Billionaire Ron Burkle, who has fought in the courts and in the legislature to reduce access to public records, is one of three investors who is reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Times from the Tribune Co., which is looking to shed some of its assets. LA Times Staff Writer Joseph Menn reports this morning (June 14) that Burkle along with former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth and homebuilding tycoon Eli Broad are interested in either buying the paper or see it in local hands. While Times publisher Jeff Johnson says the paper isn’t for sale, a rift between the Tribune co. and its second-largest shareholder, the Chandler family of Los Angeles, former owners of the Times, has put the paper in play. Burkle attempted to buy the Knight Ridder newspapers McClatchy put on the market on behalf of the newspaper Guild. In 2005, he had his employees buy every copy available of an edition of the Los Angeles Business Times that detailed his divorce case, preventing the public from reading the newspaper. He also fought unsuccessfully in the courts to have financial information in his divorce case sealed. He also unsuccessfuly attempted twice to get the state Legislature to pass laws sealing such information. Burkle made headlines when he had his security staff videotape a New York Post gossip column freelancer who allegedly attempted to blackmail him. So far, authorities have not charged the writer.
Burkle now sets his sights on LA Times
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