Percy Sutton Estate "Under Siege"
Monday, January 4, 2010
Percy Sutton, seated, at a 2006 Manhattan fundraiser for David Paterson's successful bid for New York lieutenant governor. At left is Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X; at right is Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. Sutton was lawyer for Malcolm X and his family. (Credit: kenthephotographer)
Ex-Reporter, Partner Filed Lawsuit Before His DeathThree days before funeral services are to take place for New York power broker and media pioneer Percy Sutton, the New York Post disclosed Sunday that two fellow co-founders of Inner City Broadcasting charged in a lawsuit that Sutton and top executives at Inner City "have looted the company.
"It's a measure of Sutton's importance that even as the 89-year-old power broker lay in a New York nursing home struggling with dementia, his political allies scrambled to save his family empire," Isabel Vincent wrote in her story, headlined, "Fall of the house of Percy Sutton."
"But despite their best efforts, Sutton's estate remains under siege. One of his companies owes more than $1 million in taxes to the state. In the last year, shareholders and bitter former business associates lined up to sue Sutton and Inner City, the Post has learned. In one lawsuit, filed just before Christmas in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, two co-founders of Inner City Broadcasting are demanding millions in damages. According to the latest lawsuit, Sutton and top executives at Inner City 'have looted the company.' "
Sutton's son, Pierre 'Pepe' Sutton, who now runs Inner City, did not respond directly to the substance of the article, but wrote publisher Rupert Murdoch and Michelle Gotthelf, Post metro news editor, that "My family and I find it grossly offensive and disrespectful that you would publish 'Fall of the House of Percy Sutton' at this time. We were stunned and deeply disturbed by this assault upon the life and legacy of our father-husband and mentor. We can only wish that in the coming days - and at his home going service on Wednesday, January 6 - that all who have read this article will take the time to listen to the legion of voices that will truly speak about the incredible and remarkable life of Percy E. Sutton."
For his part, Hugh Wyatt, one of the first black reporters at the New York Daily News and a co-founder of Inner City Broadcasting, told Journal-isms, "This lawsuit is not about Hugh Wyatt or Chester Redhead," who filed suit with Wyatt. "This lawsuit is about minority control of a very powerful institution - a media institution, and a media institution carries three times the weight of any institution. It's about an entity to redress health-care disparities, police brutality and radio seeking economic and social justice for people. The question you want to ask is, did Inner City do this?"
Wyatt, who worked at the Daily News from 1965 to 1993, now edits and publishes the Spiritual Herald, which calls itself "the nation's premier national urban spiritual newspaper designed to address the needs and concerns of America's ethnically diverse religious spectrum through its tens of thousands of ministers, priests, rabbis, and other spiritual leaders."
The Post story traced the history of the nonprofit foundation that ran the legendary Apollo Theater, which Sutton bought in 1981 for $225,000 in bankruptcy court.
"The company was also the subject of an Attorney General investigation related to $2.2 million in loans that Inner City made to the Suttons to enable them to seize majority control of the company in the late 1990s," the Post story said.
"In a settlement reached in 1999, Sutton agreed to pay back the loans and prepare audited financial statements for his shareholders.
"But last month, Hugh Wyatt and Chester Redhead, two of the original founders of Inner City, say that nearly 10 years after the settlement, the company has refused to comply with many of its requirements. They also accuse the Suttons and other executives at Inner City of self-dealing, and seek $110 million in damages from the Suttons.
"Sutton's son, Pierre, who took over the day-to-day operations of Inner City in 1991, did not return the Post's calls. But following Sutton's death, there are whispers that the troubled company, which owns 17 commercial radio stations across the nation, is fighting for its survival."
Supporters of Sutton, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, and Hazel Dukes, president of the New York State Conference of the NAACP, wrote the Post:
"When Mr. Sutton founded Inner City Broadcasting Corporation and purchased WLIB radio in 1971 in New York, it was NYC's first Black-owned radio station. It is a sad commentary that in 2010 it remains one of only two African-American owned broadcast companies in the world's largest media marketplace. The Congressional Black Caucus's intervention to help save one of our country's last remaining Black-owned media corporations is no different than Congress's overall effort to save failing banks and the auto industry. Their work on behalf of Inner City Broadcasting was neither inappropriate, nor in anyway diminishes the work and legacy of Percy E. Sutton.
"Percy Ellis Sutton was a true American hero who served his country and his community. He was a dedicated and compassionate human being devoted to his family and his constituency. The idea that the New York Post would, at this time of his passing, attempt an effort to lessen his contributions and achievements is reprehensible. Today, we join forces to step up on the frontline to lay our captain to rest - reinforce his legacy and have him live beyond his existence."
Services for Sutton are scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive in New York.
A pioneer in African American radio ownership in addition to his roles as New York political power broker, Tuskegee Airman, civil rights attorney and lawyer for Malcolm X and his family, Sutton died Dec. 26.
- William Reed, Black Press International: An African-American Icon: Percy Sutton (11/24/1920 - 12/26/2009)
- Al Sharpton, National Action Network: Percy Sutton
Washington Post's Marcia Slacum Greene DiesMarcia Slacum Greene, a Washington Post reporter and editor for more than 20 years who was active in the National Association of Black Journalists, has died after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer, Post editors told the staff on Tuesday.
"We don't have all the details, but Marcia had recently been at home under hospice care," the top editors said in their message. "Marcia will be greatly missed by her numerous friends in the newsroom, who treasured her personal warmth and great sense of humor. She was an outstanding professional who specialized in investigations and accountability coverage as a Metro reporter, and later became a respected and effective editor. She was City Editor at the time she became ill."
Greene, 57, was named city editor in 2006 as a 22-year veteran of the newspaper who was assistant D.C. editor for politics and government. Prior to becoming an editor, the Post noted at the time, she worked for the paper's Metro projects team, writing about the impact of illegal drugs and violence on urban communities and the lives of young people.
She was a 2005 graduate of the Maynard Institute's Maynard Management at Kellogg program.
In 2002, as an investigative reporter, Greene was cited internally for her role in the Post's Pulitzer-winning "comprehensive coverage of America's war on terrorism, which regularly brought forth new information together with skilled analysis of unfolding developments."
Within NABJ, she had co-chaired a task force on Africa.
Greene took a buyout from the paper last year. A journalism graduate of the University of Maryland, she was married to Jackie Greene, director of technology planning and fulfillment at USA Today, former treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists and former president of Unity: Journalists of Color. The two met when both worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.Late Tuesday, Post Senior Editor Milton R. Coleman announced these dates for the funeral and memorial services:
- Funeral service: Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. at: Springfield Baptist Church, 1784 Springfield Road, Meherrin, VA, 434-736-9795
- Memorial service: Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. at: Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, 4704 13th St. NW, Washington, DC 20011, 202-829-5511
jgreene (at) usatoday.com
c/o Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ
4704 13th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
Coleman told Journal-isms on Wednesday that a scholarship fund was being established.
Comments on Marcia Slacum Greene at end of column. [Added Jan. 5, updated Jan. 6]
- Adam Bernstein, Washington Post: Post editor and reporter shone a light on the voiceless [Jan. 6]
Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, explains the organization's financial shortfall. (Video.)
Hispanic Journalists Raise $115,795 of $300,000 GoalThe National Association of Hispanic Journalists raised $115,795 of the $300,000 it said it needed by Dec. 15 to continue its operations, Executive Director Ivan Roman said in a video posted on the NAHJ Web site.
Nevertheless, the organization "will be hitting the ground running in January" after the staff undergoes a third round of furloughs, Roman said. He appealed for contributions to continue services such as the $110,000 in scholarships the group awarded in 2009, the training and assistance it has provided to needy journalists and its advocacy for Latino journalists.
"Like many other organizations in today's economy, cuts in funding and in attendance at our excellent annual convention in San Juan have left NAHJ with a $300,000 budget shortfall," NAHJ President O. Ricardo Pimentel wrote to members in launching the "Count Me In" in July.
Editorial Writers Pull Out of Ida B. Wells AwardThe National Conference of Editorial Writers, a partner in administering the Ida B. Wells Award, which annually honors a media executive who has helped diversify the nation's newsrooms and improve coverage of people and communities of color, has decided to end its involvement.
In a letter to the other co-sponsors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, NCEW President Tom Waseleski, editorial page editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, gave three reasons for the NCEW Foundation's Dec. 5 decision:
"One is the expense to the foundation of hosting award recipients when the presentation is made at the NCEW convention. Another is the time spent by the foundation and NCEW members in maintaining our dealings with the award ‚Äî at a time when our membership and revenues are down and when we need to focus more attention on the health of our organization. A third factor, which is certainly debatable, is the feeling among some that the true pioneers in diversifying America's newsrooms have by now been honored."
Medill Professor Loren Ghiglione, co-curator of the award, told Journal-isms, "NCEW's decision will not affect the award. Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the news industry leaders who seek to make their organizations reflect the diversity of the U.S. population. The Ida B. Wells Award needs to continue."
Waseleski said the NCEW Foundation and NCEW "intend to continue providing the annual Minority Writers Seminar at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville" and "to present annually the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship, which provides $1,000 toward an educator's outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism."
Past Ida B. Wells recipients include Jay T. Harris, former publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, Reginald Stuart, corporate recruiter for Knight Ridder, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, Donald Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, Johnita P. Due, senior counsel and Diversity Council chair of CNN, and Bobbi Bowman, diversity director of the American Society of News Editors.
Eunice W. Johnson with designer Yves St. Laurent (credit: Johnson Publishing Co.)
Eunice W. Johnson, Fashion Fair Creator, Dies at 93Eunice W. Johnson, the widow of Johnson Publishing Co. founder John H. Johnson who named the company's flagship magazine, Ebony, died of renal failure Sunday at her Chicago home. She was 93, a Johnson spokeswoman said.
"Ms. Johnson, in her 90s, was to be feted later this month at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for her work in making couture accessible to African-Americans nationwide through the Ebony Fashion Fair, which for decades showcased black designers and models," Shia Kapos wrote on her Crain's Chicago Business blog.
" 'Her pivotal personality instilled pride in an alternative, distinctive beauty,' Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute at the Met, said in my Taking Names column about the tribute published this week in Crain's Chicago Business.
"It was through her husband, who died in 2005, and his pioneering work in publishing that 'Mrs. J,' as she was affectionately called, gained national attention. She served as secretary-treasurer of Johnson Publishing, the company that is now headed by her daughter, Linda Johnson Rice. But her work in fashion ‚Äî including designing the Fashion Fair cosmetics line ‚Äî made her an international wonder.
"Ms. Johnson was producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, a fashion show that traveled through dozens of cities nationwide and in Canada displaying the latest in high-end fashion to communities otherwise ignored by the couture market."
Her official biography says, "Both she and Mr. Johnson noticed the Ebony Fashion Fair models struggling to find cosmetics in shades that matched their deeper skin tones. Fashion Fair was born in 1973 in answer to this problem and today it is the world leader in cosmetics and skin care for women of color."
New Zealand Police Investigating Howell Death"Police in New Zealand say former Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell may have been crossing a highway to take a photograph when she stepped in front of a car and was killed," the Associated Press reported on Monday.
"Detective Sgt. John Hamilton of the Blenheim police says a full investigation is under way and will take some time.
"He says that based on witness statements so far, it appears Howell was crossing the highway to take a picture when she stepped in front of a car in the far lane. Hamilton says it's possible she was 'completely unaware of the vehicle.'
"Drivers in New Zealand travel on the left side of the road, not the right side as in the United States, so pedestrians must look first in the direction opposite than they normally would."
Among the remembrances of Howell, who died Friday at 68, was one from Ryan Williams, director of programs and professional development at the National Association of Black Journalists.
"Deborah was the administrator for the NABJ/Newhouse Foundation Scholarship for many years (even after departing Newhouse) and [helped] contribute to a great number of our student members receiving Newhouse Foundation Scholarships to further their education in journalism," he wrote.
"Returning to the office from the holiday break, Irving and I both recalled Deborah being a firm but fair stickler in reviewing scholarship applications," he said, referring to Irving Washington, NABJ program manager. "She made us push harder for quality applications, thus making what we do even better.
". . . Her legacy lives on through the many students and young journalists helped by the Newhouse Foundation Grant."
- Associated Press: Former Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell remembered for journalistic spirit, leadership
- Michael Calderone, Politico: Howell, former Post ombud, dies at 68
- David Carr, New York Times: The Editor Everyone Should Have Had
- Tim McGuire, Arizona State University: My tortured journey to becoming Deborah Howell‚Äôs friend
- Bruce Nelson, Newspaper Guild: Deborah Howell, a tenacious, feisty, caring leader
- Matt Schudel, Washington Post Post-Mortem blog: Deborah Howell, 68
McDonald's, Ford Sticking With Black Magazines"The nation‚Äôs first black president, Barack Obama, dominated American magazine covers last year, but for titles targeting African Americans, getting marketers‚Äô attention in this recession has been a tougher proposition," Lucia Moses wrote Sunday for Mediaweek.
". . . Not all marketers have cut back on the category. McDonald's hasn‚Äôt slashed spending in black-interest print media because, explained Rob Jackson, marketing director for African-American consumer market programs there, ‚ÄúThey see us in these publications, which has greater meaning. They speak directly to the consumer in a way that mass-market media don‚Äôt.‚Äù
"African-American publications enjoy a strong loyalty with consumers, which makes them an efficient buy for advertisers wanting to reach them, agreed Stefano Curti, president of Johnson & Johnson beauty care.
"Ford Motor Co. also has stayed committed to black-aimed media in 2009 on the belief that in a downturn, that audience doesn‚Äôt change its spending habits as much as the general market does. 'African-American consumers contribute quite a bit to our business overall,' said Crystal Worthem, multicultural marketing manager at Ford. 'We want to continue to grow.'
"Titles that want to capitalize on that sentiment need to have strong assets outside print, though. At Essence, those include the Essence Music Festival, online video programming and a weekly news segment on CNN. In 2010, its 40th anniversary, it will introduce more fashion and beauty coverage in its issues, including a September issue devoted to those topics. And in January, it will bring out its first research study of African-American women and fashion preferences."
- Jason Fell, Folio: 2009: The Year in Magazines
The Web site Sahara Reporters said it had obtained a copy of the international passport of Farouk Umar AbdulMuttalab, the 23-year-old Nigerian arrested on Christmas after a failed plot to bomb Northwest Flight 253 only minutes before it landed in Detroit.
Yemen, New Terrorism Focus, Not Press-Friendly"Reporters Without Borders condemned Yemen‚Äôs attempt to use the current anti-terror push to crush human rights after security forces today fired on a crowd of protestors staging a 'sit-in' outside the offices of a banned newspaper," the press freedom group said on Monday.
"The state of press freedom in the country has considerably worsened since May 2009, particularly in the south of the country. Nothing has been heard of Khalid Jahafi, a journalist on the opposition news website Alsahwa.net since security forces arrested him on 27 December 2009 while he was taking photos of clashes between police officers and supporters of the southern pro-independence movement (http://www.rsf.org/Crackdown-on-media-reinforced.html).
Shafi‚Äô al-Abd, a journalist on the newspaper al-Nada, as well as four members of the leadership of the Federation of Southern Youth, were arrested by police in Aden on 28 December, before being moved to Khor Maksar jail in Aden province. The journalist has been charged with forming a political party hostile to 'security and national unity'. A court in Lahij province has also postponed indefinitely and without explanation the trial of journalist Iyyad Ghanem, who is in worsening health from a two-week hunger strike. He has been in custody for six months after filming a rally by supporters of the southern rebel groups in the city of Korsh."
When a flight carrying suspected terrorist Farouk Umar AbdulMuttalab, who had trained in Yemen, landed at the Detroit airport on Christmas, "the two major Detroit newspapers had an additional challenge," Stephanie Clifford reported in the New York Times. "Earlier in 2009, they ceased home delivery several days a week, and they had to figure out whether the event was important enough to revise that plan."
They decided it was not.
Clifford wrote that, "Traffic at the papers‚Äô Web sites, DetNews.com and Freep.com, rose 60 percent over the previous Christmas, measured by unique visitors, and 40 percent on Dec. 26," said Jonathan Wolman, editor and publisher of the Detroit News.
The story quoted Paul Anger, editor and publisher of the Free Press:
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt feel like we have to do an edition that would be delivered to home. This is not that kind of world anymore is the way we look at it. This is the digital age.‚Äù
Meanwhile, Sahara Reporters, an online community of international reporters and social advocates writing from a Nigerian perspective, continued to criticize, variously, the United States, Nigeria, AbdulMuttalab and the father who reported him as having extremist tendencies. Others commented as well.
- Sunday Dare, saharareporters.com: Nigerian Bomber: The Death of Innocence
- Aboyeji E. Iyinoluwa, KenyaImagine: Reframe the Nigerian Terrorist Debate
- E. Ethelbert Miller, ebonyjet.com: X,Yemen and Z Learning Something New to Fear
- Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Let's be honest: terrorism's always possible
- Femi Obayori, saharareporters.com: Nigerian Terrorist Abdulmutallab ! So What? America Give us a Break!
- Dayo Olopade, theroot.com: A New Terror Threat? What the Nigerian plane bomber reveals about America, Africa, and terrorism in the 21st century.
- Tolu Olorunda, thedailyvoice.com: From niggers, to ragheads, back to niggers
- Tolu Olorunda, thedailyvoice.com: What makes a father tell on a son?
- Manny Otiko blog: Nigerians: Conmen, drug dealers and now terrorists?
- Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Air terrorism attempt reveals bigger 'system' failure
- Bankole Thompson, Michigan Chronicle: Fighting 419, Nigerians Face Lethal Blow
- Dr Aliyu Tilde, saharareporters.com: The Tragedy of Umar F. Mutallab
Vanity Fair Features Shirtless Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is in hiding and the tabloids are reportedly willing to pay as much as $250,000 for a fresh photo of him. But in the meantime, Vanity Fair is coming out with a February issue in which "Annie Leibovitz catches the icon, pre-scandal, in prophetic isolation, while the author finds the clues in the wreckage."
Some members of the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists were not impressed.
"Is he posing for a role in a prison movie?" asked one.
"To see any black man in a demeaning pose like this brings tears to my eyes," said another.
Joan Walsh wrote on salon.com: "Vanity Fair should be ashamed of itself. The Thug Life photo of Tiger Woods that graces the magazine's February cover will go down in history with Time's 'darkened' O.J. Simpson cover and Vogue's portrait of a brutish LeBron James carrying off a blond princess two years ago. I've always defended Woods' freedom to call himself Cablinasian, as befitting his mixed heritage. But Vanity Fair just proved the arguments of black people who dislike what they see as Woods' racial dodge. He'll always be black, but especially after he gets in trouble."
- Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News: No tears for Tiger: Face reality ‚Äî stars are fallible
- George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Why is Everyone Teeing Off on Tiger?
- Kevin McCullagh, SportBusiness: AT&T hangs up on Woods
- Andrew Adam Newman, New York Times: Awkward Timing for a Book by Woods
- Rose Russell, Toledo Blade: Apologies accepted, Tiger, but Elin's smart to move on
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Hold that Tiger claptrap
- Tom Shales, Washington Post: Brit Hume's off message: Have faith, Tiger Woods, as long as it's Christianity [Jan. 5]
- Mary Elizabeth Williams, salon.com: Tiger's abs unleashed! Is Annie Leibovitz's Vanity Fair cover image exploitative?
- "Nearly six months after Walter Cronkite's death, his voice is leaving the 'CBS Evening News,' " David Bauder wrote Monday for the Associated Press. "His introduction of anchor Katie Couric was replaced Monday by a voiceover featuring actor Morgan Freeman."
- "WGBH radio has set the launch date for two new midday talk shows with a Boston focus," Johnny Diaz wrote last week in the Boston Globe. "'The Emily Rooney Show,' hosted by WGBH-TV's 'Greater Boston' host, will start at noon, Jan. 11, on 89.7 FM. Rooney's program will be followed by 'The Callie Crossley Show,' hosted by the 'Beat The Press' commentator. It will center on current events as well as local and regional arts and culture. The new shows are part of WGBH's efforts to reinvent 89.7 FM as a full-time news and information radio station."
- "Dominic Carter has hit rock bottom," Annie Karni wrote Sunday in the New York Post. "Two months after the former NY1 political anchor was found guilty of attempted assault for beating, choking and kicking his wife, he spends his days worrying about how to pay his mortgage and agonizing over 'how fast things got out of control. I don't set the alarm anymore,' Carter said in a tearful interview, his first since the attack on his wife was revealed by The Post two months ago. 'I wake up. I sit around the house. I read the papers, watch a movie.'"
- Joanna Hernandez started a new job as multiplatform editor on the Universal Desk at the Washington Post, Veronica Villafa?±e reported on her Media Moves site. Hernandez, a former region director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists who is vice president of Unity: Journalists of Color, had most recently taught journalism at City University of New York. She worked as a copy editor for the Record and the Herald News in northern New Jersey.
- National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" aired a piece on New Year's Day about Ernie Manuelito, who died in 2009 at age 57. "His was the first voice ever to be heard on KTNN-AM, the Navajo nation radio station. Known to listeners as Early Bird Ernie, Manuelito loved oldies (Buck Owens and George Jones were favorites) and sports, especially football. He reported on local news, but he also brought the outside world to his Navajo community. He announced Super Bowl XXX and the Salt Lake City Olympics in the Dine (Navajo) language. Ernie spoke Navajo well ‚Äî better than many ‚Äî and said that putting the Navajo language on the air was an important public service."
- CBS's Maggie Rodriguez announced to "The Early Show" anchors on Monday that she's four months' pregnant and is expecting her second child July 1, CBS announced. (Video)
- "No one was more surprised than Belva Davis when KQED Channel 9 asked her to stay on as anchor of its revamped weekly news analysis staple, 'This Week in Northern California,' " Lisa Vorderbrueggen wrote Wednesday in the Costra Costa (Calif.) Times. "Davis has been on television in the Bay Area for 43 years ‚Äî 16 of those on KQED public television ‚Äî and has earned a wall full of journalism awards."
- Often, Lester Holt, anchor of NBC's "Weekend Today," "is asked whether it‚Äôs hard to be a person of faith in his profession," Bobby Ross Jr. wrote for the January issue of the Christian Chronicle. "Whenever that question is posed, he said, the implication seems to be that 'this business is not for people of faith. I think there‚Äôs a connotation that we‚Äôre the liberal, atheist media,' Holt said. 'And I know a lot of people in this business who are people of faith ‚Äî maybe not this specific faith that I share, but people who believe in God and follow their faith. So I don‚Äôt find it hard.' "
- BlackTalkers.com, a Web site founded in November by Robert "Rob" Redding Jr. of the online Redding News Review, Monday announced these winners: Syndicated Personality of the Year ‚Äî Joe Madison of XM satellite radio and WOL-AM in Washington; Radio Personality of the Year ‚Äî Herman Cain of WSB-AM in Atlanta; Station of the Year ‚Äî WGIV-FM in Charlotte, N.C., and TV Personality of the Year ‚Äî Oprah Winfrey. "The nominees were submitted via email and the winners were selected by me," Redding told Journal-isms.
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