A 2009 Lawsuit Holds Up John Henry’s Purchase of the Boston Globe

A lawsuit against the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is causing the delay.

The New York Times Company was supposed to transfer ownership of the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette to Red Sox owner John Henry by this past Friday, but a last minute restraining order from a Superior Court judge has temporarily blocked the $70 million sale. It’s not because of any concern with the future owner, but because of a 2009 class action lawsuit by independent newspaper carriers against the Telegram & Gazette. The T&G reported the story Tuesday, writing:

Judge Frison issued the order at the request of lawyers representing the independent newspaper carriers, who are worried that the sale could prevent their clients from being able to collect a settlement.

“The defendant … is hereby enjoined and restrained from transferring ownership or interest in any of its assets… until further order of this court,” Judge Frison wrote in her temporary restraining order. “The court retains the prerogative to inspect the financial documents of the defendant in order to resolve any disputes.”

According to the T&G, the Times asked the judge to lift the restraining order Monday, but the Times Co. said they aren’t willing to assume all liability, so it’s hard to say how long this might hold up Henry’s future as a media mogul. The newspaper carriers’ lawyer tells the Boston Herald that they may be owed up to $60 million. Given the entire New England Media Group sold for $70 million … that issue of who pays them is a pretty key one.

Hopefully it’s the only bad 9th inning surprise Henry gets this week.