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Papa John’s founder John Schnatter to leave board in settlement deal

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Papa John’s International founder John Schnatter has agreed to leave the board as part of a settlement agreement with the company, signaling the end to an acrimonious battle for control over the world’s third-largest pizza delivery chain.

The company said in a filing on Tuesday that it would co-operate with Schnatter to find a mutually acceptable independent director, who would not be affiliated with hedge fund Starboard Value LP or Schnatter.

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Schnatter, who owns about 30 percent of the company’s shares, would resign from the board if the independent director is appointed before the 2019 annual stockholder meeting, Papa John’s said.

Schnatter has also agreed to dismiss two lawsuits: one against the company in the Delaware Chancery Court without prejudice and another in Jefferson County, Kentucky, related to a sublease agreement with prejudice, the company said.

Early last month, Papa John’s snubbed an investment offer from Schnatter and instead accepted an investment of up to $250 million from Starboard value LP in return for a nearly 10 percent stake, while naming the hedge fund’s Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Smith as its chairman.

Schnatter had filed several lawsuits against the company in a bid to regain control. He resigned as chairman last summer, following reports he had used a racial slur on a media training conference call.

He stepped down as the company’s chief executive in December of 2017, after drawing criticism for comments he made against National Football League leadership.

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The bad press took a toll on the company, which said last week its North America same-store sales fell 7.3 percent in 2018.

Papa John’s, which expects lagging sales in the first half of 2019, blamed the negative publicity for faltering sales and pushed to improve its public image by removing Schnatter’s image from promotional materials and pizza boxes.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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‘People died in Ukraine’: Democrat lectures Doug Collins for Trump’s abuse of power costing lives

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During Thursday's impeachment hearing, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) laid bare the human cost of President Donald Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine to force them to hunt for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden's family — something that ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) spent the previous day denying.

"In my colleague's efforts to defend this president, you want him to be someone he's not. You want him to be someone he is telling you he is not," said Swalwell. "You're trying to defend the call in so many different ways, and he's saying, guys, it was a perfect call. He's not who you want him to be. And let me tell you how selfish his acts were. And ranking member Collins, you can deny this as much as you want. People died in Ukraine at the hands of Russia," said Swalwell. "In Ukraine, since September 2018 when it was voted on by Congress, was counting on our support. One year passed and people died. And you may not want to think about that, it may be hard for you to think about that, but they died when the selfish, selfish president withheld the aid for his own personal gain."

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Trump administration heavily redacted documents concerning their withholding of Ukraine aid

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The Trump administration has refused to disclose how key officials at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget reacted to President Trump’s decision to halt military aid to Ukraine.

On Nov. 25, federal district court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the administration to produce records reflecting what these officials said to one another about the legality and appropriateness of Trump’s order. The Center for Public Integrity sought the information in Freedom of Information Act requests filed in late September.

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Donald Trump Jr laughs at the prospect that Bill Barr will eventually lock up Trump’s political enemies

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On Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a video of Attorney General William Barr saying that he is constantly asked when Democrats are going to prison for their treatment of President Donald Trump, and he jokingly responded "these things take time."

Trump Jr. repeated that particular line in his tweet, accompanied by a series of laughing face emojis:

These things take time. 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/TX7DuYgAsr

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 13, 2019

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