Desmond's American OK! faces million-dollar costs

By Alyson Fixter and Jeffrey Blyth in New York

Richard Desmond, who is currently trying to launch an American
version of OK! magazine, has been hit with estimated costs of a million
dollars after he tried to poach the editor of a rival title for the
project.

British journalist Nicola McCarthy – who previously edited OK! in
London – has been blocked by a New York judge from taking up her role
at Desmond’s new venture until she completes her contract at
competitior Us Weekly.

Us publisher Jan Wenner orginally claimed
damages of $5m from Desmond’s publishing company Northern & Shell,
but has settled for an undisclosed six-figure sum to cover the expense
of recruiting McCarthy and moving her to the US for the role.

Combined
with legal fees, expenses and a trip to New York for the hearing, it is
thought Desmond’s total bill has reached close to a million dollars.

Desmond
reportedly offered Mc- Carthy $500,000 dollars a year (around £260,000
pa) to become editor of American OK!, compared with her $240,000 annual
salary at Us.

A spokeswoman for Northern & Shell said that
plans to launch American OK! in autumn this year, with McCarthy as
editor, were going ahead, but would not comment further.

It is
not clear whether McCarthy will remain in New York to prepare for the
OK! launch until her contract with Wenner expires, or will return to
London temporarily.

A spokesman for Wenner said: “The only reason we did this [suit] was to defend our employment agreements with our workforce.”

He added, “If we let this go, our relationship with our workforce would have been in jeopardy.”

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