Pulitzer Publishing Co. Case Begins Monday
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A trial begins Monday in federal court to determine control over the stock of the Pulitzer Publishing Co.
Both sides have agreed to allow U.S. District Judge William L. Hungate conduct the bench trial, which is expected to last about a week.
The case stems from a suit filed in March by several members of the Pulitzer family who claimed that officers of the company, including brothers Joseph and Michael Pulitzer, have misused their authority to obtain ″a permanent stranglehold over the affairs of the company.″
The plaintiffs include owners of a 20 percent stake in the company who have sold an option on their shares to Michigan developer A. Alfred Taubman. He originally offered $500 million for the entire company, and then increased his offer to $625 million.
Both offers were rejected by a majority of shares, including a 54 percent bloc owned by the Pulitzer brothers and David Moore, their cousin. The company proposed a two-tiered public offering of stock, allowing current shareholders to either sell their stock to the public or convert to shares with 10 times the voting power but severely restricted liquidity.
Pulitzer Publishing Co. owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, newspapers in Arizona and the Chicago area, and several radio and television stations.
Neither Joseph Pulitzer, chairman of the board, nor Michael Pulitzer, president of the company, has commented on the suit. In a counterclaim, they charged that Peter W. Quesada, a leader of the dissident faction, had tried to pressure the company into paying ″greenmail″ and had violated the trust placed in him as a director of the firm.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Quesada and his brother, Ricardo; their mother, Kate Davis Pulitzer Quesada, who is a sister of Joseph and Michael; and her nephews Clement C. Moore II, and Gordon, William and James Weir.