Bankrupt Philly Newspaper Company Paid CEO $1.175 million after Alleged Bailout Request

Remember the outrage over the compensation paid out to AIG executives earlier this year, after the federal government had to extend a lifeline to troubled insurance provider? Will the executives of a media company receive the same treatment – should they get their wish and receive help from the government for their company?


There’s a little-publicized story that the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Newspapers LLC allegedly sought a $10-million bailout from the state of Pennsylvania according to lawsuit filed by a Chester County, Pa. charter school. However, the Associated Press reported on April 24 that the company’s chief, Brian Tierney – received $1.175 million in salary and bonus compensation in 2008, despite being forced into bankruptcy protection in February for $395 million in debt.


“Recent court filings also show that Tierney collected $1.175 million in salary and bonuses last year, somewhat higher than previously disclosed,” Maryclaire Dale wrote for the AP. “Tierney's compensation included $650,000 in salary, a $350,000 bonus for 2008, a $175,000 bonus for 2007 and $81,000 in transportation costs.”


Recently, as The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported, Tierney appeared before a House committee making a plea for government help.


“The biggest request for help at the hearing was from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Brian Tierney, who wanted protection for newspapers to talk about creating a national alternative to Craigslist,” Milbank wrote in the Post on April 22.


Milbank also reported the plea got a cold response from a government official.


“But even that seems to be too much to ask,” Milbank wrote. “‘We do not believe any additional exemptions for the newspaper industry are necessary,’ Carl Shapiro, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, informed the committee yesterday.”


The AP article also revealed Philadelphia Newspapers LLC hosted a $233,000 trip to Rome for about 70 people in 2008.


“The six-day Philadelphia Newspapers trip was an incentive for advertising managers and major advertisers, Executive Vice President Richard Thayer told a U.S. bankruptcy trustee Thursday,” Dale wrote. “The three top executives — Chief Executive Brian Tierney, Thayer and Executive Vice President Mark Frisby — and their wives also attended, he said.”