Stop the Presses! They're Too Cheap!

A Friend of Unfair Park sends us a fascinating story involving a Seattle-based law firm specializing in international affairs, a Japanese-based maker of printing presses, The Dallas Morning News, the illegal sale of printing presses, and a $19-million dollar settlement last month in a malpractice suit. Fascinated? I am -- right on the arm.

I've tried for an hour to summarize the story, which is more complicated and inscrutable than the plot of Syriana, so read it for yourself here. Long and short of it: In 1994, Dallas' Only Daily got itself some printing presses at a deep discount. The U.S. Department of Commerce found the deal violated its anti-dumping law that restricts foreign companies from selling for cheap in the U.S. products it sells for much higher prices back home. Which didn't stop the paper from getting two more presses in 1996 at the same low, low price thanks to a "combination of cancelled fees and free supplies that would reduce the paper's cost back to the 1994 price tag." And that's where the trouble began. --Robert Wilonsky

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