DeLaRenta, Peter Jennings, Charlie Rose, Barbara Walters, and Ron Perlman."
The report also indicated that Black and Radler received $218.4 million between 1997 and 2003in "management fees," for things which should have been farmed out to actual managers. The purpose of these fees, the report concluded, was to offer Black and Radler far greater benefits than they would have received through traditional compensation packages.
There is no indication in the report whether the committee investigated the years prior to 1997 when The Neosho Daily and The Carthage Press would have been Hollinger newspapers.

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