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Rich Irony

What goes around comes around for Trib publisher

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You know if there's a big bully in school, and he always seems to get his way, you think to yourself, "Just once I'd like to see that big bully get his comeuppance?" OK, maybe you don't use words like "comeuppance," but still, you'd like to see the tables turned.

That's why I get so much personal satisfaction from the battle of the century: Margaret "Ritchie" Battle-Scaife vs. Richard Mellon Scaife.

This one's for all the marbles, folks. And they've got a helluva lot of marbles to divide.

If you're not familiar with Scaife (or Dickie Cougar MellonScaife, as I like to call him), he's the billionaire who owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. But he has much more fame, or infamy, for being the chief financier of the vast right-wing conspiracy which nearly brought down a president. That would be the guy married to the woman who's going to be the next president.

Scaife put up the dough for the "Arkansas Project," the code name for digging up dirt on alleged sexual peccadilloes and any other relevant reputation-ruining factoids involving William Jefferson Clinton. You probably know the name Paula Jones thanks to Dickie Cougar MellonScaife.

Since I believe this country was held hostage by the most irrelevant scandal in the history of the presidency -- a scandal involving consensual sex between two adults -- I take a dim view of anyone who had anything to do with Zippergate. And Scaife was at the heart of it, by financing the initial investigations which led to the Paula Jones lawsuit.

So pardon my smirk as I watch Dickie deal with a high-profile divorce case with his very bitter soon-to-be-ex-wife. Yes, I think it's pretty damn funny that Mrs. Scaife's maiden name is Battle, because the old Battle-axe is determined to sink the battleship Scaife.

And this baby isn't just tons of fun because Scaife has to suffer the public embarrassment of a very public divorce. It's fun because there's an alleged sexual affair involved.

That's right -- our girl Battle-Scaife alleges Dickie was wettin' the ol' dipstick in an unauthorized automobile. Is that delicious karma or what?

And let's not forget the long list of high-priced novelty items the two are fighting over. As documented in news accounts and the blogosphere, these items include a $95,000 chandelier, four candelabra valued at $70,000, and a sewing table worth $200,000. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the trivialities of the filthy rich. I'm guessing the $200,000 sewing table must contain the sewing machine which spins straw into gold. Because Dickie Cougar MellonScaife is pulling millions of dollars out of somewhere to finance the losing business proposition known as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Yes, the karma gods won't stop raining shit on Scaife. He's so obsessed with defeating the Block family, which owns the Post-Gazette, that, according to Ms. Battle-Scaife's court filings, he puts an average of $20 million dollars a year down the Trib rathole just to keep it alive. In the meantime, his paper can editorialize absurdities like implying that Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham tried to have her husband killed so she could take over the newspaper (a near-slanderous innuendo which the Trib actually published upon Mrs. Graham's death).

You want to talk about bad karma? Scaife is rich and powerful and he managed to have his divorce records sealed by Judge Alan Hertzberg. But some bonehead at Michael Lamb's prothonotary office put the documents online anyway. That's how we know about Scaife priming the money-losing Tribune-Review pump. How embarrassing.

His wife alleges that he should pay her more alimony because the Trib isn't a business; it's a hobby. If it was a business, she argues, Scaife would have abandoned it long ago, because it loses many millions each year. And you wonder why we're one of the few cities in America with two daily newspapers?

So Scaife now stands accused of committing his own sexual improprieties, not to mention of having an apparent obsessive compulsion to keep the Trib alive no matter how many millions he loses ... and he can't even keep his embarrassing secrets a secret, thanks to some idiot bureaucrat. Unless of course, it's some sort of "conspiracy."

Karma: It's a wonderful thing.

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