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The Feds Are Not Going After Belo For Phony Circulation Numbers

The Securities and Exchange Commission is letting Belo Corp. off the hook concerning those inflated circulation numbers three years ago. Courtesy Editor & Publisher, that info can be found in Belo's SEC filing yesterday, in which it says:

In 2004, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) notified the Company that it was conducting a newspaper industry-wide inquiry into circulation practices, and inquired specifically about The Dallas Morning News’ circulation overstatement. The Company briefed the SEC on The Dallas Morning News circulation situation and related matters. The information voluntarily provided to the SEC related to The Dallas Morning News, as well as The Providence Journal and The Press-Enterprise. On October 1, 2007, the staff sent counsel for the Company a letter stating that the inquiry has been completed and that the staff does not intend to recommend any enforcement action by the SEC.

But there's still a class-action suit pending against the paper, filed by shareholders shortly after the revelation of the false circulation numbers. Also contained in the SEC filing is a note that the age-discrimination lawsuit brought against The News by 18 employees -- including Larry Powell, Jan Hubbard and Bill DeOre -- has a trial date: January 2009. --Robert Wilonsky

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