Gerstenzang Zings Zell

In today’s New York Times story about the Tribune bankruptcy, former LA Times staffer Jim Gerstenzang (who left recently), has a fairly colorful quote about his old boss, Sam Zell:

    Mr. Zell, who put up just $315 million of the purchase price, gained control, and the right to buy as much as 40 percent of Tribune’s stock in the future.

    A note on an internal Tribune Company Web site said, “All ongoing severance payments, deferred compensation and other payments to former employees have been discontinued and will be the subject of later proceedings before the court.” That made it apparent that employees who recently were laid off or took buyouts would join the long list of unsecured creditors.

    James Gerstenzang, a reporter who left The Los Angeles Times’s bureau in Washington last month, said he was trying to figure out whether he was one of those people. He said he had just sent in the last paperwork to approve his expected buyout payment — 49 weeks of pay, after more than 24 years.

    “What, I’m supposed to be shocked that Sam Zell isn’t keeping his word?” he asked. “This was their commitment and their credibility.”

ALSO: Sort of interesting (ironic?) that, on Sunday afternoon (as bankruptcy lawyers were springing their trap), former LA Times DC Bureau Chief Doyle McManus hosted a party at his house that brought together lots of former, present and recently-laid-off LA Times folks. We hear that a decidedly funereal pall hung over the gathering. Doyle said something to the effect of “See you next year!” at the end of his remarks, but many felt like the gathering was a final one and the end of a sad era.