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Billionaire Democratic Donor With Shady Past Buys LA Times

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Joe Simonson Media Reporter
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Billionaire doctor and Democratic donor Patrick Soon-Shiong reached a deal to purchase the Los Angeles Times from its parent company Tronc for nearly $500 million on Wednesday.

Both the LA Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, which was also included in the sale, will be transferred to Soon-Shiong’s investment firm Nant Capital.

“We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement.

Soon-Shiong, 65, who has been an investor in Tronc since 2016, is America’s richest doctor and the wealthiest man in Los Angeles. Yet, his success has not come without its fair share of controversies.

After advising Joe Biden in 2015 on his “cancer moonshot” plan to eradicate the disease, Soon-Shiong set up his own plan called “cancer MoonShot 2020.” Yet an investigation by STAT found that the program made “very little scientific progressive” and appeared to be more of a shell organization to promote Soon Shiong’s new expensive cancer detection device.

While he’s been seen with President Donald Trump to discuss future medical initiatives, Soon-Shiong has largely palled around with Democrats in the past. On top of his relationship with the former vice president, Soon-Shiong has made a number of donations to the Democratic Party and its candidates.

In the lead up to the 2016 election, Soon-Shiong donated $50,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and joint fundraising committee. According to OpenSecrets.org, his wife has also been active in Democratic politics, donating tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic National Committee and related organizations over the years.

Soon-Shiong’s purchase comes in the midst of considerable turmoil at the paper. The LA Times has seen its editor in chief replaced three times in the last six months, with its publisher Ross Levinsohn just returning back to work wednesday after being placed on leave because of a pending a sexual harassment investigation.

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