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Singleton sues, lashes out at Ridder's son

“In Par’s world, he could get away with anything because Daddy would always take care of him,” Dean Singleton said yesterday after filing a lawsuit against Par Ridder, who quit Singleton’s St. Paul Pioneer Press to become head of the rival Minneapolis Star Tribune. Singleton claims Ridder (pictured) took business data, customer lists and salary information when he quit. In fact, Singleton even says Ridder walked off with all copies of a non-compete agreement that prevented Ridder and two other employees for working with the competition.

“The dishonesty, the deceit, and the illegal activity … It was one thing for the publisher to leave to go to the competitor, but it was something else to inappropriately take information that did not belong to him to the other newspaper,” Singleton told Minnesota Public Radio. Among the things Singleton claims Ridder stole were salary data and advertising customer lists.

Singleton said Ridder and two Pioneer Press employees who went with him to the Star Tribune had non-compete agreements preventing them from working for a rival for one year, but that Ridder destroyed those agreements before he changed jobs.

“He told everybody, including me, that he did not have [an agreement]. But he did have because we have copies of it,” Singleton said. “The reason he said he had a no-compete was because he had confiscated the no-competes and put them in a file, including his own, in the personnel files, and took that with him when he left.”

Par Ridder, 35, is the son of former Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder of Woodside. KR owned the Pioneer Press for decades until it was sold last year to McClatchy, which then flipped it to Hearst. Hearst turned over management to Singleton. [Coverage: Business Journals, Mercury News]

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