Courant hires ad director it skewered in its news pages

A reader sends this email:

Hartford Courant Rips Businessman as Shady, Hires Him as Ad Director

Except for being true, it’s practically Onion copy.

Michael Guinan

In 2008, The Hartford Courant ran a detailed story about a local vanity publisher who chronically stiffed creditors while leading a flashy public lifestyle (“Hartford Magazine’s Guinan: Legacy of Debt”). Over time the paper cheerfully followed up with new reports of the man’s talent for alienating business partners and racking up allegations of business malfeasance.

Now somebody at El Courante has decided Guinan isn’t so bad after all: he’s been hired as the new director of advertising.

It’s a strange world. But you can’t say America’s Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper doesn’t believe in second chances.

HERE’S THE TIMELINE:

January 2008: The Courant runs an investigation headlined, “Hartford Magazine’s Michael Guinan: A Legacy of Debt”

October 2010: The Courant reports Guinan is fired as Hartford Magazine co-publisher following an investigation into financial irregularities at the publication’s parent company.

January 2011: The Courant reports Guinan is accused of diverting funds.

October 2011: Michael Guinan is named Hartford Courant director of advertising.

December 2011: Hartford Courant buys Hartford Magazine.

I’ve invited Guinan and Courant publisher Richard Graziano for comment (check your Facebook emails, gentlemen), and will post any responses that come in. UPDATE: A statement from the Courant’s communications director Jennifer T. Humes is after the jump.

Dear Mr. Romenesko,

Please see the attached correction in reference to your blog post entitled “Courant Hires Ad Director It Skewered In Its News Pages” dated January 10, 2012.

Michael Guinan’s title at the Hartford Courant is Advertising Director of magazine & events. Please see below for a letter from his former business partner, Christopher White which states that Michael Guinan and LIFE Publications have reached amicable terms and there are no issues between the two parties. A copy of the letter is also attached to this email.

December 21, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

In late 2010 Life Publications took action against Michael Guinan regarding certain company matters. After further investigation and discussion with his legal counsel, Life Publications reached an amicable settlement with Mr. Guinan in February 2011. As partial consideration for the settlement, LIFE Marketing & Events, LLC, transferred to Mr. Guinan all of the assets and rights to the Newport Wine Festival and released Mr. Guinan from certain non-compete restrictions under that certain Agreement between LIFE publications, Inc. and Mr. Guinan, effective as of July 1, 2008.

Life Publications and Mr. Guinan recently reached an amicable resolution regarding Hartford Magazine.

On behalf of Life Publications, I want to wish Mr. Guinan success in his future business endeavors.

Very truly yours,

Christopher White

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