Tribune Creditors Take Aim At Employees’ Stock Compensation

Sam Zell

The battle between the Tribune Company and its creditors has taken another strange turn: lenders have filed suit targeting employees who had no direct hand in the $8.2 billion leveraged buyout that paved the way for Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell’s takeover and subsequent bankruptcy of the publisher. About 200 current and former employees will be dragged to court to defend the stock compensation they earned when the Tribune was taken private, the Chicago Tribune reported (via Romenesko).

The amounts creditors are looking to take back range as hight $400,000 to little as $10,000, as part of their efforts to recoup what has been owed to them since Tribune filed for bankruptcy exactly two years ago this month. The compensation was paid out a week the company went private.

In the last few weeks, as Tribune restructured its executive suite with the departures of CEO Randy Michaels and Lee Abrams as chief innovation officer, it looked as if there might finally be an end the drawn-out drama. But as this suit shows, nothing with Tribune and its skein of legal and financial burdens, is going to be easily settled any time soon.

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