Kargo, Tronc, The Avengers, Radio Hall of Fame in news


Kargo seeks to reduce damages awarded to former employee

Arguing that a New York Labor law should not apply to a Chicago resident, mobile ad shop Kargo filed a motion last Friday to reduce the $40 million awarded to former employee Alexis Berger by $36.5 million.

Berger was the former SVP of Sales for the Midwest and West Coast for Kargo when she filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim in spring 2016. Prior to her late-July termination, she was the agency’s highest paid employee and managed approximately 30 employees.

Arbitrator Billie Colombaro awarded Berger a total of $40,925,284.20 in May, according to Ad Age and Adweek. In an 83-page ruling, she cited inappropriate comments allegedly made by SVP Kevin Canty among the instances of gender discrimination directed towards Berger, who is gay.

“At retreats, [Canty] would comment on [Berger’s] sexuality and talk about ‘flipping her back,’” she wrote. “He also asked her and her partner in Cannes to ‘have a threesome’ with him.”

Alexis BergerIn conclusion, Colombaro stated that, “sexual discrimination was, at the very least, a motivating factor in her termination. This was a collaborative orchestration carried out in a malicious, insidious, and humiliating manner.”

Now, according to a new Adweek report, Kargo claims that the arbiter showed a “blatant disregard for evidence that would have supported the agency’s case and generally showed signs of being biased toward the ousted employee.”

Additionally, the article continues, Kargo’s filings show that Berger’s 2016 EEOC claim has been dismissed, as a subsequent EEOC investigation “was unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.”

Corporate counsel for Kargo, Anthony Greco, is also quoted in the story stating that, “papers are now on file … to vacate or substantially modify the arbitration award of its former employee.”

The AdWeek story lists a number of findings by Kargo that suggest Berger frequently behaved in the same unprofessional manner that she complained about in the first place, among them:

Berger allegedly informed a female subordinate that she could only attend a conference if she shared a room and bed with Berger;

Berger alleged displayed a propensity for “scream(ing) at and micromanag(ing) her sales team;”

Berger allegedly declared that she was “not hiring any more vaginas in this office, only penises. There’s too much estrogen around here.”



Tronc acquires New York Daily News for $1

Tronc, the owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, has acquired the New York Daily News, according to a Monday report by the New York Times. If approved, the purchase would expand tronc’s reach into ten major markets, including the top three.

“We are excited to welcome the New York Daily News team to the tronc family,” Justin Dearborn, CEO of tronc, said in a statement. “(The publication) will provide us with another strategic platform for growing our digital business, expanding our reach and broadening our services.”

The deal follows months of negotiations between tronc executives and Mortimer Zuckerman, the billionaire real estate developer who led the Daily News to five Pulitzer Prizes since acquiring the publication in 1993.

It also ends a losing streak for tronc chairman Michael Ferro, who had previously failed to complete transactions to acquire the Sun-Times and US Weekly magazine and to merge with Gannett.

The New York Daily News was originally owned by The Tribune Company from its founding in 1919 until 1991. In 2017, it lured Jim Kirk from the Chicago Sun Times to the Chicago Tribune, and then sent him to the Los Angeles Times, where he currently serves as temporary managing. The reported purchase price is $1 and assumption of liabilities.


Avengers’ Vision dishes at Wizard World

Paul Bettany — who played Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War” — stopped by the comic book convention Wizard World to discuss the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War,” and share details about his character’s relationship with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch.

Though the fate of his character’s “mind stone” tops the list of current fan curiosities, it took less than five minutes for the conversation to turn toward the most anticipated relationship in the MCU — Vision and Scarlet Witch.

Bettany couldn’t dive too far into details, at the risk of facing Marvel’s wrath (which is said to be worse than Khan’s), but did acknowledge the fun of their increasing interactions.

“I think, for both Lizzie and I, it’s the most exciting plotline of each of us so far,” he said. “This is the biggest production I’ve ever been on … ever.”

Olsen herself was scheduled to attend the Con, but had to cancel due to reshoots. Bettany noted that he’ll be returning in September to continue filming.


Hundred years of radio coming to Museum of Broadcasting

The National Radio Hall of Fame coming to Museum of BroadcastingAccording to Robert Feder’s blog, The National Radio Hall of Fame is expected to announce Tuesday that it plans to debut “100 Years of Radio” in the fall of 2019.

Radio celebrates its official centennial in 2020.

Billed as “an interactive experience through emerging technologies and architecture,” the exhibit will require renovation of the current Radio Hall of Fame on the second floor of the museum at 360 North State Street.

Museum visitors will have access to audio performances and histories of inductees, as well as numerous artifacts including the microphones used by iconic personalities during live radio theater productions.



Effen Cubs

Chicago-based Beam Suntory is making the most of its new status as the Chicago Cubs’s exclusive distilled spirits sponsor according to a report in The Chicago Business Journal.

If the Cubs win, you now have reason to celebrate with Effen Vodka. And if they don’t, you can drown your woes with Effen Vodka.

Last week, Beam Suntory unveiled a limited edition, commemorative Effen vodka wrapped in a special blue sleeve with both Cubs and Effen branding. The commemorative bottle has a suggested retail price of $21.99 for 750ml.

This is what we call a Reel win-win situation!


Loyola Professor screening her rough cut

Loyola University film professor Elizabeth Coffman has begun feedback screenings for the rough cut of her feature-length documentary, “Flannery O’Connor,” the first film about the influential and reclusive southern author.

To reveal shaping forces in the life of her subject and to bring to life passages from the pages of fiction, Coffman weaves in animations by Kathleen Judge, Natalie Barahona and Heidi Kumao.

Joe Winston is editing. Miriam Cutler is creating an original music score. Bob Hercules serves as Executive Producer. Here is the trailer:



Ad of the day

So, you’re a Cleveland bike store and you know winter is coming so what can you possibly do to attract more customers and move some bikes?

Speak to their sensibilities obviously.



Follow Colin Costello on Twitter @colincostello10