The co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer was killed in a fiery plane crash just days after the completion of a hostile takeover of the newspaper, leaving many questions about the circumstances of his death.
Lewis Katz died Saturday night along with six other people when his Gulfstream corporate failed to take off and crashed down an embankment at the end of the runway at Hanscom Field, erupting into a ball of flames. Authorities said nobody survived the crash.
Katz was on his way back to New Jersey after attending a gathering at the home of Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Among the others on the plane were Katz’s next-door neighbor, Anne Leeds, a retired preschool teacher, and Marcella Dalsey, who’s the director of Katz’s son’s foundation. The identities of the other victims in the crash have not been released yet.
Last Tuesday Katz and Harold H.F. Lenfest completed a hostile takeover of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com by buying out the other owners for $88 million. The move ended a year-long battle with Democrat powerbroker George Norcross over the direction the media outlet would be taking.
The battle erupted over the city’s two major newspapers when Norcross tried to fire Pulitzer Prize winning editor Bill Marimo. Katz and Lenfest went to court to keep him, the bought out Norcross and his allies saying they vowed to keep in-depth journalism and integrity within the organizations.
Oddly enough, former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell was slated to be on the flight but ended up backing out at the last minute, saying that he had prior commitments.