Los Angeles: Sam's Hard Times

"Although it will involve a definite conflict of interest," Mayor Sam Yorty once joshed, "the city of Los Angeles has purchased the Los Angeles Times." The gibe against his old foe, the most powerful daily in the West (circ. 861,350), has earned Yorty many a laugh. No longer. By last week, the six-year-old Yorty administration was up to its funny bone in its first major scandal, a real-life conflict-of-interest case exposed, naturally, by the L.A. Times.

For three months, the newspaper had four reporters looking into rumors of shady dealings in the award of a $12...

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