Move to delay sale of Advertiser denied


POSTED: Saturday, April 10, 2010

A state Circuit Court judge denied a motion yesterday for an injunction to delay the sale of The Honolulu Advertiser to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Judge Rom Trader ruled that four longtime Advertiser employees and members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142, who had claimed that Gannett Co. had not given them the required 60-day notice of their termination, did not prove “;irreparable injury.”;

“;The court does not believe the circumstances as presented to the court are appropriate of injunctive relief,”; Trader said.

In a declaration filed Monday with the court, Honolulu Advertiser Publisher Lee Webber had said workers would be paid full wages and benefits for 60 days regardless of when the Advertiser sale closes.

;[Preview]  Honolulu Advertiser hearing leaves workers lost

A judge today refused to block the sale of the Honolulu Advertiser.


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However, Trader ruled that the 60 days would start from the date that each employee received their notice of termination. Most Advertiser employees received termination notices on March 9; however, some received them as late as April 2, according to court documents.

“;I think this is a partial victory for all of our co-workers because before we filed this suit Gannett never mentioned paying 60 days of wages and benefits,”; said Patrick “;Rick”; DeCosta, who initiated the lawsuit along with Lance Kamada, Lorin Okamura and Todd Yamane.

While DeCosta said he did not know if further legal action would be taken, employee unions and activists are continuing efforts to delay the sale by introducing resolutions in the state Legislature and in the City Council.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a resolution urging the owner of the Star-Bulletin to allow sufficient time to find a buyer in an effort to maintain a two-newspaper town. Similar measures are moving through the House. On Wednesday, the City Council's Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee approved a non-binding resolution with the same aim. Committee Chairman Charles Djou recommended approval of the proposal, but noted concerns about the Council getting involved in a private business transaction.

“;I don't want this to set any sort of precedent,”; he said.

The resolution passed unanimously and now goes before the full Council for consideration at its monthly meeting on April 21.

Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this report.