BREAKING NEWS

AMI vs. USA

Jan. 30 2008, Published 8:04 a.m. ET

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When American Media kingpin David Peckerimported U.K. editor Paul Field and his crack squad of FleetStreet-ers to take over the Enquirer, he didn’t count onone thing: good ol' fashioned Yankee litigiousness. According to a mole deep inside thecompany, a handful of the 23 staffers displaced by Field’s hires have beenindividually threatening to invoke a labor law that prohibits U.S. employersfrom hiring foreign workers when native sons will do. The onlyloophole to the law is a proviso allowing companies to hire employees fromabroad if they possess unique qualifications unavailable in the American laborpool. Insert dumpster diving joke here.

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The ex-staffers’ gambit seems to be paying off. Our source says atleast a few of the potential litigants have received handsome confidential settlementsfrom AMI, possibly because the company is leery of dragging the cases throughcourt, which might force it to make a public account of its coffers. (ThomasSeverson, AMI’s latest CFO, left the company on May 9 for unknown“personal reasons.”) Not surprisingly, AMI spokesman Stu Zakimdenied there were any “lawsuits, threatened or imaginary” resultingfrom the Enquirer purge.

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