A Washington Post marketing executive announced his resignation today 10 weeks after he spearheaded the paper’s 'salons,' exclusive dinners that offered lobbyists and industry leaders a chance to mingle with Washington lawmakers and Post reporters—for $25,000 a head.
Charles Pelton, who helped organize the controversial ‘salons,’ which were to be held at the house of the Post’s publisher, Katherine Weymouth, said in a letter to the Post today, “Given the current circumstances with regard to the resources needed to launch [an events business], my family and I have decided not to relocate to Washington, D.C.” from California. Pelton did not mention the June controversy in his letter.
According to an article that appeared in the Post today,
The dinners Pelton was organizing were advertised to involve Post journalists, Obama administration and congressional officials and industry executives in a series of sponsored, off-the-record conversations about public policy issues. The dinners were to be held at the home of Post publisher Katharine Weymouth.
The newspaper canceled the events in early July, before any were held. The controversy erupted after the disclosure of a promotional brochure that sought sponsors willing to pay $25,000 for each dinner, or $250,000 for all 11 events in the planned series. Critics said the concept crossed ethical lines, creating the perception that sponsors would gain special access to Post journalists. ...
In his resignation letter, Pelton said he looked forward to continuing to work as a consultant for the newspaper.
In a letter to Pelton released by The Post, Hills wrote, "We are grateful for the work you did to help us launch our conference business, which we believe is an important and appropriate extension of our brand."
Kris Coratti, The Post's director of communications, had no comment other than to refer to the letters.