Fired Inquirer Editor Set to Testify

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10.com

    Fired Philadelphia Inquirer editor Bill Marimow is expected to testify Wednesday afternoon as rival owners fight for control of the city's two largest newspapers.
     
    Powerful business tycoons George Norcross and Lewis Katz lead a group of investors who bought the Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News for $55 million last year, but are now feuding.

      Their clash went public when the publisher last month fired Marimow, under whose leadership the Inquirer won two Pulitzer Prizes. The Katz and Norcross factions have since sued each other.
     
    Katz supports Marimow and says he was cut him out of the decision. He wants the judge to reinstate Marimow and oust Publisher Bob Hall.
     
    However, Norcross's lawyers said Marimow's return would cause turmoil. And they argued that the ailing ship could be sunk if too much dirty laundry is aired in court.
     
    The newspapers have had five owners in seven years.
     
    Norcross made his money in insurance and has long been a force in southern New Jersey politics, while Katz has a parking lot fortune and also owned the New Jersey Nets. City philanthropist H.F. "Gerry'' Lenfest, who made his money in cable TV, has aligned with Katz, while the other, less visible owners support Norcross. The Norcross faction holds 58 percent of the stock, but Katz and Norcross together make up a two-man management committee charged with making key business decisions.
     
    All of the owners had pledged not to interfere with the editorial side of the operation.

    For Common Pleas Judge Patricia McInerney, the question then becomes whether Marimow's firing was an editorial or business decision. She agreed to hear limited testimony Wednesday afternoon to help her decide that question.
    The company also operates the Philly.com website and new, fee-based websites operated by each newspaper.