The Sun said Wednesday Las Vegas Review-Journal owner Stephens Media is attempting to terminate the Joint Operating Agreement under which the Sun and Stephens Media have operated since 1989. The report said Stephens has reached a deal with three of four Greenspun siblings to do away with the agreement -- under which the Sun turned over printing and distribution operations to Stephens, which publishes the Review-Journal. The Sun, in turn, receives payment of $1.3 million per year.
The arrangement, approved by the U.S. Justice Department in 1989, was signed "because the Las Vegas Sun was routinely unprofitable and operated at a substantial loss," the court complaint says.
Brian Greenspun renegotiated the original deal in 2005 and that deal does not expire until the end of 2040.
The lawsuit says Stephens Media's attempt to cancel the joint agreement amounts to a company buying out a rival and shutting it down.
"The Review-Journal is attempting to eliminate the Las Vegas Sun's alternative editorial voice -- not just in print, but also on the Internet. Paying to eliminate a competitor is clearly monopolistic and illegal,"
said Leif Reid, an attorney representing Brian Greenspun.
In the new deal with Greenspun siblings, Stephen Media is to transfer ownership of lasvegas.com to the Greenspun family. The family, in return, would cancel the Joint Operating Agreement, effective Sept. 1, and would agree not to work in the news business for five years in exchange for $25,000.
And they would turn the lasvegassun.com Internet site over to Stephens Media, the Sun reported.
Bob Brown, the publisher of the Review-Journal declined to comment, the Sun reported.
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