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Ex-Tribune owners file motion over TCI merger

SHARE Ex-Tribune owners file motion over TCI merger

The same day they were in Utah's federal court attempting to put a halt to an ongoing lawsuit over ownership of the Salt Lake Tribune, the newspaper's former managers filed a motion in a Colorado state court to lift a stay on a separate but similar case.

The McCarthey family, Philip, Thomas, Sarah, Shaun and Maureen, filed the lawsuit in Denver district court in November 2001. The action was stayed in February pending a resolution of the Utah federal case.

Monday's 13-page motion argues the stay should now be lifted. "The Utah federal case, for all practical purposes, has been resolved as to those issues which justified a stay of the McCartheys' claims. As a result of these and other developments in the federal case, the reasons for the stay no longer exist."

The Colorado action seeks to unwind a 1997 merger with Telecommunications Inc. and return ownership of the Tribune to the McCartheys. Though TCI became the owner of the Tribune through a $731 million tax-free stock swap, the McCartheys retained control of the newspaper's daily operations through a five-year management agreement.

The McCartheys, under the name Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co. (SLTPC), also signed an option agreement giving them the right to purchase the Tribune from TCI after July 31, 2002. But TCI merged with AT&T in 1999, and AT&T sold the Tribune to MediaNews Group Inc. in December 2000.

In the Utah case, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart has ruled the option agreement cannot be exercised without the consent of the Deseret News, the Tribune's business partner under a 50-year-old joint operating agreement.

That decision is on appeal before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

SLTPC on Monday lost its bid to stay the Utah case until the 10th Circuit issues its decision. Instead, Stewart scheduled a Nov. 3 trial date for all remaining issues in the case.

Sale of the Salt Lake Tribune - Read Deseret News' archive stories and see related links about the sale of the Tribune.