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Legal Battle Between Newspaper Owners Begins In Court Today

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Today brings what is expected to be a brief 'status hearing' in what is likely to become a protracted legal battle involving the bickering co-owners of the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

In a two-week span, publisher Bob Hall fired editor Bill Marimow, two co-owners filed a lawsuit seeking to re-instate Marimow and fire Hall, and another owner filed a counter-suit.

The key figures among the six owners appear to be Lewis Katz and George Norcross. They represent opposing factions, each of which accuses the other of meddling with editorial and journalistic policies.

Howard Gensler, a Daily News columnist and president of the Newspaper Guild, notes workers have given back millions of dollars in concessions over the last few contracts, and the company spent $40-million in legal fees in the paper's 2010 bankruptcy.

"Now, we're seeing more millions frittered away because our wealthy owners can't get along," Gensler says.

All of the owners signed a non-interference policy, when they purchased the company in 2012, becoming the fifth owners in six years.

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