Courant Censors Lawsuit Story Involving Hartford Magazine, Courant, And Wells Fargo

It turns out that Courant management not only protects major advertisers from adverse publicity, it also recently sanitized a simple lawsuit story.

The Jan. 12 story (reprinted in full below) makes no mention of the fact that The Courant was named in the Nov. 17 suit, nor it does it include that Wells Fargo Advisors was also mentioned in the suit.

It all might have been innocent omissions, but according to a source familiar with the suit, Courant Publisher Richard Grazziano ordered Courant editor Naedine Hazell to make sure that both facts were kept out of the story.

The source also said that Hazel directed business editor Dan Haar to make sure that business reporter Ken Gosselin made no mention of those facts as he was writing the story.

Both Haar and Gosselin declined to comment, including providing an explanation on why those facts were not mentioned.

The suit accuses Michael Guinan, the former co-publisher of Hartford magazine, of stealing thousands of dollars from sponsorships for wine festivals at Mohegan Sun and in Newport in 2010. It also accuses him of improperly charging thousands of dollars in personal expenses from the Newport event. Guinan has denied the accusations. And of course The Courant and Wells Fargo were named as victims and are not defendants.

The suit was filed by Life Marketing & Events, which is owned by Chris White, who is also chairman of the Connecticut Humane Society.

Guinan sold Hartford magazine to White and then became the deputy publisher and vice president of marketing and advertising.

The suit said Guinan charged The Courant (Tribune Co) $4,000 for a sponsorship to the Mohegan Sun Winefest, when the sponsorship was going to be a simple trade. Guinan pocketed the money, the suit said.

The suit said that Guinan also sold $1,500 worth of tickets for the events to Wells Fargo Advisors, where his wife works in the Essex office. The tickets were supposed to have been given to Wells Fargo Advisors for free, the suit said.

According to the source Guinan is a friend of Grazziano, who is publisher of both The Courant and Fox 61 TV. It was the same publisher who fired me after I refused to be nice to major advertisers.

White, according to Courant articles, fired Guinan in October.

Hartford attorney Peter Perakos, who represented Guinan in other litigation, had no comment Monday. Guinan has not responded to the suit.

It all sort of makes me wonder what else is being censored by the largest newspaper in Connecticut?

The following is the story that appeared in The Courant.

The former co-publisher of Hartford Magazine is being accused in a lawsuit of improperly diverting thousands of dollars after being hired to work on sponsorships for wine festivals at Mohegan Sun and in Newport last year.

Michael J. Guinan is accused of collecting more than $5,000 in connection with those events but not disclosing the payments to Life Marketing & Events LLC of West Hartford, which had hired him and has now filed the lawsuit. It also accuses him of improperly charging nearly $3,000 in expenses to the company.

The lawsuit follows Guinan’s firing from the magazine in October. While the circumstances of the dismissal have not been fully disclosed, it followed an investigation into “financial irregularities.”

[Sample Our Free Connecticut Business Midday Newsletter]

Life Marketing & Events and Hartford Magazine’s parent company, Life Publications Inc., are controlled by Christopher White, who serves as president of both. Guinan was employed by Life Publications, but worked as an independent contractor with Life Marketing.

White said this week that the firing and the lawsuit are separate matters. White declined to comment on whether there were similar issues involving Guinan while he was the magazine’s co-publisher. The discrepancies outlined in the lawsuit were uncovered in an internal audit, White said.

Late Wednesday, Guinan said in a statement that the charges are “frivolous,” that he had full authority to execute the transactions involving the wine festivals and that his expenses were valid. He also said he was wrongfully terminated as co-publisher of the magazine.

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

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3 Comments on "Courant Censors Lawsuit Story Involving Hartford Magazine, Courant, And Wells Fargo"

  1. It’s amazing how Chris White is always embroiled in some sort of scandal – first with the Humane Society and now with Michael Guinan….it’s amazing that White hired Guinan in the first place, completely ignoring all the red flags that came with the guy…..White’s arrogance has gotten him in another jam……….

  2. It’s disgusting that people still consider the Courant to be a symbol of all journalism stands for. Although, considering the state of American journalism, I guess teh Tribune Co. fits right in.

  3. George…Did you see Guinan is now the advertising contact for the “new” Hartford Magazine? Check out the hartfordmag.com page.

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