The Sun-Times' Last, Best, Horrible Hope

Tyree is only bidder

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Sun-Times will either have to concede or die.

    The hoped-for mystery bidder did not appear on Monday, leaving Chicago businessman Jim Tyree as the last dreary hope for the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Now it's up to the union to hammer out an agreement with Tyree and for a bankruptcy judge to approve an agreement, call for a new auction or dissolve the company.

    Newspaper officials met with Chicago Newspaper Guild officials for 11 hours on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    "We could wrap things up  [Tuesday] if we work very hard," the guild's executive director, Tom Thibeault, told the paper. "But it's up to both sides. I'd like nothing more than to take something to the membership Wednesday."

    Underscore the "very hard" part of Thibeault's comments. Tyree is asking for concessions that would virtually gut the union. And without the hoped-for bid of another Chicago businessman who had reportedly contacted the union, Tyree regains the upper hand in negotiations.

    The union will not want to be blamed for allowing the paper - and its sister suburban properties - to die. Once again, the greatest sacrifice will fall on those with the least to give.

    The stress in the company's newsrooms is palpable.

    "Whatever happens, it has been great working with you," a commenter on Michael Miner's News Bites blog writes, "and if we survive, let's hope for the best, and if we do not survive, maybe we can all become beach bums somewhere."

    In a memo to the staff on Monday night, Sun-Times Media Group CEO Jeremy Halbreich, who no doubt stands to make out like a bandit on any sale, wrote "We all know that the very best way to ensure a future for our business is for all of us to keep doing business as usual."

    Actually, no.

    But we'll likely see soon what Tyree has in mind.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.