Dave Lougee, who at the time served as president of Tegna Inc, then known as the broadcasting unit for Gannett, sat near Adonis Hoffman at the event in a Washington DC hotel, with only one person between them at the table. Hoffman had been nominated to serve on the Tegna board, but earlier this month pulled out citing conflicts of interest and the encounter with Lougee in 2014.
Lougee had approached Hoffman, who was waiting for a taxi cab outside the hotel, and handed him what Hoffman initially thought was his business card. Lougee instead handed a confused Hoffman a parking stub and told him he had believed that he was one of the “parking guys.”
“I’m not hypersensitive, but my guard was down because we had just had 1-1/2 hours of conversation,” Hoffman said, speaking to Reuters. Lougee noted in a letter to Tegna staff this month that he quickly apologized to Hoffman and said he “felt terrible” about the incident. “I don’t condone racism of any kind, I take full responsibility for this mistake, and am truly sorry for the pain I caused Mr. Hoffman,” Lougee wrote.
As part of its own due diligence, Tegna hired a law firm to interview Lougee and had its chief human resources officer do a complete review of Lougee’s HR file.