SCRANTON, Pa. — The owners of The Times Leader have filed a federal lawsuit against the media company’s former publisher and chief executive officer, Richard Connor, alleging he has failed to repay more than $250,000 in loans the company made to him.
The suit, filed Thursday by Wilkes-Barre Publishing LLC, alleges Connor “engaged in a pattern” of conduct that caused the newspaper to transfer cash for his personal use and to pay personal credit card charges he incurred.
According to the lawsuit, The Times Leader and Connor “reached an understanding” that the funds paid to him were loans that would need to be repaid. Connor signed a written statement acknowledging the amount that was owed according to audits performed in 2008 and 2010, the suit says.
Connor’s attorney, Peter Bennett of Portland, Maine, said he does not yet have a copy of the lawsuit but told the Bangor Daily News on Friday he and his client “generally dispute the allegations” and would fight the lawsuit in court.
Connor resigned as CEO of MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel, effective Dec. 21, 2011.
Connor resigned as a CEO and editor and publisher of The Times Leader in October 2011. The newspaper was purchased by Versa Capital Management LLC in March, which acquired all assets of the newspaper, including the debt owed to the company by Connor.
The suit says Connor has refused demands to repay $250,123.50 in credit card charges and advances that were made to him and that he has challenged the validity of the documents he signed that reflected the amount that was owed.
(c)2012 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.).
Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at www.timesleader.com.
Distributed by MCT Information Services.