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GALLERY: Houston Chronicle

Wanting to be liberal with Foster if I bought him out, since he had created the paper and originally owned most of the stock, and had made a success of it, I thought for a while before answering and finally asked him how much he owed. He replied, 'On real estate and everything about 200,000 dollars. ' I then said to him that I would give him 300,000 dollars in cash, having in mind that this would pay his debts and give him 100,000 spending money. In addition, I would give him a note for 500,000 secured by a mortgage on the Chronicle Building, the note to be payable (interest and principal) at the rate of 35,000 a year for thirty-five years, which I figured was about his expectancy. I would also pay him 20,000 dollars a year as editor of the paper and 6,000 dollars a year to continue writing the daily front-page column, 'MEFO,' on the condition that either of us could cancel the editorship and/or the MEFO-column contracts on six months notice, and that, if I canceled both the column and the editorship, I would give him an additional 6,000 dollars a year for life. I considered the offer substantially more than the Chronicle was worth at the time. No sooner had I finished stating my proposition than he said, 'I will take it,' and the transaction was completed accordingly.

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