"Lies & Smears Aimed At Post," blares the headline in today's Page Six. The item lists a whole bunch of allegations against Page Six by a former employee, Ian Spiegelman, that he'd made in an affidavit to fellow former Postie Jared Paul Stern's lawyer. Things like Post honcho Col Allan was "said to have received sexual favors" from strippers at Scores, and that Nello Balan (the restaurant and club owner) had given Page Six's Richard Johnson a $3,000 bribe in 1997.
(Page Six says, "On this point, Spiegelman is one-third correct. The Christmas gift was $1,000. 'Richard Johnson made a grave mistake in accepting cash from Nello Balan,' Allen said yesterday. 'After he informed me of his error in judgment, he was reprimanded, and policies were adopted that render such ethical lapses completely unacceptable.")
That's weird! Col Allan didn't come to the Post until 2001.
"They're trying to destroy Jared and bury him," Stern's lawyer, Larry Klayman, told us this morning. The item calls his client a "rogue former freelancer" and "disgraced journalist." Klayman said: "And they made a very big mistake because now they've libeled him again." The most perplexing things about the item is why the Post would re-print the claims in their own pages.
Until recently, Stern and his lawyer were in the midst of settlement discussions with the paper. Stern's suspension began after Ron Burkle alleged that Stern had attempted to extort money out of him in exchange for positive coverage in Page Six. "Their statement was that I was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation," Stern told us this morning. "We asked that they keep to that and reinstate me because I was exonerated."
"We were trying to do it on an amicable basis," Klayman said. "We were asking that he be reinstated, and asking for other relief." Klayman declined to be more specific about the nature of that relief.
Klayman sent a letter to Post lawyer Eugenie Gavenchak last Friday, May 11, with Spiegelman's affadavit attached. The cover letter confirmed "an extension of the statute of limitations for an additional week." There's no mention of a lawsuit there, but it doesn't seem coincidental that this item appeared exactly a week after Klayman's letter, and Spiegelman's affadavit, reached the Post. The statute of limitations was a year, for Stern to potentially file suit for wrongful termination, false light, and other potential claims against the Post.
"The Post thinks they're brilliant by putting this in Page Six," said Ian Spiegelman this morning. "They could have just ignored it and seen if it came out in a lawsuit. It just stinks of Rubenstein." [Howard and Steven Rubenstein represent the Post.] You take something no one would ever have heard about, you blow it up, you scream about it, and somehow you think in all that screaming you sound right."