Two owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer are suing the newspaper's publisher because he fired the head of the newsroom without their consent.
Former New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz and former cable executive H.F. Lenfest said Publisher Robert Hall had to seek the approval of all the paper's owners before he could terminate William Marimow, editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, according to a court filing.
Katz and Lenfest are part of the Interstate General Media consortium which bought the Philadelphia Inquirer and its sister paper, the Daily News, in 2012 for $61 million.
Marimow was fired by Hall on Monday in a saga that has taken many twists during the week as media watchers tried to discern why the two-time Pulitzer prize winner was abruptly ousted.
According to the filing, Katz and Lenfest said that "Hall lacked the authority to fire the editor of the newspaper, a major business decision that should not have been - and could not be - taken without the unanimous approval of the management committee."
Katz and Lenfest also sued Interstate General Media and its stakeholders, including George Norcross III, a fundraiser for the Democratic party.
A spokesman for Interstate General Media's majority shareholders said the company was "on the path to profitability" under Hall and associate publisher Mike Lorenca.
The majority shareholders "look forward to fully and vigorously defending against this suit," he said.
Katz and Lenfest asked the court to reinstate Marimow as editor and to terminate Hall, whose contract as publisher ceased on September 1.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Stephen Coates)