As the highest profile and second longest serving editor in the News Corporation empire, New York Post supremo Col Allan is an important figure to watch as Rupert Murdoch moves towards financial close of his $5.5 billion Dow Jones takeover.
While the Sun King attempts to paint himself as a responsible owner of The Wall Street Journal, the last thing he needs is tales of his top editor plying prominent politicians with grog and taking them to seedy strip joints.
Then again, Col Allan has a long history of getting people legless with Rupert’s money. A few weeks after I took over as business editor of The Daily Telegraph in 1997, Col and current News Ltd CEO John Hartigan took me to their favourite Paddington eatery, Lucio’s, where we all got smashed over a long lunch that finished at 5pm with limoncello.
Mark Latham had a similar experience when he joined as a Daily Telegraph columnist, as this entry from his diary on 21 October, 1998, suggests:
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Lunch with The Daily Telegraph‘s Col Allan, Malcolm Farr and Piers Akerman at the swank Lucio’s in Paddington. It’s a marathon session – these guys can really hit the p-ss. They want me to write a weekly column for the paper and I’m happy to oblige… The lunch finished at 5.30pm and then it was back to News Ltd for an hour of work, blind as bats. Col wanted to kick on, but I bailed out. A five-hour lunch is about my limit these days.
The most famous other example of Col’s drinking was when he invited out-going Sydney Morning Herald editor John Lyons for a drink in September 1998 and got him so smashed that he ended up back in Col’s office.
My byline finished up on the Telegraph’s page three lead the next day and it was a complete concoction. Lyons was in the process of being punted and The Tele tried to tell its readers he’d been sacked for simply having a drink with his competitors.
John Alexander was on the phone to Col telling him it was an appalling act and he’d damaged Lyons immeasurably and then NSW Premier Bob Carr called the next day declaring it to be “the greatest c-nts act he’d ever seen”.
Let’s hope The Australian’s Media section can tell the real story about Col on Thursday. The New York Daily News certainly did him over yesterday, including this line:
It’s also another black eye for Allan, who is no stranger to Scores and who was accused in April by a former Page Six staffer of receiving ‘s-xual favors from women provided by the club in a private room’.