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Ex-Trib manager’s finances off limits

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The financial status of the former managers of the Salt Lake Tribune will not be discussed at a two-day motion hearing next week.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart issued an order Friday that he will not hear evidence on a claim by new Tribune owner MediaNews Group Inc. that Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co. cannot afford to purchase the paper under a 1997 option agreement.

Stewart ordered that attorneys focus on the legal issues raised in various other motions outstanding in the 2 1/2-year-old case.

At the close of the hearing, which begins Wednesday morning and is expected to conclude Thursday, Stewart said he will consider what other proceedings are needed as the case heads toward a November trial date.

Also on Friday, Stewart upheld a magistrate's refusal to reopen discovery in the case and quashed subpoenas served to former Tribune publisher Dominic Welch, SLTPC chairman Philip McCarthey and other SLTPC principals. MediaNews had asked to be allowed to question SLTPC officials about their ability to pay $355.5 million — the fair market value determined by averaging three separate appraisals.