While it is difficult to say when those who run the Washington Post began lying or how many lies they have told. The Graham family (major stock holders in the company traded as WaPo) and their cohorts continue to shamelessly lie.
Editor Marcus Brauchli and Publisher Katharine Weymouth, were caught lying to the New York Times about their involvement in 2009’s SalonGate. Richard Perez Pena reported on Sept 11, 2009 in the NY Times about the marketing executive at the center of The Washington Post’s discredited plan to charge power-brokers for private dinners with the paper’s publisher and journalists had resigned from The Post.
The Post had sent fliers to lobbyists and trade groups, inviting them to pay $25,000 or more to sponsor salons at the home of Katharine Weymouth, the publisher — off-the-record dinners with reporters, editors and government officials. The plan became public in July, drawing sharp criticism from journalists in and out of the paper, and The Post quickly dropped it. According to Perez Pena:
“Washington Post Executive Quits After a Faux Pas” : Marcus W. Brauchli, executive editor of The Post, and Ms. Weymouth said they should have recognized the ethical issues created by the plan and ended it earlier. But they said they had not known all the details of how the dinners were being promoted — for instance, Mr. Brauchli said he had not understood that they would be off the record — and that those details significantly compounded the ethical problems.
The lies were later revealed on Oct 17, 2009 when Pena reported:
“However, in a subsequent letter to Mr. Pelton — which was sent to The Times by Mr. Pelton’s lawyer — Mr. Brauchli now says that he did indeed know that the dinners were being promoted as “off the record,” and that he and Mr. Pelton had discussed that issue.”
In almost any other newspaper the editor would have resigned or been fired. At the Post, Editor Brauchli placed the blame on Post marketing executive Charles Pelton. Pelton resigned but before doing so, his lawyer exposed Brauchli’s and Weymouth’s lies to the NY Times.
Post CEO Don Graham embarked on a series of lies beginning in August 2010 when Kaplan University was caught engaging in fraudulent student recruiting practices in a federal undercover investigation. In the Aug 5, 2010 Washington Post article: ‘GAO: 15 for-profit colleges used deceptive recruiting tactics”, Daniel de Vise and Paul Kane reported:
” In a joint statement, Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Co., and Andrew S. Rosen, chairman and chief executive of Kaplan Inc., described the tactics revealed in the videotaped interviews as “sickening.”
“They violate in every way the principles on which Kaplan is run,” they said in a statement posted on The Washington Post Co.’s Web site. “The GAO and the Senate [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee] have done us a favor. We will do everything in our power to eliminate such conduct from Kaplan’s education institutions.” “
Despite Mr. Graham feigning shock and surprise, the truth is that allegations of malfeasance at Kaplan were quite well known at the Post Company for years. As an example, the 2010 10-K Washington Post Company annual report released in March 2010 disclosed that Kaplan University was the subject of investigations by the federal government and multiple law suits (some going as far back as 2005) alleging fraudulent business practices at Kaplan.
And while Donald Graham stated the GAO and Senate did him a favor with the 2010 sting, and he would do everything in his power to eliminate such conduct, the truth is he spent the next 10 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress and the Obama administration to weaken proposed regulations designed to eliminate such conduct.
As Keach Hagey reported in Politico in the article “Don Graham disappointed in WaPoCo stock price” on Sept 9, 2011:
“ Graham also said that despite the fact that he “we lobbied like hell” against the Department of Education’s new regulations, he basically lost. “The train was slowed down but it stayed on the same tracks, and to me, it’s the wrong set of tracks.”
Another of Don Graham’s lies was reported in the article “For-Profit Kaplan U. Hears Its Fight Song”, Wall Street Journal Aug 30, 2010 By Russel Adams and Melissa Korn. It was reported:
“They aimed at the bad actors and they wound up scoring a direct hit on schools that service low-income students”, Mr. Graham said in an interview. “That cannot be what the Obama Administration wants”.
The truth is Kaplan was one of the bad actors which prompted the development of the new Dept. of Ed. regulations. Kaplan was one of those for-profit universities caught in the GAO Sting, had a 2 year loan default rate in excess of 25% and had been under investigation since 2007 by the DOJ and Dept of Ed related to the defrauding of students in the CHI surgical tech program.
Graham’s claim that Kaplan serves minority students is also a lie. The truth is The Post Co. waited 4 years before agreeing to pay off CHI students’ loans. Many students were left with $13,000 in debt and no degree as a result of Kaplan malfeasance. Many ended up defaulting on their loans and were left with ruined credit. In 2011 the Post Company settled the CHI matter with the Dept. of Justice for $1.6 million, and avoided criminal prosecution. Hardly service to the low-income minority community Graham talks about.
The $1.6 million was pocket change for the Grahams. The family syndicate headed by Don “Corleone” Graham sold over $70 million in stock between 2008 to 2011, which brings us to the next big lie. At the Sept 9, 2011 Shareholder’s day meeting transcript published on seekingalpha.com, it was reported that Don Graham stated:
“I have not sold a share of Washington Post Company stock in over 30 years nor has any trust for my benefit”.
“I am also a trustee of several trusts for the benefit of other members of my family. From time to time, these family members who also started out life heavily concentrated in Post stock have asked their trustees to sell stock when, for example, they want to buy a house.”
The truth is: Don Graham executed several stock sales in April 2008 on behalf of his (now ex) wife. And the Graham family sibling trust sold over $70 million in stock between April 2008 and July 2011, liquidating about 90% of its non-derivative stock holdings. This demonstrates Donald Graham’s claim that his family only sells stocks occasionally, like when they buy a house, is false.
Apparently fibbing is a family affair. Alex Pareene reported in Salon.com, in the article “Student loan debts crush an entire generation” on Oct 20, 2011:
”This is just too delicious not to point out to you, the angry unemployed mobs: here is what Washington Post editor (and member of the paper’s ruling family) Lally Weymouth said when asked what she would do to “solve our fiscal crisis.”
Lally: “If I could do one thing, it would be to ensure the future of for-profit education companies, which this administration seems bent on eliminating. The Washington Post Company has struggled hard to be a good and decent company, but our for-profit education division is under fire by the administration, as are other for-profit education companies like Apollo and Strayer. (Full disclosure: I and my family have an ownership interest in WPO.)”
Only a member of the one percent crowd would make such a ridiculous statement. As Pareene dryly noted:
“Lally’s idea for solving America’s “fiscal crisis” is to allow her to continue enriching herself by burying already poor people in paralyzing debt”.
The truth is Lally (who is also CEO Don Graham’s sister), must know the Washington Post is not a good or decent company. As an editor and owner of the Post she must be aware of the many false claims lawsuits, federal and state investigations, CHI legal settlement, shareholders’ lawsuit, EEOC lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices, the Post’s prosecution of Kaplan’s legal studies dean (who is a Kaplan whistle blower), and the dozens of news articles published elsewhere detailing allegations of fraud and misconduct at Kaplan.
If the Washington Post and Graham family’s conduct seems to resemble that of a crime family syndicate this might be attributed to the structure of the Post Company. While the Post is a publicly traded company, it is a dual class share company, with Don Graham controlling 85 % of class A shares which elect 70% of the Board.
Apparently Don “Corleone” Graham likes shareholder’s money, but not enough to give them a voice in how the company is run. The result has been the appointment of his niece as publisher, his sister as associate editor, SalonGate, KaplanGate, fraud, lies, investigations, lawsuits and a 50% decline in stock price.
If the Washington Post was controlled by shareholders, Don Graham and his cronies would likely have been fired long ago for their nefarious misconduct, nepotism and mismanagement. While this syndicate of miscreants should be prosecuted under the RICO statute for their actions, such a scenario is unlikely as long as the government is corrupted by the one percent.
2010 Washington Post 10-K report, section 3 legal proceedings, http://google.brand.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/EDGARpro.dll?FetchFilingHtmlSection1?SectionID=7093450-177574-185109&SessionID=KhklHe9tsQLslA7
For-Profit Kaplan U. Hears Its Fight Song Wall Street Journal Aug 30, 2010 By Russel Adams and Melissa Korn, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703418004575455773289209384.html