Worcester judge blocks sale of New England Media Group
THE SALE TO RED SOX owner John W. Henry of the New England Media Group – which includes The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette – has been blocked by Worcester Superior Court Judge Shannon Frison, at the request of lawyers who say the sale could prevent their clients from collecting any future settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought against the Telegram in 2009.
WORCESTER – A Superior Court judge has blocked the proposed sale of The New England Media Group – which includes The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette – to Red Sox owner John W. Henry, the Telegram reported Tuesday.
Judge Shannon Frison issued a temporary restraining order on the sale at the request of lawyers representing independent newspaper carriers who filed a class-action lawsuit against the Telegram in 2009, the Telegram report said.
“All of the proceeds of the sale should be put in escrow while the parties work this out,” said James M. Galliher of Fitchburg, who represents the carriers. He said that “creative accounting” from the sale of the Telegram could render the Worcester newspaper “basically worthless,” thereby possibly preventing his clients from collecting if the case were settled in their favor.
In her temporary restraining order, Frison wrote that the Telegram “is hereby enjoined and restrained from transferring ownership or interest in any of its assets ... until further order of this court,” and that the court “retains the prerogative to inspect the financial documents of the defendant” to determine how much the Telegram is worth.
Frison also issued subpoenas to The New York Times Co. – which owns The New England Media Group – Mr. Henry, The Boston Globe and the Telegram & Gazette, ordering them to turn over all documents relating to the sale.
The New York Times Co. and Henry – who had planned to close the sale of The New England Media group on Friday – asked Monday that the judge’s restraining order be lifted, on the stipulation that The New York Times would designate a sum of money to pay a future settlement in the case, but the Telegram reported that New York Times lawyer Mark W. Batten said the newspaper will not assume liability for the lawsuit just to allow the sale to go through.
“I don’t think it was ever The New York Times’ intent to write a blank check to fulfill this judgment,” Batten said in court Monday.