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Gannett Co. Inc. said Tuesday it paid Chiquita Brands International Inc. $14 million in an out-of-court settlement stemming from an expose of the banana company by The Cincinnati Enquirer. The sum was included in documents filed in Superior Court for the District of Columbia as part of a lawsuit by former Enquirer editor Lawrence K. Beaupre against the newspaper, which is owned by Gannett. Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell confirmed that the $14 million was paid and that it was a condition of the settlement, along with a published apology and removal of the Enquirer‘s series from its Web site. The settlement amount, first reported Tuesday by industry magazine Editor & Publisher, had been kept secret for two years. Beaupre’s lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, alleges top Gannett officials closely supervised work on the Enquirer‘s publication of articles in May 1998 questioning Chiquita’s business practices in Central America, but blamed him when problems arose after publication. In June 1998, the Enquirer renounced the series, fired lead reporter Michael Gallagher and apologized to Chiquita. Gannett, which publishes USA Today and nearly 100 other newspapers in the United States, has said Beaupre’s lawsuit is “full of inaccuracies.” Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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