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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opposes move to disclose its financial records

| Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, 11:42 a.m.
The offices of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the North Shore on March 20, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The offices of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the North Shore on March 20, 2017.

After fighting to gain access to 25 years of Trib Total Media Inc. financial records, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is opposing an attempt to require the same disclosure from it, according to Allegheny County court documents.

The filing comes in a lawsuit by the children of late Tribune-Review owner Dick Scaife.

Scaife's children — Jennie and David Scaife — contend in the lawsuit that a trust fund established by their grandmother Sarah Mellon Scaife in 1935 to benefit her son was improperly drained of hundreds of millions of dollars, leaving them nothing as the remainder beneficiaries of the fund.

They are suing trustees H. Yale Gutnick, James M. Walton and PNC Bank. Trib Total Media is not party to the lawsuit.

The Post-Gazette and Philadelphia Inquirer in November 2014 filed a motion to intervene in the case for the purpose of keeping the court proceedings open to the public.

Trib Total Media filed a document the next day supporting public access to the court proceedings but didn't elect to join them as an intervener, according to court documents.

As part of the lawsuit, Jennie Scaife subpoenaed 25 years of Trib financial records. When the Trib sought to quash the subpoena and keep any records it turned over to Scaife's children confidential, the Post-Gazette filed motions objecting to the Trib's requests, saying it had failed to follow the proper procedure to protect the confidentiality of its business records.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen A. Durkin ordered the Trib to turn over the records and denied its request for a protective order. The Trib appealed that decision to the Superior Court, which upheld Durkin's decision.

In September, Gutnick subpoenaed PG Publishing Company Inc. to seek the company's financial records from 1991 through 2015, including any board or shareholder meeting minutes that include discussions of the Post-Gazette's financial losses.

The Post-Gazette on Tuesday filed a motion to quash the subpoena, arguing that its financial records aren't relevant to the Scaife children's lawsuit against the trustees and PNC Bank.

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