Newspaper Guild won't get Ridder investigation

Star Tribune Chairman Chris Harte yesterday turned down a Newspaper Guild request for an investigation into the controversies surrounding new Strib Publisher Par Ridder. The union is concerned that allegations Ridder took proprietary information and staff non-competes when he left the St. Paul Pioneer Press is damaging the paper's credibility. The claims are at the center of a lawsuit that made headlines yesterday.

Harte's letter is posted on the Guild's website, and reprinted here after the jump.

April 18, 2007

TO: Jaime Chismar, Chris Serres, Pamela Miller and Pat Doyle, Representing the Newspaper Guild's Star Tribune Unit

Your April 17, 2007 letter to me asks for an independent inquiry into the allegations raised in the Pioneer Press lawsuit against the Star Tribune. I fully understand your frustration but disagree with your suggested solution.

The allegations are just that--allegations--which are going to be dealt with in the course of this lawsuit. To run an independent investigation in parallel seems presumptive that the judicial process is somehow flawed. Further, an independent inquiry settles nothing if the lawsuit is still in progress.

So we are going to let the lawsuit take its course. This can be a distraction to all of us if we let it, but I hope you all will agree with me that our efforts are better spent by focusing on serving readers and advertisers and letting this lawsuit work its way through the courts.

Sincerely, Chris Harte