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  • 05.25.16

The inglorious (and incomplete) history of business tycoons bullying the media

• 2016: Investor and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who was outed by Valleywag in 2007, reportedly helped finance wrestler Hulk Hogan’s successful lawsuit against the now-defunct site’s owner, Gawker Media. The site is appealing the $140 million in damages

• 2015: Major Republican donor and entrepreneur Frank VanderSloot sues Mother Jones magazine and a small-town Idaho newspaper reporter for defamation after they describe his opposition to gay rights. The case is dismissed.

• 2011: Charter school magnate Vahan Gureghian sued the Philadelphia Inquirer for defamation after one of the paper’s reporters filed a right-to-know request for information on the salary of the school management. The case was tossed in federal court.

• 2010: Florida real-estate billionaire Jeff Greene sues the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times for libel, seeking $500 million in damages after the papers report that one of his deals left 300 California families homeless. Though dismissed by a state circuit court judge, the case was revived by Florida’s appeals court and continues.

• 2008: Former Formula One president Max Mosley is awarded $92,000 in damages after suing the News of the World for reporting on and publishing a video of his involvement in a Nazi-themed sadomasochistic sex party with several female prostitutes.

• 2006: Donald Trump sues biographer and former New York Times reporter Timothy L. O’Brien for libel, seeking $5 billion in damages, claiming that the reporting on Trump’s real net worth caused harm to his business. The suit was dismissed in 2009.

• 2005: Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson sues John L. Smith, then a reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, over his book, “Sharks In the Desert,” which described Adelson’s early investments in vending machines. He dropped the suit a few years later but not before driving Smith, whose daughter was suffering from brain cancer at the time, into bankruptcy.MB