A senior News Limited executive offered to pay up to $100,000 in legal fees to a Geelong real estate agent embroiled in a legal brawl with a part-Fairfax-owned rival.
A "private and confidential" email sent by News' national real estate czar Tom Panos to Hayeswinckle managing director Danny Hayes in March, obtained by Crikey
, states that under the "strictly confidential" deal News would pay 50% of his legal fees to defend himself against Metro Media Publishing, which is half owned by Fairfax.
Metro Media is suing Hayeswinckle and related entity Team 3216 in the Victorian County Court for at least $1.4 million in contract breaches and damages, alleging that it reneged on the terms of an advertising agreement with the MMP-owned Weekly Review Greater Geelong
and moved its ads to News' Geelong Advertiser
Panos writes that "to assist you in your defence of the legal action brought against you by MMP we are prepared to reimburse you 50% of the legal fees that you incur ... up to a total aggregate payment by us under this arrangement of $100,000". Hayes replies that he "will talk about payment tomorrow". It is not known whether any cash changed hands.