Through schemes large and small, top executives fleeced the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times, pocketing more than $400 million, or 95 percent of the profits over seven years, according to a report made public Tuesday. The company, Hollinger International, sits at the center of a heated battle between controlling shareholder Conrad Black and the board of directors — in particular, a “special committee” of directors investigating Black. The 513-page report, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Monday, represents the findings of an adviser hired by the committee to probe Black’s dealings.
Throughout the time they ran Hollinger International, Black and his associates engaged in “self-righteous and aggressive looting,” the report states. “Black and Radler made it their business to line their pockets at the expense of Hollinger almost every day, in almost every way they could devise. … Ethical corruption was a defining characteristic of the leadership team.” Filed as part of a lawsuit between Hollinger International and the SEC, the report paints an encyclopedic picture of financial wrongdoing and arrogant contempt for shareholders at the media company.