Timeline of Chronicle / Examiner Case
June 17, 1999: Chronicle Publishing Corp. shareholders announce that the San Francisco Chronicle is for sale.
July 28, 1999: Hearst's Tim White, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, has lunch with Mayor Willie Brown and pitches him "extensively" for support of the then-secret Hearst purchase of the Chronicle (one of the two infamous "horse-trading" lunches).
July 30, 1999: Hearst officials with investment bankers draw up a list of prospective buyers for the Examiner, focusing on newspaper publishing companies and including the Fangs.
August 6, 1999: Hearst Corp. announces it has purchased The Chronicle and that it will put the Examiner up for sale. Same day: Ted Fang (publisher of the Independent newspaper) begins his attempt to buy the Examiner, calling financer Warren Hellman and discussing a potential bid. According to Hellman quoted later in the Chronicle, "Ted said, 'We think we ought to look at (buying) the Examiner. What do you think?' "I said, 'Sure.' "
August 1999 - January 2000: Ted Fang has what he later testifies is "at least six" meetings with Mayor Willie Brown at which he discusses his possible purchase of the Examiner.
August 20, 1999: Mayor Willie Brown writes a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno and tells her that the proposed deal poses a threat to the Independent.
August 30, 1999: Examiner Publisher Tim White and Executive Editor Phil Bronstein have lunch with Mayor Willie Brown (second of the two infamous "horse-trading" lunches).
September 3, 1999: Phony "grassroots" group called Stop the Monopoly, organized secretly by Fangs through political lobbyist Dennis Collins, holds a press conference at City Hall, where Supervisor Michael Yaki, "president" of the group, attacks Hearst and warns of threat to the Independent newspaper. Same day: Hearst Corp. sends Fang draft copies of documents providing for the sale of the Examiner.
September 8, 1999: Ted Fang visits the Examiner and reviews company books at Hearst's invitation.
January 8, 2000: Mayor Willie Brown in his inaugural speech calls the Examiner a ``civic treasure'' and says he wants to put together a group of investors to purchase it.
January 11, 2000: San Francisco businessman Clint Reilly files a federal lawsuit to block the sale of the Chronicle to the Hearst Corp.
January 20, 2000: Mayor Willie Brown and a group of political figures including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and City Attorney Renne meet with Examiner publisher Tim White. They tell White the Hearst Corp. must make a stronger attempt to find a buyer for the Examiner.
January 21, 2000: Senator Dianne Feinstein with Florence Fang have lunch with Examiner Publisher Tim White and exert pressure to sell the Examiner to the Fangs.
February, 2000: Hearst Corp. officials, in phone calls and in two face-to-face meetings with Clint Reilly, offer various settlement agreements, including a Reilly purchase of the Examiner with a minimal subsidy (guaranteeing the Examiner's early failure and a Hearst monopoly). Reilly proposes a more serious counter-offer as a means of settling the lawsuit, but hears no reply through early March.
March 17, 2000: Hearst Corp. announces it has sold the Examiner to the Fang family.
March 30, 2000: Judge Vaughn Walker issues a temporary restraining order, blocking the Chronicle and Examiner sales until Reilly's request for a preliminary injunction is heard in court. Trial is later set for May 1.
Sources: Court documents, testimony, and "How Politics Tangled Up S.F. Newspaper Deals," by William Carlsen and Reynolds Holding, San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2000.