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Scripps Sons Want Will Revoked

January 27, 1998

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ The sons of the late publishing magnate Edward Wyllis Scripps have sued their mother, claiming she coerced their father into cutting them out of his $214 million estate.

Barry and Edward W. Scripps III asked a judge last week to revoke the will of their father, the former head of Scripps League Newspapers, claiming he was not competent when he approved changes that left them nothing.

Scripps, who died in September at age 88, gave his entire estate to his wife, Betty Knight Scripps, and a private foundation in the couple’s name.

The sons claim their mother kept their father isolated for years after he had a 1991 heart attack and went against his wish that his newspapers be kept in the family, said Anthony Doniger, a lawyer for the sons.

``It was the father’s company, and the father was determined to maintain the family heritage and have it descend from generation to generation,″ Doniger said. ``Clearly what happened was the mother had taken over.″

Barry Scripps, 53, was an executive with Scripps League until the chain of 16 daily newspapers and 30 other publications was sold to the Pulitzer Publishing Co. in July 1996.

He said his parents had promised he would run of the company once his father stepped down, but was fired the day before the sale was final, his lawyer said. After the sale, he filed a $50 million lawsuit in Massachusetts against his parents and the Pulitzer company. The suit is pending.

Edward Scripps III, who lives in Los Altos, Calif., had once worked for Scripps League.

The elder Scripps wrote that he was leaving nothing to his children because they have been ``adequately provided for during my lifetime.″ A daughter is not contesting the will.

Lawyers for Mrs. Scripps say her sons have no grounds to contest the June 1996 will because they would not have benefited from three previous wills and codicils her husband signed.

Mrs. Scripps, 72, stated in court papers that the lawsuit comes from ``the ingratitude of a privileged son.″

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