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Confirmed: Philly Newspaper Execs Got Bonuses as Bankruptcy Loomed

Article excerpt

op executives of Philadelphia Newspapers received year-end bonuses in December, weeks before the company filed for bankruptcy and reported $395 million in outstanding debt.

Chief Executive Brian Tierney and two others were doing a "very good job" and had not gotten raises since an investor group led by Tierney and others bought the company in 2006, Chairman Bruce Toll told The Associated Press on Monday.

The company operates The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

According to a Philadelphia Magazine blog that broke the story over the weekend, Toll said that Tierney received a $350,000 bonus and two others $150,000 each. On Monday, Toll told the AP that he does not remember the amounts.

He conceded that the board approved the bonuses -- and pay raises that have since been rescinded -- despite the company's bleak financial outlook.

"We weren't making money, we knew that. We just thought to keep some of these people here, I guess, that it was appropriate," Toll said.

He voiced no opinion on whether the bonuses should be returned.

"I don't feel that I should, myself, decide whether or not anybody should give (them) back," he said. …