Girard fired as Daily Record editor-in-chief

He says Hitler photo resulted in dismissal

Baltimore media

June 03, 1999|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

Keith F. Girard, editor-in-chief of the Daily Record since 1991, was fired from the Baltimore legal and business journal yesterday.

Girard, who cleaned out his desk and refused to sign a severance agreement he considered unacceptable, said his dismissal involved a disagreement with the paper's publisher over a photograph of Adolf Hitler that ran on the front page of the Dec. 8, 1998, edition.

The image of Hitler, superimposed over a photograph of the BT Alex. Brown investment building at One South Street, accompanied a lead story about a proposed merger between Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Bankers Trust of New York, Alex. Brown's parent company.

The story discussed the intense discomfort that many of Alex. Brown's Jewish customers had with the prospect of the company being merged with Deutsche Bank, which occurred last month.

The German banking giant has been the target of numerous claims by Holocaust victims and their families who say that Deutsche Bank was the depository for gold and other assets stolen from Jews murdered by the Nazis.

While standing by the story, Daily Record Publisher Christopher Eddings strongly objected to the Hitler illustration -- which apparently elicited about a half-dozen protests from Alex. Brown employees -- and wrote an apology to the paper's readers after it appeared, according to Girard.

Girard, 47, said last night that Eddings cited the Hitler incident when the publisher told him late last week that he was being fired.

Eddings, reached at his home last night, declined to comment on why Girard was leaving the paper. He said an explanation would be published in today's edition of the Daily Record.

"Until I find out otherwise, I have to believe [the Hitler photo] was the reason because that's what [Eddings] said," said Girard, a former Washington Post reporter. He said he would have been paid $123,000 this year and that his most recent performance evaluation from Eddings was glowing.

Girard, who wrote an editorial after Eddings' apology explaining why the Hitler photo was used, said he is baffled by the timing of the firing. In the months after the photo appeared, Girard said, he helped the Daily Record start a Baltimore County edition.

"If he came to me right after the picture ran and said I made a mistake and should resign, I would have done it," Girard said. "But to wait six months, exploit me to design and produce a new product and then cite [the Hitler] incident after he said it was no longer a factor, is disheartening."

Pub Date: 6/03/99

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