Culling the herd at the Chicago Sun-Times

Culling the herd at the Chicago Sun-Times

Two stories hit the papers today that reflect the wide-ranging, ongoing fallout from the Hollinger mess. Peter Atkinson’s plea to remain free on bail during the course of his appeal turns in part on St. Eve’s infamous “ostrich” instruction. According to the Post, WorldCom fraudster Bernie Ebbers used a similar argument and managed to stay out of prison while his appeal wended its way through the courts.

The fact that Ebbers’s appeal was subsequently dismissed probably works against Atkinson. My guess is he will probably have to start his sentence while he awaits the result of his appeal and/or a transfer to a Canadian prison. Oddly, Atkinson’s lawyer also argues that he might have to make “the difficult choice of whether to give up his appeal in order to serve his time in a Canadian penitentiary to be near his family”—a dilemma his lawyers say would be “patently unfair.” Granted, Atkinson has every right to marshal any argument to keep himself out of the slammer, but to suggest that spending time in a Canadian minimum-security prison is unfair, given the possible alternative, strains credulity.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Trib’s media columnist, Phil Rosenthal, reports this morning on the ongoing layoffs at the Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media announced last month its intention to cut 40-odd-million dollars in costs this year. It is, as always, astonishing to think that Chicago Sun-Times employees are losing their jobs in part to help pay the legal fees of the executives who defrauded the company in the first place.

Hollinger ex-vp seeks bail on appeal: Source [National Post]

Chicago Sun-Times newsroom layoffs only just beginning: Source [Chicago Tribune]