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August 24, 1998

Bonnie and Gene Pressman, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, David Remnick, Michael Specter, Geraldine Ferraro, Amanda Fuchs, Ken Aretsky, and Robert Morgenthau, and more . . .



It looks as if Bonnie and Gene Pressman have parted ways in more than just a business sense. According to sources close to the Pressmans, the statuesque former model, who left as executive vice-president and director of women's fashion at Barneys earlier this month to become senior vice-president and women's fashion director at Polo Ralph Lauren, is separating from the former Barneys co-chairman. "They've been wanting to do this for some time, but there were complications,'' says a friend of the couple, who have been married ten years. Gene, now a consultant to Barneys as a result of the store's post-bankruptcy restructuring, has left their Larchmont home -- and Bonnie and their two children -- and moved into an apartment in SoHo, according to an associate. "Part of the problem," adds the source, "was that Gene likes to stay out late at night. The guy still thinks it's 1986.'' Neither Pressman returned calls.


WHOSE FAR-FLUNG CORRESPONDENT? The New Yorker's new editor, David Remnick, has just made his first hire, snatching Michael Specter away from the New York Times. Remnick and Specter worked together at the Washington Post and are close friends, according to magazine sources. Specter, who is married to the Times's Rome-bureau chief, Alessandra Stanley, and has covered everything from Africa's AIDS crisis to genetically altered food in Switzerland, will remain in Europe as a foreign correspondent.

GERRY'S GAL: Geraldine Ferraro has called for a clean campaign in the Democratic Senate primary. But her research director, Amanda Fuchs, was just accused of dirty campaigning -- albeit in Iowa. Earlier this month, the Des Moines Register reported that Fuchs, while working for Iowa's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, had called his Republican opponent and identified herself as a local supporter to get his schedule. At least, that's what the candidate's wife told the paper -- and she's the one who answered the phone, refused Fuchs's request, and then used Caller-I.D. to discover that the call had come from New York. Fuchs's boss insisted that she hadn't misrepresented herself. Ferraro is also standing by Fuchs. "Amanda is doing a phenomenal job," says Ferraro spokesman Stephen Gaskill.


The thick haze of cigar smoke is making it harder and harder to tell the prosecutors from the criminals. No sooner had federal agents charged nine New Yorkers -- including Patroon's Ken Aretsky and the Racquet and Tennis Club's Robert Gressler -- with trading in illegal Cuban cigars than law-and-order types started blowing smoke about other prominent New Yorkers with a taste for the cigars. Such as Manhattan's longtime district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, who, like most other cigar aficionados, is said to deeply appreciate the Cubans. One of Morgenthau's deputies, John Moscow, bragged about the boss to a London paper some years ago: "He's dedicated to the seizure of contraband. He feels he should destroy all Cuban cigars by burning them. Personally." Other sources confirm that they've seen Morgenthau smoking Cubans. But don't make a federal case out of it. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White is prosecuting the Cohiba Nine because it's illegal to trade Cuban cigars, but it's apparently not a crime just to smoke them. Morgenthau was out of town but sent word that he's not worried about getting busted: He's not smoking on vacation.


Don't count on Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's marriage being kaput. Yet. Despite the bottle blonde's declarations that her divorce to the oversize rocker is practically a done deal, sources close to Lee, currently cooling his tattoos in prison for beating his wife while she was pregnant, say the couple has been speaking at least three times a week. According to our source, Anderson is "screwing with his emotions and sending him notes saying how much she loves him." She reportedly wrote him and accepted responsibility for the furor (she blamed it on her postpartum blues), and even left messages on his home machine from her Necker Island vacation to say she wished he could be there to watch their children in the water. For his part -- because it's really all about compromise, isn't it? -- Tommy agreed to weekly consultations with Pamela's shaman to exorcise his demons. But Tommy also talks to others (he's said to be on the phone constantly), and when word filtered between the bars that Anderson was spotted getting cozy with an old beau, champion surfer Kelly Slater, Lee changed his tune. Says the source, "She's still his wife, and he is so bent out of shape that she would publicly display affection for this guy that he's changed his number and asked his lawyers to keep her away from him.'' The status of the shaman visits is unclear. Representatives for Lee and Anderson did not return calls.


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