The gossip world is abuzz (is there anything more titillating than gossip about gossip?) over today's NY Daily News report that Page Six staffer Jared Paul Stern (whom the NY Post is very quick to label a "freelancer" who "who worked two days per week" at the column—hey, how did this guy even get in here?) attempted to shake down "bad boy" supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle for about $220K in return for "'protection' against inaccurate and unflattering items," but walked right into a sting:
In two 90-minute meetings, characterized by a shocking breach of ethics, Jared Paul Stern, a fixture on the city's gossip scene who also edited Page Six The Magazine, asked for a series of payments from Ron Burkle, the managing partner of Yucaipa Cos., a conglomerate with interests in supermarkets, celebrity clothing lines, and media.
It was all a setup, a sting monitored by law enforcement, including the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI, who are now investigating the extortion attempt. The meetings, on March 22 and March 31, were videotaped.
This is a matter perhaps best left to our mediawhore relatives at Gawker, who've been providing ample Payola Six coverage today. And we know what you're wondering, and all we have to say about it is this: Brett Ratner may or may not have bought us a lapdance for insinuating that he might be banging Lindsay Lohan. Hey, this is a blog, and our low overhead allows us to keep things affordable.
- The billionaire, the Post and the $220G shakedown [NY Daily News]