Miniter ‘Very, Very Happy’ With Peanuts

Peanuts_gang.png As FishbowlDC reported Thurday, TWT settled a lawsuit put forth by Rich Miniter, a former employee of TWT. Miniter claimed he was “very, very happy” and got “everything he wanted.”

But “everything” is a tricky word.

A settlement agreement obtained by FishbowlDC states: “TWT agrees to pay Mr. Miniter the gross sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars.” And that $20,000 doesn’t appear to include his lawyer’s fees.

Miniter, who worked as a consultant for TWT from October 2008 to February 2009 and then as Editorial Page Editor until TWT dismissed him from daily work activities in July and fired him in November, said TWT owed him a quarter million in fees. He said this on record, but quickly asked FishbowlDC to take it down, insisting he had been speaking off the record, which is untrue. In any event, a $20,000 settlement minus $250,000 in fees can’t equal “very, very happy.”

Miniter further told FishbowlDC…

“I had a contract with them that they stopped paying, that and using my name to promote the paper without my permission…” But that has been the root of the problem – Miniter never agreed to the proposed contract from TWT. He made what were described as inflated, unreasonable requests to TWT that were not accepted. What’s more, he begged TWT to keep his name on the masthead. D.C. court records make clear: In Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 emails last year, Miniter specifically requested that his name remain on the masthead.

TWT’s HR Director Sonya Jenkins said in a court declaration, “The company left Plaintiff’s name on its masthead through and including Nov. 25 2009. We did so because he asked us to.” And later: “He called me on Nov. 17, 2009 and I asked him if he wanted his name on the masthead. He told me to leave it there. His name was removed when we read news reports that he was complaining about it and his lawyer sent us a draft complaint saying that keeping his name on the masthead was illegal.”

A D.C. Court motion obtained by FishbowlDC shows that in February 2009, Miniter was hired as Editorial Page Editor, after which his title rose to Vice President of Opinion. TWT offered Miniter a contract, which he did not accept. By mid-July, Jenkins began to receive complaints about Miniter’s performance and conduct. In the end, TWT fired him in November 2009 with the proposed contract not signed.

“No meeting of the minds ever occurred,” the court document states, “and the parties were never willing to be bound to an agreed set of terms.”