October 24, 2013

Worcester Telegram & Gazette | Boston Business Journal | Media Nation

On Friday, a judge paused the sale of The Boston Globe. The reason the $70 million deal ground to a halt? It started with a broken window, Lisa Eckelbecker reports.

“A newspaper carrier working his route tossed a Sunday paper on a porch and cracked a $10 pane of glass,” Eckelbecker writes. “That incident opened up a legal battle that has touched other U.S. newspapers and fueled at least one multimillion-dollar settlement, all over questions about whether newspaper carriers classified as independent contractors should really be considered employees.”

The T&G is included with the New York Times Company’s planned sale of the Globe to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry.

Thomas G. Driscoll Jr. had delivered papers for 21 years, but the T&G ended his contract after a 2003 incident when “a customer on Mr. Driscoll’s route sought compensation for a cracked pane of glass next to a door.” Driscoll sought unemployment benefits, “but was denied on the grounds he was an independent contractor and not an employee.” The suit, which you can read here, eventually became a class action when other carriers joined.

Craig Douglas on Tuesday reported on another potential complication: The paper’s headquarters are so contaminated that “environmental officials have banned any work or potential development that might disturb sections of chemical-soaked soil in their present state.”

Globe Publisher Christopher Mayer disputes the seriousness of the issue, Dan Kennedy reports.

“These reports are misleading,” Mayer writes in an internal message. “The conditions referred to are nearly two decades old and measures taken at that time addressed the issues that were identified.” During the sales process, Mayer writes, “The Globe conducted an updated environmental assessment that did not identify any environmental conditions that warranted further review.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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