Robservations on the media beat:
A confident Edwin Eisendrath said Sunday he will make good on his bid to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader, keeping both publications out of the hands of Chicago Tribune owner tronc. Monday is the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division for Eisendrath’s group to secure funding in order to complete the transaction with Wrapports Holdings LLC. “Everybody is committed,” he told me. “I expect us to be able to move forward and close the deal.” Even if the money is in place Monday, however, it’s unclear whether Eisendrath will be able to finalize the full agreement by the end of the day. Backing the effort are unions affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor and “less than 15” individual investors, he said. Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, told staffers: “Management and the Wrapports board continue to work hard to make sure that the Sun-Times will thrive under new ownership which has resulted in thorough due diligence on all sides. The top priority is to make sure the company is healthy and able to flourish going forward.”
Crain’s Chicago Business was hit with a $38 million defamation lawsuit Friday by Phil Tadros, owner of Bow Truss Coffee Roasters. His complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court alleged that Crain’s published a “hit piece” on Tadros and his business practices last July, resulting in setbacks to his companies and relationships. Among those named in the suit are Crain Communications, former Crain’s Chicago Business publisher David Snyder, editor Michael Arndt and reporter Peter Frost. In addition to damages, Tadros is seeking a retraction of the article. Through a representative, Crain Communications said it had no comment.
Crain Communications also declined to comment on a libel/slander complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court last month by brothers Joseph and Avi Fox, co-founders of the Chicago financial tech startup SoVesTech. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the company, chairman Keith Crain, Crain’s Chicago Business editor Michael Arndt and reporter Lynne Marek. On February 9, Marek wrote a story about “dueling lawsuits” involving one or both Fox brothers and some investors in their now-defunct company, including Larry Wert, president of Tribune Media broadcast media.
Lizzie Schiffman Tufano has resigned as senior editor of DNAinfo Chicago to join Yakkety Yak, a Chicago-based digital marketing company, as managing editor. A Chicago area native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Tufano worked for the Huffington Post, The Chicago Reporter and Chicago Public Radio’s “Eight Forty-Eight” before joining DNAinfo in 2012. Tufano’s move follows the resignation of another senior editor, Justin Breen, who left to start his own communications and public relations business.
“Chicago in the 1970s: Music, Sports and Radio,” a panel discussion inspired by the infamous 1979 radio stunt known as Disco Demolition, will be presented at 2 p.m. July 23 by the Elmhurst History Museum. Moderated by Dave Hoekstra, veteran Chicago journalist and author of Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died, the panel will include: Jeff Schwartz, former general sales manager of WLUP FM 97.9; Mitch Michaels, former program manager of The Loop and longtime Chicago rock jock; Mike Veeck, former White Sox promotions manager; Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune baseball writer; Bob Chicoine, former Comiskey Park vendor at Disco Demolition; and Jim Rittenberg, former general manager of Faces disco club. The program is in conjunction with the Disco Demolition exhibit on display at the museum through October 8. For tickets see: elmhursthistory.org.