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Bingham Challenges Stop Book’s Publication

July 21, 1987

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Macmillan Publishing Co. will not publish a book about the founder of the Bingham media empire because it disagrees with the author’s handling of certain material, an attorney for the company says.

The company made its decision after reviewing documents submitted by Barry Bingham Sr., former chairman of the Courier-Journal and Lousiville Times Co., who challenged the conclusions of a book about his father written by David Chandler.

″As a result of this review, in which the author of the book took part, it became clear that Macmillan and Mr. Chandler had serious substantive disagreements as to his interpretation and presentation of significant portions,″ said attorney Jeff Goldstein.

″The Binghams of Louisville″ had been printed but not bound, Chandler said.

Goldstein said Macmillan thought the book would have been a commercial success and did not base its decision on legal considerations.

Macmillan released publication rights to the book, which means Chandler can offer it to another publisher.

Chandler’s book is about Judge Robert Worth Bingham, who inherited $5 million from his second wife in 1917 and bought the Louisville newspapers with it. He launched a media empire that sold last year for about $442 million.

The book focuses on controversy surrounding the death of Judge Bingham’s second wife, Mary Lily Kenan Bingham, and Chandler concludes the judge mistreated her and probably caused her death.

Bingham Sr. obtained copies of the galley proofs of Chandler’s book and hired a law firm and a local historian to review it. They produced a 5-inch- thick memorandum that offered evidence of ″more than 160″ factual errors.

The Bingham documents suggest that Mary Lily Bingham died of alcoholism, despite efforts by her husband to help her find a cure.

Chandler acknowledged that Bingham found errors in his book but said they are minor and will be corrected.

″From my standpoint, cleaning up the manuscript will take a very short time,″ said Chandler, a People magazine correspondent and former newspaper reporter.

Bingham Sr. was on vacation in Massachusetts and could not be reached by phone, but Gordon Davidson, his attorney, said, ″We are most pleased with the decision.″

Davidson declined to say whether Bingham will send his package of documents to any other potential publisher. Anybody who would consider publishing it, he said, ″should certainly, in fairness″ ask for that information first.

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