Biz mag lets Ponzi schemer have ‘pre-publication review’

Twin Cities Business editor Dale Kurschner was recently asked by a radio interviewer if Tom Petters — convicted of a massive investment fraud — was allowed to read the 14-page story about him before it ran.

Kurschner’s reply: “I did send him a copy for factual purposes ahead of time, but we had an agreement in writing before we even did anything that he would not have final say over what the story says. He could tell us if there was an inaccuracy, but it was totally our call on how that story ran.”

MinnPost media reporter David Brauer writes:

Getting a sensitive source to cooperate is often a matter of flattery, diplomacy and pressure; the challenge is not to sell out in pursuit of the story. Although Kurschner wrote a full-page editor’s note detailing the six-month saga of securing Petters’ cooperation, he did not disclose to readers the unusual provision that might have been the deal-clincher.

Kurschner tells Brauer that “normally, we don’t do” pre-publication review, but Petters’ “hypersensitive” lawyers advised him not to do the story, and pre-review was needed get the interview. “Part of it is going into situations where people aren’t willing to talk to you and earn their trust. Having him take a look at the story was part of earning that trust.”

* Business magazine lets Petters read story before publication (
* TCB gets exclusive interview with Ponzi schemer (Twin Cities Business)
* Ponzi schemer gives rare interview to business magazine (Star Tribune)