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The British Are Coming!

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• Remember Steven Johnson, the freak who terrorized Bar Veloce in 2002, splashing kerosene on patrons? Well, he just got 240 years in prison. Yeah, we don't know what took five years, either. [NYP] • Renaming corners, part one: A coalition of local businesses, backed by no less than Virgin Airways, is campaigning to call a slice of the West Village "Little Britain." The stage-one strategy apparently involves sub–Benny Hill humor. ("What's one more queen in the Village?") [MetroNY] • Renaming corners, part two: Elaine Orbach may yet get the intersection of 53rd and Eighth named after her late husband, Jerry. After striking out with the grumpy Community Board 5, she found fans on Board 4 — which controls the west side of the same avenue. [NYT] • In a high-tech twist on a classic, a married couple is suing a Park Avenue clinic for allegedly inseminating the wife with the wrong man's sperm: The father is white, the mother Dominican, the baby black. [NYDN] • And New York has joined more than twenty states moving their presidential primaries up to February 5. With any luck, Assemblyman Keith Wright's coinage for the occasion — "Super-Duper Tuesday" — won't get any kind of traction in the media. Oh, crap, we just did it. [NYT]

Wal-Mart Tells Court What It Told ‘New York’ About Marketing Veep's Alleged Affair

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At the end of January, as Steve Fishman was finishing his New York feature on ousted Wal-Mart marketing exec Julie Roehm and the scandal that led to her downfall, the discount retailer's execs finally broke their silence. In a last-minute statement to Fishman, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman claimed the company had proof Roehm had engaged in an affair with Sean Womack, a subordinate. "Wal-Mart now has irrefutable and admissible evidence of the relationship," the spokeswoman told Fishman. "I would not tell you this if we didn't know it was true." And yesterday that charge — first made to New York — entered the legal record, when Wal-Mart filed a brief in its battle with Roehm (she charges wrongful termination; the company charges a violation of corporate policy) repeating the claims.

Holocaust-Reparations Lawyer Will Likely Get Paid

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Back in October, Joel Siegel's feature in New York told the story of Burt Neuborne, an NYU law professor who took on the monumental task of extracting Holocaust reparations from Swiss banks. In the eyes of some survivors, Neuborne went from hero to villain the moment he submitted his bill: $4,760,000 for 8,178 hours spent working on the case over eight years, or roughly $582 an hour. Prominent Jews registered their disgust with Neuborne, calling his request for payment "a moral disgrace." A federal judge suggested on Thursday that Neuborne receive $3 million, an amount that will have to be approved by a federal district judge. Neuborne said he had "no quarrel" with the proposed fee, and Magistrate Judge James Orenstein asked the litigants to agree on an amount: "I … appeal to each individual participant in this litigation to find a way to continue to help redress the evil the Nazis began so long ago rather than let it continue to spread rancor among its victims." $3 Million Fee Suggested for Neuborne for Work on Holocaust Survivor Issues [Law.com] Getting His Due [NYM]

Boy-Band Victims Get Even More Bad News

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Boy-band guru Lou Pearlman, the man who foisted 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys upon the world, is accused of swindling more than a thousand investors out of $317 million, as New York reported last month. Now those swindlees have their own newsletter. Gerard McHale Jr., the court-appointed receiver charged with documenting what some are calling the longest-running Ponzi scheme of all time, published his first "Investor/Creditor Newsletter" this week. (You can read it here as a PDF.) The news isn't good. After the jump, the highlights.

Scooter Libby: Guilty

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Aaaaand he's guilty: Dick Cheney's ex-chief of staff and noted erotica author Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been found responsible for obstructing the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak. The jury's deliberations took ten days. We hope it will take less time for Libby to finish up his internal deliberations and sell everyone he's ever worked for down the river in exchange for a little less time at Club Fed. As the man himself wrote in his eloquent letter to Judith Miller, the aspens are turning.

The Starrett Sale Is Dead!

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• That $1.3 billion Starrett City deal? Yeah, not gonna happen. The Housing and Urban Development secretary is blocking the sale of the subsidized enclave to Clipper Equity. The deal's vocal opponents included Bloomberg, Cuomo, Spitzer, Schumer, Clinton, and, apparently, God. [NYDN] • Meanwhile, the demolition at the future Atlantic Yards site begins in earnest, with Ratner aiming the wrecking ball at twelve buildings on Pacific, Flatbush, Vanderbilt, and Dean — all within next week. Is it good-bye, weird Guyanese JRG Fashion Cafe? [NYP] • The dancing-rat drama is far from over. In fact, it's amping up: After its initial gaffe, the Health Department came down like a hammer on three more joints (this time, for variety's sake, Pizza Huts) owned by the same franchisee; the parent company, Yum Brands, then voluntarily closed ten more. [NYT] • And dentist Lawrence Rosenthal is suing Cory Lidle's estate for $7 million dollars, because the Yankee's fiery death had inconvenienced him. This, mind you, is the same Rosenthal of the BadDentist.com infamy. Litigious, much? [amNY]

Edward Egan, Landlord

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• Cardinal Egan made parishioners cry when he pulled a brusque landlord trick to get rid of a tenant. He summoned the pastor of the crumbling, doomed Our Lady of Vilnius for a meeting, then ordered guards to shutter the church while the priest was out. Smooth. [NYP] • Hey, you know where else we can fit a 50-story condo tower? Before you come back with something obscene, here's where: South Street Seaport. If built, it will be the first building of its sort to the east of the FDR Drive. [amNY] • Hizzoner rarely makes us remember that he's a Republican, but one reliable reminder is his distaste for garish court settlements. The city just tried to cap the awards to the victims of the 2003 ferry crash at $14 million, citing a dusty maritime law. A federal court said no dice. [NYT] • Just days after reports that the westward extension of the 7 line was in jeopardy, the MTA has thrown the $35.8 million contract open to bids. The city is forking over $2.1 billion. Until the next time we hear that it isn't. [MetroNY] • And a Queens man was arrested for selling porny versions of copyrighted costume characters, including Barney and Scooby-Doo, to furry fetishists. In the words of the News, "Kinky Costume Caper Crushed." (Weak. The Post would have gone with all Ks.) [NYDN]

Wanna Buy the Freedom Tower?

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• Guess what Port Authority is going to do with the Freedom Tower once the construction is over? What every owner of a half-built property dreams of doing: Flip it. By its completion in 2011, the skyscraper may be up for sale, say Spitzer and Corzine. [Metro] • Meet Mathieu Eugene, the City Council's newest member and the first Haitian to fill the seat. Eugene won a low-profile, low-turnout special election in Brooklyn after his predecessor, Yvette Clarke, moved on to Congress. [NYP] • Busta Rhymes, on trial for kicking a fan and beating up a former chauffeur, rejected a deal that would land him in jail for a cred-building six months. The alternative: probation, anger management, and two weeks of lecturing kids about violence. [NYDN] • In New York, we wage our war on Christmas all year round — and we're winning it, too. The U.S. Supreme Court washed its hands of the Brooklyn-filed case that challenged the citywide ban on school nativity displays. (Menorahs and Islamic crescents, however, are totally okay). [FoxNews.com] • And in New Jersey, a similar battle with a techie twist: A public-school history teacher is in hot water after a student taped him proselytizing ("If you reject [Jesus], you belong in hell," etc.) and saying that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark. [NYT]

Did Jason Kidd Discuss His Affairs With His Son? Plus Other Tabloid-Ready Fun

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The delightful document-researchers at the Smoking Gun have been on fire today, unearthing a troika of choice New York–tabloid source material. Most prominent is the counter-lawsuit filed by Joumana Kidd in her divorce case against New Jersey Nets star Jason, who is — allegedly, always allegedly — a philanderer so prolific and casual that he discussed extramarital affairs with his son. Less tragic and more comic is the list of accommodations Rudy Giuliani requires for his speaking engagements, including transport on a private Gulfstream IV, for starters — though he’s cool with a bigger plane if you’ve got one. (Also noteworthy: As late as March 2006, months after the Bernie Kerik Homeland Security confirmation mess, the Giuliani Partners email domain was giuliani-kerik.com.) And finally, Foxy Brown somehow managed to get police involved in a dispute over personal grooming. Again. Have fun tomorrow, Post.

Anna Nicole and ‘New York’: A No-Love-Lost Story

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We said yesterday that there was no particular New York connection to Anna Nicole Smith. But as it turns out, there is a New York connection. Savor, if you will, our August 22, 1994, cover (click on it for a larger version), which featured the then- already-former Playboy Playmate illustrating a Tad Friend analysis of the ascendant "White Trash Nation." Miss Smith wasn't pleased with the depiction, filing a $5 million defamation suit against the magazine in Los Angeles Superior Court that October. "She was told that she was being photographed to embody the 'All-American- woman look' and that they wanted glamour shots," her lawyer told the Times then. The avec–Cheez Doodles pic, he charged, was a just-for-fun outtake and wasn't supposed to be used.

Charlize Theron, Double-Dipping Monster?

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Charlize Theron has been wearing the wrong accessories lately, and yesterday she was sued for it. The Oscar-winning actress swung a deal with Swiss watch designer Raymond Weil, promising only to wear Weil's watches at public events from October 2005 to December 31, 2006, according to a complaint filed in New York County Court today. In exchange, it says, Theron was to receive a "very substantial sum." But then she appeared in an online ad for Dior, pimping perfume and wearing, the suit alleges, "faux canary diamond jewelry." And wearing Montblanc jewelery on a billboard at a luxury-watch trade show in Geneva. And wearing a Christian Dior watch at a film festival in Austin. And — perhaps worst — in a "The watches your favorite celebrities are wearing" feature in an issue of the Tourneau Times, with the caption "Charlize Theron wears Dior." Weil's complaint doesn't quite call Theron a monster, but it does charge she committed fraud. They want their money back. —Nick Divito Read the complaint.

It's Giuliani Time

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• Rudy and Hillary, together again for the very first time. That's right — Giuliani all but declared his presidential bid yesterday, filing a "Statement of Candidacy" with the FEC, meaning that the two candidates' aborted Y2K power grapple for the Senate could finally be revived on a national stage. [NYT] • Mayor Mike Bloomberg rips into the $330 million hole in city funding created by Governor Eliot Spitzer's new budget, claiming the cuts will rob NYC of twice that amount — and questioning Spitz's claim that closing up some tax loopholes will balance out the loss. [NYP] • Six panhandlers sue the city for illegally arresting them after one of their own, Eddie Wise, scored $100,000 after a similar suit. They are just a few of a possible 7,000 such wrongful haul-ins. [NYDN] • Having obviously visited the wrong debt-management counselor, a Queens man beats a cop with a bat and steals his gun, aiming to pull off robberies to pay back $16,000. The cop is in critical but stable condition and the arrested thug faces 25 to life, with the debt still unpaid, presumably. [Newsday] • President Bush is putting $1.3 billion into the federal budget to help complete the Second Avenue subway — not to mention $215 mil to aid in bringing the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal. [amNY]

Wal-Mart Claims Proof of Fired Marketing Veep's Affair

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The operatic battle between Wal-Mart and its fired senior vice-president of marketing communications, Julie Roehm — the juiciest Madison Avenue scandal in years, and the subject of an upcoming piece in New York — escalated today when Wal-Mart claimed it had "irrefutable and admissible evidence" that she had an affair with Sean Womack, a vice-president who reported to her. "Julie Roehm didn't tell the truth about the inappropriate relationship with one of her subordinates," Wal-Mart spokesperson Mona Williams said from London. "Despite these denials, Wal-Mart now has irrefutable and admissible evidence of the relationship" between Roehm and Womack. "I would not tell you this if we didn't know it was true." A romantic relationship between employees violates Wal-Mart policy. The company apparently decided to respond after Roehm filed a lawsuit seeking money she claimed Wal-Mart owed her. The suit also referred to "false and malicious" statements by Wal-Mart in the press.

The Secret Feuds of Dentists

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In one corner: Dr. Larry Rosenthal, dentist to the likes of Donald Trump, Michael Bolton, and Matt Dillon, who uses New Age babble on his patients and is said to practice something called "self-esteem dentistry." In the other corner: Relationship guru Ellen Fein, the author of the despicable treatise The Rules ("Rule Five: Don't Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls"), who says Rosenthal gave her "gigantic teeth." (Oh, Ellen: you should see Matt Dillon.) In revenge, as today's Daily News reports, Fein proceeded to register domains LyingDentist.com and BadDentist.com.

Battling Behaviorists Move Fight Online

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When New York profiled the legendary psychotherapist and sexologist Albert Ellis in November 2005, he had lost control of the Upper East Side's Albert Ellis Institute, which he'd founded and where, till then, he'd worked. Now three supporters of Ellis, who at 93 is ailing, have had to shut down a Website, AlbertEllisFoundation.org, because the Ellis Institute claims it owns rights to his name and threatened a $500,000 lawsuit for copyright infringement and unfair competition. "It's a pragmatic decision because we don't have deep pockets," said William Knaus, a former training director at the institute who is one of the three behind the site, which provides information on Ellis's work, news about his much-publicized legal battles with the trustees, and updates on his medical condition. David Blasband, the intellectual-property lawyer representing the institute's trustees, said he'll file for an injunction tomorrow unless he hears "directly" from the defendants that the site has been dismantled. The old Web address, meantime, now directs readers to REBTNetwork.org, after Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Of course, the institute's site is REBT.orgMary Reinholz Behaviorists Behaving Badly [NYM]

Fake-Lawyer Jokes Better Than Real-Lawyer Jokes

The big news today in the city's big businesses. LAW • Paralegal who claimed to be a lawyer (and was treated as such by Anderson Kill & Olick for two whole years) to be arraigned on Wednesday. [NYT] • Aaron Charney, the gay associate suing his former firm for discrimination, hasn't gotten the support he expected from New York's Lesbian and Gay Law Association. [Above the Law] • Alan Dershowitz gives his two cents on the Pentagon detainee debacle to the Times' opinion page. While sharing the editors' outrage, he smells just the faintest whiff of McCarthyism. [NYT via Law Blog/WSJ]

O.J. Simpson Made $1.2 Million Not to Publish a Book or Appear on TV

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Okay, there's one more O.J.-Judith wrinkle today worth mentioning (and, boy, do we hope it's the last one). Court TV got hold of Simpson's If I Did It contract with HarperCollins, part of a lawsuit Fred Goldman filed to try to recover the money Simpson owes after losing the 1997 wrongful-death suit. Slate's Timothy Noah, together with some unnamed literary-agent friends of his, examined the document and finds some interesting points. According to Noah, under the terms of the agreement, Simpson is already owed at least $780,000, even though the book was pulped. He may be due $95,000 more, depending on whether a book is considered "published" when it's shipped from the warehouse or when it's rung up at the cash register. He's also owed $400,000 for the unaired If I Did It TV special, because the contract stipulated he would be paid for being interviewed, whether or not the interview aired. Finally, Simpson apparently wanted to sign the contact under an assumed name and stipulated he would sign as "Sam Jones," perhaps taking the name from the sixties Celtics star. Despite that clause, the contract doesn't actually bear that signature: In what might have been the company's only smart move in this transaction, they insisted O.J. sign his own name. O.J.'s Book Contract [Slate] Hollywood Heat Exclusive: Contract Details Payments Between Simpson and HarperCollins [Court TV]

Breaking: Banks, Bankers Make a Lot of Money

Today's big news in the city's big businesses. FINANCE • J.P. Morgan had a very good fourth quarter, but is $4.53 billion enough to top Citigroup? Answer on Friday. [DealBreaker] • Projected versus actual 2006 Wall Street bonuses. Either way, they were big. [BankersBall] • Taking a cue from its bonus-giddy brokers, Bear Stearns looks to invest in some Manhattan real estate. [NYO via DealBook/NYT]

Lindsay Lohan, Dumbstruck

The big news today in the city's big businesses. FASHION • Lindsay Lohan’s Miu Miu ads keep coming — now she’s a vibrant, dumbstruck dolly. [Fashionologie] • There’s a bimbo logjam at the top of Mr. Blackwell’s annual worst-dressed list. [Downtown Darling] • A Paris court dismissed Karl Lagerfeld’s claim against journalist Alicia Drake. He sued her for invasion of privacy — but really, people say, because she called him middle class. [WWD]

Hungry Cheerleader Claims Harassment Over Tater Tots

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Courtney Prince, a former cheerleader for the New York Rangers, is suing Madison Square Garden for sexual harassment. The franchise is hitting back in the usual manner: feeding the press details alleging the plaintiff is a big slut. In short, it's classy behavior all around — and, according to the Daily News today, it gets even classier. The whole federal suit really comes down to lurid come-ons over tater tots in a bar called Daddy-O. According to sworn testimony, the Rangers VP Jason Vogel and Times sports writer Jason Diamos tricked the complainant into visiting a bar via classic high-school feint "All our friends are going to be there!" When said friends failed to materialize, "Vogel ordered tater tots and she ordered a quesadilla," Diamos had a cocktail, and soon the two men were trying to kiss Prince and floating a bathroom-tryst proposal. The defendants don't deny the situation but claim that Prince initiated the sex talk. Why didn't the cheerleader leave? "Because I wanted my quesadilla," states the deposition. We have nothing to add. Who Started the Sex Talk at Daddy-O? [NYDN]