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Philly Inquirer co-owner among 7 dead in jet crash

BEDFORD, Mass. — Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz was killed along with six other people in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts.

The 72-year-old businessman's Gulfstream corporate jet ran off the end of a runway, plunged down an embankment and erupted in a fireball during a takeoff attempt Saturday night at Hanscom Field outside Boston, authorities said. There were no survivors.

Katz was returning to New Jersey from an education fundraiser at the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Also killed were a next-door neighbor of Katz's, Anne Leeds, 74; Susan Asbell of Cherry Hill, N.J.; and Marcella Dalsey, 59, of Haddon Township, N.J. Names of the crew were not released.

The identities of the other victims weren't immediately released. Nancy Phillips, Katz's longtime partner and city editor at the Inquirer, was not aboard.

Investigators said it was too soon to say what caused the crash.

Katz made his fortune investing in parking lots and the New York Yankees' cable network. He once owned the NBA's New Jersey Nets and the NHL's New Jersey Devils, and in 2012 became a minority investor in the Inquirer.

On Tuesday, Katz and former cable magnate Harold H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest struck a deal to gain full control of the Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com by buying out their fellow owners for $88 million — an agreement that ended a very public feud over the Inquirer's business and journalism direction.

Lenfest said Sunday that the deal will be delayed but will still go through.

"We'll lose his expertise, but the paper will continue because we both intended to put a new CEO in charge of the day-to-day operations," Lenfest said.

Lewis Katz once owned the New Jersey Nets and Devils.

Lewis Katz once owned the New Jersey Nets and Devils.

Philly Inquirer co-owner among 7 dead in jet crash 06/01/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 1, 2014 11:54pm]
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