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On November 13, John Lynch, CEO of the U-T San Diego and the revamped North County Times will be giving a presentation to members of the Association for Corporate Growth San Diego, a membership-based network for "professionals involved in corporate growth."

ACG's website says Lynch will speak on the "deal that resulted in the transformation of the San Diego Union-Tribune into U-T San Diego. Lynch was a San Diego broadcast executive before he joined with Doug Manchester, the hotel developer, to acquire the major metro daily newspaper."

The site also provides a brief biography of Lynch.

He "started his career at the Chicago Tribune before moving into radio in the Midwest. In 1972 he moved to San Diego and within a decade was part owner of Noble Broadcast Group, which owned several radio stations. Lynch is credited for expanding the company, which sold for $152 million in 1996. In 2003, Lynch founded the Broadcast Company of America and started XX Sports Radio (1090-AM), which he left last year."

However, some information from Lynch's business background, including several lawsuits involving Lynch and the companies he ran, have been omitted for obvious reasons.

The lawsuits date from the late 70's to 2009. They include allegations of trade name infringement, age discrimination, unfair business practices, and negligence.

The earliest lawsuit found occurred in 1978, when Lee Bartell, owner of Magic 91 radion station in El Cajon, accused the radio executive and Noble Multimedia Communications Incorporated of trade name infringement after Lynch and company launched 91X FM.

Then in 1993, while serving as general manager for Noble Broadcast Company, former morning news anchor for XTRA Radio, Jack Hayes, accused Lynch and other executives of age discrimination.

Months later, Lynch was again called back to court, this time Lynch blamed a local radio station, formerly known as XHRM FM 92.5, of stealing secrets and of unfair business practices. The defendant, Luis Rivas Kaloyan, responded with claims that Lynch bullied him and his company.

"He threatened me in the presence of my attorney...that if our station was to switch its format, that he would do whatever was necessary to bury us," read court documents filed in San Diego Superior Court.

Then came the case over the failed Catholic Radio Network. Lynch helped launch the radio network in 1998 and later served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. (Note: The Reader's publisher Jim Holman was one of 11 people to contribute money to start the network and was named as one of the defendants).

After nearly two years of serving as Chairman, Lynch sued the company for breach of contract for $1,500,000. At the time Lynch said the network did not pay him wages and did not reimburse him money he invested and for providing office equipment and furniture.

"Plaintiff [Lynch] has suffered damages including, without limitation, the loss of earnings, bonuses, stock options, medical and other insurance and employment benefits which he would have received had Catholic Radio not breached Plaintiff's employment contract, and future income and benefits Plaintiff would gave earned if he had been allowed to continue his employment," read the complaint filed in March 2001.

Of course, the defendants did not agree:"Defendants allege that to the extent that plaintiff has suffered damages such damages were caused by or contributed to by the negligence, fault, breach of contract, and/or wrongful or tortious conduct of persons or entities, including plaintiff."

The stations were later sold off.

And lastly there's the lawsuit against TAG Digital Media, the multi-media company where Lynch served as chairman.

In that case T.C. Lawson Marketing, LTD., a Hong-Kong-based company, sued Lynch and his failing media company for $125,100, the remaining balance left from a deal to purchase 6.5 million compact discs for use at photo booths inside WalMart stores.

On October 18 2008, Lynch wrote a letter to the Hong Kong-based marketing outfit personally guaranteeing that he and his company would honor the $1.04 million contract.

"The purpose of this letter is for me to offer my personal guarantee that this amount will be paid as follows," wrote Lynch on October 16, 2008.

"Tag will provide a down payment in the amount of $160,000 on or about October 20 by providing a letter of credit for the initial shipment of CD's...

"In addition, I will personally guarantee that this payment will be made. If Tag [Digital Media] is unable or unwilling to pay this obligation, then I will pay it from my personal funds.

"Attached is my personal financial statement showing that I have the ability to fulfill this obligation should it become necessary."

Despite his assurances, the Chinese marketing firm had to go to court in order to collect the outstanding balance.

When asked about the lawsuit in a September 24 email Lynch stated that he was not aware of any lawsuit. He also denied having any major role in the deal, despite his letter saying otherwise.

"I have never been served anything on it. I was an investor in Tag. I served for a couple of years as its CEO when it was hurting from the dot com bust in 1998 and ’99. But was simply an outside investor in Tag for its last seven or eight years. It went out of business, in 2006 or so."

Lynch will give his presentation at the Rancho Valencia Hotel from 4pm to 7pm on November 13.


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Visduh Nov. 5, 2012 @ 9:08 p.m.

I find it very interesting that Lynch will speak to the Association for Corporate Growth. Twenty-plus years ago I was a member of that group, thinking that it was promoting healthy growth of enterprises. It took about three years for me to finally grasp the fact that "Corporate Growth" in their sense was a euphemism for "Mergers, Acquisitions and Leveraged Buyouts." The local chapter had the dubious distinction of providing Tom Page his first forum for speaking publicly after he and his lap-dog SDGE board of directors accepted the buy-out offer from So Cal Edison in the late 80's. One of the directors of the chapter made the comment that Page's appearance was fitting because ACG was there to support mergers and other combinations. And that was true, no matter how mindless the merger or takeover. I'm amazed that there is still a local chapter of ACG, because it didn't garner much interest in the 80's and early 90's, and was rather duplicative of the venture capital group in SD. The membership was nearly all sellers of services, such as accounting firms and law firms; few buyers, the people from companies needing capital infusions, were members.

So, if you think that the growth of corporations is all about capital infusions, mergers, acquisitions and buy-outs, ACG is the group for you. If you think otherwise, run the other way as fast as you can.

If Johnnie is looking for an appreciative audience, ACG is the place to go. Buying up businesses and consolidating them was what that group was all about, especially since all that activity generates big professional fees for the bean counters and shysters. When he and Dougie make their next big buy, all the sellers of services from ACG will be in line waiting for their chance to bill hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in fees.


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