The latest: According to ABC news, the FBI was prepared to arrest Jared Paul Stern at the time of his infamous meeting with billionaire Ron Burkle, but they lacked sufficient evidence. Since then, the bureau is in the early stages of launching an investigation "to determine whether there ever will be enough to bring to a federal grand jury and win an indictment." And, of course, there might not be.
Combined with Stern's adamant rebuttal that he was set up, the lack of evidence against Stern casts a harsh light on Burkle. The fact that he was even meeting with Stern to discuss controlling negative coverage suggests that Burkle, who's going through a nasty divorce, has something to hide. But what? For starters, Burkle's a known modelizer — no big whoop, though, amongst the rich and powerful. Unless, that is, the models were of a certain age. From a Page Six blind item that ran on January 26:
Which babe-loving billionaire has started checking IDs of the young models he invites on his private jet? The randy retail king is nervous that his high-altitude hookups with underage playthings will draw unwanted attention from his more respectable friends.
Uh-huh. And Burkle certainly has respectable friends, including President Clinton, who would hate to be associated with that sort of thing. Plus, as many have noted, the Daily News' coverage of the Page Six scandal certainly works to their benefit in New York's tabloid wars. Maybe we're just pipedreaming, but wouldn't it be interesting to know what sort of contact there's been between Burkle and Mort Zuckerman? Surely they must have at least met through the Billionaire's Club or Democratic party connections or the Meetup.org Group for Possible Radar Investors.
Not that any of this changes the fact that Page Six often works on a favor-based system. The suggestion that Burkle was actively seeking to fuck the system, however, certainly makes one rethink Stern — who has admitted to some sort of wrongdoing, though to what extent remains unclear — and his role in the larger situation. Deep, right?