LAS VEGAS (CN) – A nearly weeklong mystery ended Wednesday when Sheldon Adelson was revealed as the man who paid $140 million to buy Nevada’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Review-Journal reported Wednesday that Adelson had his son-in-law Patrick Dumont broker the deal. Dumont is a senior vice president of finance for Las Vegas Sands, of which Adelson is chairman and CEO. Dumont, 41, is married to Adelson’s stepdaughter, Sivan Ochshorn Dumont.
The secretiveness of the deal, in which the newspaper refused to reveal its new owner, got him off to a rocky start with colleagues in his new business venture. The American Society of News Editors this week demanded that the new owners of the Review-Journal identify themselves.
“Journalism is all about transparency, one of the pillars of trust between a community and its news organization,” the organization said in a statement. “The Review-Journal owners want to remain secret, a choice that is faithless to the public trust and the talented journalists that work every day to provide an accurate, impartial news report for the community they serve.”
The Society of Professional Journalists echoed the sentiment Tuesday, saying the newspaper should provide more information than simply saying the buyer is a group of “undisclosed financial backers with expertise in the media industry.”
Even U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, got into the act, taking to the floor of the U.S. House on Wednesday to demand that the buyer identify himself.
“A lot of people are being very brave working for the RJ and calling for this,” she told a Review-Journal reporter. “And this is a bigger issue because it applies to the press anywhere. So I decided I’m going to speak on the floor.”
There is little love to be lost between the congresswoman and the newspaper, which is known for its right-wing editorial policy, and which is not likely to change under Adelson, a heavy hitter in Republican campaign funding. He promised to donate $100 million to Republican candidates in the 2012 election cycle, and also dabbles in Israeli politics.
The sale last week to an unidentified buyer perplexed even the newspapers’ editors and reporters, who had to investigate their own newspaper, with no assurance that their findings would be published.
The Review-Journal slashed staff repeatedly in recent years, and insiders told Courthouse News that morale is terrible. One editor in a position to know said that the newspaper canceled its subscription to The Associated Press this year – unheard of for a large metro daily – and that it did so to make its books look better in anticipation of the sale.
The newspaper was sold twice this year. New Media paid $102.5 million in March to buy it from Stephens Media. New Media owns more than 125 daily newspapers and 500 niche and community publications across the United States.
Until Wednesday, the only information released about the new buyer was that it was News + Media Capital Group of Delaware, which paid $140 million. New Media subsidiary GateHouse Media will run the newspaper and its sister publications, the Review-Journal said Wednesday.
The Review-Journal claims 184,000 subscribers for its Sunday edition. Its sister publications include Las Vegas Business Press, Tonopah Times Bonanza, Boulder City Review, Luxury Las Vegas Magazine, Pahrump Valley Times, Best of Las Vegas, and the website LasVegas.com.
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