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 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 DivitoRead the complaint.
• 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]
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.
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.
When New Yorkprofiled 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.org —Mary ReinholzBehaviorists Behaving Badly [NYM]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
While her criminal complaint against supermodel Naomi Campbell awaits a verdict this month — last we checked in, Campbell was considering a plea deal but unwilling to do community service — alleged cell phone victim Ana Scolavino is bracing for round two of JeanGate. In an 8-page civil complaint filed today in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Scolavino seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged March 30, 2006, incident at Campbell’s Park Avenue pad, in which Campbell is accused of chucking a cell phone at Scolavino’s head when a pair of jeans turned up missing.
Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner in a letter to comedian Jackie Mason:
To me, and most of our Jews for Jesus staff, you project an image of a loving, caring and wise Jewish grandfather.
Mason also, apparently, projects the image of a not particularly litigious Jewish grandfather, as, in wake of Brickner's letter, he has agreed to drop a lawsuit over pamphlets that featured his picture and the words "Jackie Mason … A Jew for Jesus?" Outside the courthouse yesterday, Mason was less conciliatory, according to the AP report: "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK." Sounds just like our grandfather, actually.
Jackie Mason Drops Jews for Jesus Lawsuit [AP via 1010WINS]
Plaintiff: Amy Seiler
Defendants: Harry J. Mulry Jr.; Gregory G. Shaub, doing business under the firm name Mulry & Shaub L.L.P.
Accusation: A paralegal toils for a small law firm and gets bouts of "stomach distress, headaches and disagreeable fits of temper." Oh, and don't forget those "digestive upsets."
In a lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn Federal Court, Amy Seiler says her bosses at Mulry & Shaub in Port Washington negligently dragged their feet in hiring a replacement for an outgoing receptionist. And so for the next two months, Seiler was forced to work two jobs for the price of one.
But instead of quitting, Seiler stuck around for a "nightmare" at work that boiled over into "heated exchanges and accusations concerning baseless allegations of errors." The bosses, Seiler claims, wanted to force her out instead of hiring more staff.
• Mayor Bloomberg seems to be making all the right moves in the wake of the 50-bullet NYPD hailstorm that killed an unarmed man in Queens. The mayor called the shooting "unacceptable or inexplicable" during a meeting with the city's black leaders (including Al Sharpton and Charlie Rangel) — unusually strong language considering that all the facts aren't officially in yet. [NYT]
• Firefighters doused a fire in the basement of a Bed-Stuy apartment only to find a man's body duct-taped to a bed. It's unclear whether the flame killed the victim or was intended to hide the crime. [WNBC]
• Even the most radical proponents of graffiti-as-legit-art would have a hard time defending one Patrick McCormick, whose fifteen arrests alternate between graffiti offenses (his artless tag, seen all over town, is "MAP") and things like robberies and the murder of homeless people. He is now back behind bars after pleading guilty to a relatively mild crime of smashing a subway window with a hammer. What a guy. [NYDN]
• In Trenton, the heirs of a wealthy couple that donated $35 million to Princeton in 1961 want the money back. Their reasoning hinges on a claim, which they're taking to court, that the university is misusing the endowment. It's safe to say there goes that honorary degree. [NYP]
• And the Whitney is jumping on the High Line: The museum has inked a tentative deal with the city to build a downtown expansion that will also function as the entrance to the trippy park. This appears to mean that all talk of expanding its uptown space is now officially over, and the meatpacking district has ornery UES landmarks boards to thank. [amNY]
• After undercover cops fired 50 rounds into a group of unarmed bachelor-party revelers at a Queens nightclub, killing the groom, the five officers involved are on leave and stripped of their guns; crowds demanded more action against them at an angry Sunday vigil. The situation is developing fast, with new witnesses coming to the fore. [NYP, WNBC (on new witnesses), NYDN (on the emotional toll), NYT ("experts offer theory")]
• Incidentally, the trial is about to begin in a callous murder of two undercover policemen back in March 2003. The officers were killed execution style while attempting to buy a handgun from a Staten Island dealer. [amNY]
• New York's health sector could lose thousands of jobs thanks to a report coming tomorrow. That's when a state commission is expected to release a list of belt-tightening measures, including the downsizing of hospital and nursing-home staffs across the board. In a rare provision, only the whole plan can be rejected or accepted by the governor — no picking and choosing. [NYT]
• A 73-year-old Park Avenue rabbi is being sued by his mistress for a breach of the "cohabitation contract" the lovers signed at the outset of their seven-year affair. The paper demanded liposuction and continuing education from her (she complied) and fidelity from both sides (he evidently didn't). [NYP]
• And, the future of dry cleaning is now: A fully automated "ADM," currently testing in the Bronx (uh, okay), will now mangle your clothes and singe off the buttons just like the real thing. [NYDN]