Lawyer: First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Inquirer

seamus mccaffery

The Inquirer may have the right to report on the actions of public officials, an attorney says in filings against the newspaper, but it doesn’t have the right to mislead readers into believing an official has done something wrong.

Dion Rassias, the attorney for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and McCaffery’s wife, Lise Rapaport, made the argument this week in his latest filings against the newspaper over its 2013 story about referral fees Rapaport earned from law firms that later came before her husband on the bench.

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Drew Katz Finalizes IGM Shares Sale to Gerry Lenfest

Drew Katz, left, son of Lewis Katz, right, walk with philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest to a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Lenfest and businessman Lewis Katz are taking over Philadelphia's two largest newspapers with an $88 million auction bid. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Drew Katz, left, son of Lewis Katz, right, walk with philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest to a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Lenfest and businessman Lewis Katz are taking over Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers with an $88 million auction bid. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It’s final. Drew Katz has sold his shares in Interstate General Media to Gerry Lenfest. And he affirmed Lenfest’s leadership of the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com on his way out.

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Drew Katz Still Plans to Sell IGM Shares

This just in: Drew Katz still plans to sell his shares of the Inquirer and its sister news organizations to Gerry Lenfest.

If the news has a slight “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead” quality to it — Katz originally announced he was selling his ownership stake last week — there is good reason for the update: Reports this week suggested the sale had not closed, which in turn sparked some hopes at the papers that Katz was rethinking the sale and might stay a member of the ownership group after all.

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter Plagiarized from Philadelphia Inquirer

A report in The New Republic today reveals that, in 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges had plagiarized in a story about Camden he submitted to Harper’s. The pilfered prose? A 2009 series about Camden by then-Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Katz.

Katz, who’s now at WNYC, says he hasn’t seen the piece that Harper’s editors determined Hedges cribbed from him. It didn’t run in the magazine. Hedges, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times for 15 years in the ’90s and early 2000s, has become a favorite political journalist of many liberals in the last 10 years. TNR’s Christopher Ketcham writes that he became defensive when confronted with the plagiarism.

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The Last Days of the Philadelphia Inquirer?

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Let’s stipulate many things about Gerry Lenfest. That he’s a good man. A boon to the community. Somebody whose philanthropy has enriched this city beyond the usual ways of measuring. Philadelphia is better, much better, for his devotion to us.

But he is not the man to lead the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com into the future — which is the plan, now that the auction he and Lewis Katz won two weeks ago has ended with Wednesday’s official closing, putting the organizations into his hands. His leadership may, in fact, signal the effective demise of those publications.

Let’s be blunt about the reasons why.

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Drew Katz to Sell Interest in Inquirer, Daily News

Drew Katz, left, son of Lewis Katz, right, walk with philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest to a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Lenfest and businessman Lewis Katz are taking over Philadelphia's two largest newspapers with an $88 million auction bid. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Drew Katz, left, son of Lewis Katz, right, walks with philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest to a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Drew Katz is selling his interest in Interstate General Media, the company that his late father Lewis Katz won at auction just two weeks ago after a furious months-long fight over the ownership of Philadelphia’s major newspapers. The announcement Tuesday night appears to leave Gerry Lenfest, Lewis Katz’s partner in the bidding, the sole owner of those newspapers.

“Because of the turmoil of the last 10 days, I have made a decision that it would be in the best interests of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com for me to sell my interest in the company,” Drew Katz said in an email Tuesday night. “I believe strongly that the organization would be in excellent hands under the ownership of Gerry Lenfest now and in the years to come.”

The announcement came hours after a report at BigTrial.net that Drew Katz had fallen out with Lenfest in the days since his father’s death, allegedly feeling he’d been elbowed out of decisions concerning the future of the papers by the older man — and resenting, reportedly, that Lenfest hadn’t offered any personal condolences about Lewis Katz’s death in a plane crash a week after the bidding concluded.

Drew Katz denied he’d had any falling-out with Lenfest.

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Four Things We Know About Drew Katz

Drew Katz (left) and his father, Lewis Katz, walk to Judge Patricia McInerney's courtroom, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at City Hall in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Drew Katz (left) and his father, Lewis Katz, walk to Judge Patricia McInerney’s courtroom, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at City Hall in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Anyone who’s shared a conference table with Lewis Katz knows the imposing shadow the man could cast over a boardroom. Topping out at a lanky 6’2″, his frame often clad in a suit that cost more than a used Hyundai, it often felt as if Katz, a man who had intermittently owned pieces of the New Jersey Nets, the New York Yankees, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, was more skyscraper than human being.

Only time will tell if Drew Katz, tall like his father, has what it takes to lead Philadelphia’s largest newspapers into the future without his dad around.

Lewis Katz is gone, dead at 72 after his private jet crashed at an airfield outside of Boston on Sunday less than a week after he’d won an auction to purchase the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com for $88 million with billionaire philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest. Lenfest confirmed to the Inquirer on Sunday that Katz’s son, Drew will assume his father’s position with the company moving forward. The younger Katz was thrust into the spotlight yesterday as he delivered an emotional eulogy at the moving memorial services for his father.

Due to a warped and deeply disturbing twist of fate, Drew Katz, a business mogul and philanthropist in his own right, has become one of the most powerful men in Philadelphia media almost overnight. Here’s what we know about him so far. Read more »

(UPDATE) Brian Tierney Returns to the Inquirer; Lexie Norcross Out at Philly.com

[UPDATE 3:23 pm] Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Lexie Norcross, daughter of departing owner George Norcross, is out at Philly.com:

An IGM spokesman confirmed that Lexie Norcross, daughter of George Norcross, will depart the company and her position as vice president of digital operations when the sale of the company is approved. That is scheduled to happen June 11 but with Katz’s death, that could be extended if the judge deems there to be any issues with his estate.

Lexie Norcross, 26, was a controversial figure partly because of her age and relation to George Norcross. But she also was accused of downplaying hard news in favor of fluff and tawdry stories, establishing a Philly.com newsroom that competed against Inquirer and Daily News reporters and giving Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett his own column. The two newspapers launched their own websites last year with most of the content behind pay walls.

[UPDATE 10:57 am] Lenfest follows up: “A point of clarification: In my enthusiasm for getting Brian Tierney on board, I indicated that he would be taking a leave of absence from his agency. Although he will be providing his support and attention as interim special advisor to the publisher, Brian will not be taking a leave from his company during this period.”

[ORIGINAL] Brian Tierney, the man who nearly a decade ago restored local ownership to the Inquirer and Daily News — then steered the papers into bankruptcy — is returning to the Inquirer, Interim Publisher Gerry Lenfest announced Monday morning.

“Brian Tierney will take a leave of absence from his firm to become an advisor to me focusing on advertising,” Lenfest said in an email to the the employees of the papers and Philly.com.

Tierney will be accompanied by a member of his old regime: Mark Frisby, who served as publisher of the Daily News under Tierney, “will become Associate Publisher for Operations effective immediately.”

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