Anxious Times Media pensioners await judgment


Are Times Media pensioners about to lose their mystery backer in the battle for their full medical aid subsidy with new group owners Blackstar?

In July, nose189 reported that an elite group of 23 greyheads, including former executives Stephen Mulholland, Roy Paulson and Jimmy Mould, had accepted a settlement offer by CEO Andrew Bonamour that would see their slashed medical aid subsidies fully restored, back-dated for the past two years.

No such luck for the remaining 200-or-so lower-ranked pensioners. Only the 23 whose names appeared on the original court papers would benefit from the offer. Not to worry, new proceedings will be launched “in which we will seek judgment in favour of ALL pensioners,”  former Sunday Times managing editor Mould, 76, told Noseweek at the time.

 Times Media CEO Andrew Bonamour

Now Mould has informed 51 more old- timers that a new summons was indeed sent to Times Media on their behalf on July 17. Three weeks later they were to learn that Times Media intended to defend the action.

When the campaign began 17 months ago, Mould assured pensioners: “There is no cost to the participants. I have secured guaranteed funding. I remain responsible for all costs in the first instance.”

But now that Mulholland, Paulson and Mould have secured their exclusive settlement, it seems the anonymous backer may be having second thoughts about picking up future tabs from attorneys Bowman Gilfillan for the rest. Let alone the prospect of a few million in costs, should judgment go against them. A hint of things to come lies in Mould’s latest bulletin to claimants: “We are keen to top up our war chest and you are invited to make a donation to our legal costs.”

“No legal obligation” is old-time management-speak for: if you’re an honourable ex-hack, fish out your cheque book!

All this has left some pensioners uneasy. Not only has the ruling junta of Mulholland, Paulson and Mould kept secret all detail, including the reliability of the anonymous litigation funder, but there’s a similar cloak of silence over the haphazard litigation itself. No copies of counsel’s opinion, affidavits filed – the summons itself – have been circulated. Effectively, they’re flying blind.

Also, some among the 51 “new” claimants are puzzled as to why their names were not included among the now-victorious 23. Mould certainly had their details back in April 2014, before any court papers were issued. Perhaps, they consider ruefully, they just weren’t important enough.

Keywords:
Times Media
Andrew Bonamour
Jimmy Mould
Stephen Mulholland
Roy Paulson
Medical Aid Subsidies
Litigation Funder
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