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Tribune agrees to pay $675,000 to ex-chief Randy Michaels

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Tribune Co. agreed to pay former chief executive Randy Michaels $675,000 in a settlement stemming from his abrupt resignation from the company Oct. 22, 2010.

The company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV Channel 5, the Chicago Tribune and other media properties, will also cover $50,000 in Michaels' legal fees, according to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Michaels, who resigned under pressure after news reports alleging he created a sexually charged "frat house" atmosphere in the corporate suite of the bankrupt media company, had demanded that he receive $900,000, the prorated potion of his planned 2010 management incentive bonus.

His argument, the papers said, was that he was effectively "terminated without cause," which would trigger the payment under terms of the bonus plan.

Tribune disagreed, but decided to settle to avoid protracted litigation over the issue, the document said. After "extensive negotiations" between the company and Michaels' lawyers, he agreed to the reduced amount. The settlement also includes a non-disparagement clause and several provisions that limit the company's future liability to claims brought by Michaels.

Tribune declined to comment. Michaels, reached by telephone, also declined to comment.

The settlement must still be approved by the judge in Tribune Co.'s nearly 3-year-old Chapter 11 proceeding. Tribune said in the documents that the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the case and the U.S. Trustee have no objection to the settlement plan.

mdoneal@tribune.com

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