Former Tribune Co. exec charged with defrauding company
Dec 28, 2012 (Menafn - Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Tribune Co.'s former director of real estate has been charged with defrauding the company out of 260,000 in commissions.
A federal grand jury accused Stephanie Pater of diverting real estate commissions meant for Tribune Co. to her own company, according to an indictment filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
A Tribune Co. spokesman declined to comment, and Pater could not be reached.
Pater joined Tribune Co. as director of real estate in January 2008, soon after billionaire real estate developer Sam Zell took the company private in a heavily leveraged 8.2 billion deal. Her role with the company included seeking buyers for Tribune Tower and Times Mirror Square in Los Angeles before the properties were taken off the market in 2009.
She left the company in 2010 to form Catalyst Group, which was hired by Tribune Co., identified only as Company A in the indictment, to oversee its real estate holdings for a monthly fee. Sources confirmed that Tribune Co. is Company A.
In March 2010, Pater created a fake contract between Tribune Co. and Catalyst that directed an unnamed company to pay commissions to her company, according to the indictment. The scheme took place over a period of about six months, according to the indictment.
When Tribune Co. asked Pater for a copy of the contract, she provided the legitimate contract, not the false one, in an effort to conceal the fraud, according to the indictment.
The story was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and other media properties, is expected to emerge from a four-year stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Dec. 31.
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