As journalists get stiffed on raises, Tronc's chairman bags another $5 million for private jet and "expertise"


It looks like Michael Ferro’s private jet travel just got much more expensive and a lot more secretive.

Tronc has handed Ferro and one of his companies a $5-million-a-year “consulting agreement” that would cover the cost of his sleek Bombardier jet and any other luxury travel he chooses to indulge in.

In fact, Ferro gets the money even if he never takes to the skies again — or leaves the house. This is all according to a SEC filing that Tronc clearly timed for the Friday afternoon before Christmas.

The agreement comes with rolling, renewable terms of three years. The $5 million is payable on the first business day in January.

It essentially replaces the leasing arrangement in which Tronc paid Ferro’s Merrick Ventures for his own use of the jet. That act of plundering cost Tronc — and its newsrooms — $4.6 million between February 2016 and last September.

Ferro is now free to spend nearly twice that amount per year on the jet or anything else he desires. And he won’t have to break out the travel expenses on future SEC filings.

Could there be any better evidence for the need of a Guild at the Los Angeles Times?

If Ferro flew first class on a commercial airline, instead of on a private jet that costs $8,500 an hour, his “sacrifice” would go a long way toward giving us decent raises each year, while lowering our healthcare premiums and restoring our accruable vacation pay. And he’d still have plenty of legroom.

But Ferro and a handful of other Tronc executives seem to put personal enrichment ahead of a healthier newsroom. We’ve already reported that they pay themselves millions more in annual salaries, stock awards and bonuses than their counterparts receive at The New York Times, Gannett and other large media companies.

All of those Tronc executives also have employment contracts — which means their wages and benefits are guaranteed in writing. And yet they’re fighting to keep you from negotiating a Guild contract. Hypocrisy at its highest point.

Let’s stop the looting of The Times by voting yes for the Guild on Jan. 4.