Monday, March 26, 2007

GateHouse CEO: Black tried to bilk CNHI out of $9 million plus

During the trial of former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black today in federal court in Chicago, GateHouse Media CEO Michael Reed testified that Black tried to get more than $9 million in extra payments from him during a deal he made to buy Hollinger papers when Reed was still with Community Newspaper Holdings:

Michael Reed, ex-CEO of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., told jurors today at Black's Chicago fraud trial the request was part of his company's $92 million acquisition in 2000. Mark Kipnis, then Hollinger's general counsel, asked that $9.5 million be wired to the executives as the deal closed, said Reed.

``It just didn't seem like the right thing to do,'' Reed said, explaining his refusal. He is now CEO of the Fairport, New York-based community publisher Gatehouse Media Inc.

The testimony was part of the government's effort to show that Black, 62, and other defendants used unnecessary noncompete agreements to siphon $60 million from the company as it sold almost $3 billion in assets from 1998 to 2001.

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