With news that the bankruptcy-protected Chicago Sun-Times has been sold to a group of local businessmen for $26.5 million, keeping Chicago a two-newspaper town, it might be interesting to note exactly who those businessmen are.
The competition over at the Chicago Tribune (also under bankruptcy protection) does a bang-up job of checking out the potential conflicts of interest. As the Tribune reports, the 11 new owners are “familiar with headlines.” The investors include:
- “Rocky” Wirtz, the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team and owner of a liquor distributor.
- Kevin Flynn, the architect of a failed plan to put a casino in suburban Rosemont several years ago and the son of former Waste Management and Blockbuster Video executive Donald Flynn.
- Brothers William and Robert Parrillo, whose father did legal work for gangsters, including Al Capone. William is the founder of Safeway Insurance Co, an auto insurance company, and Robert is managing partner of Parrillo Weiss & O’Halloran, a Chicago law firm specializing in personal injury and insurance cases. Their brother, Donald, the Tribune reports, is a former 1st Ward alderman, who once recounted that he was recruited to run for the post by then-Outfit chief Sam “Momo” Giancana and another brother, Richard, is a close friend of jailed former Republican Gov. George Ryan.
- Edward Heil, who ran a garbage business and a construction company that thrived on state contracts and recently invested in American Ecology Corp., which has a low-level nuclear waste site in Washington state.
And they are all led by financier James Tyree, chairman of Chicago investment bank, Mesirow Financial. In an interesting tidbit from the Sun-Times own Web site, we learn that Tyree once had a paper route.
Quoting Tyree, from the Tribune:
“As I’ve said already, the Sun-Times will write about me and my firm, good and bad,” Tyree said. “It’s the same for everybody.”
Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.