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Boston Globe Media says former president was fired for excessive, unauthorized spending

Former Globe president Vinay Mehra in the newsroom in 2017.Keith Bedford

Boston Globe Media Partners, responding to an unlawful termination lawsuit by former president Vinay Mehra, said the executive was fired after racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in “excessive, unauthorized, and inappropriate spending” of company funds.

“Mehra repeatedly used his corporate credit card or else spent company money to run up extraordinary expenses that offered no benefit to the Globe,” the parent company of The Boston Globe said in a document filed on Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court. “At first, Mehra acknowledged the Globe’s objections to these abuses, and promised they would not recur. But they did recur, and Mehra eventually simply stopped even attempting to justify them.”

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David W. Sanford, a lawyer representing Mehra, said, “The Boston Globe’s accusations are false and a jury that will hear this case eventually will understand them to be false. . . . The hard work of the litigation begins now with discovery, and discovery will show Vinay is right.”

In its filing, the Globe said “the final straw” that prompted Mehra’s dismissal for cause came when it found $400,000 in charges on a company credit card for “Serving Our Front Lines,” a program to raise money from readers to provide meals during the pandemic to health care workers and to support local restaurants.

The Globe said that most of the money spent to support the program was its own, and that the biggest beneficiary was a suburban hospital introduced to the company by Mehra’s wife, a doctor who sees patients there. Some $124,000 went to meals from a restaurant whose owner Mehra knew, and the owner, who was not named, also received $28,000 for a “management fee.”

Other spending cited by the Globe included $23,000 for a leased car, $45,000 for a Bloomberg terminal, $14,000 for a trip to the Super Bowl in Atlanta with Mehra’s wife, “an acquaintance who was not a significant Globe advertiser, and the acquaintance’s son,” and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for consultants.

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Mehra, who served as president of the Globe from 2017 to 2020, sued the company in June, saying he is owed nearly $12.2 million in previously unpaid and future compensation. Mehra said the Globe unlawfully fired him “because he objected to potential wage violations and to avoid paying commission wages that he had earned.”

Mehra said he led a successful return to profitability at the company by slashing costs and bringing in new revenue.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Mehra became the victim of his own success when the Globe did not want to honor its compensation obligations to him,” the June complaint said.


Larry Edelman can be reached at larry.edelman@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeNewsEd.