Weird playboy billionaire Jeff Greene, still bitter over his random, failed Senate campaign in Florida, will sue two newspapers for $500 million over some inaccuracies in their otherwise brutal campaign exposes. He's really not taking this loss well, huh?
As the New York Times notes, libel suits from defeated candidates seeking revenge are incredibly rare. But Greene probably has nothing else to do right now, and he has enough money to hire the best libel lawyers and take the case as far as it will go.
The newspapers Greene will sue are the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald. Both papers ran articles looking into Greene's allegedly shady business practices, such as whether he "was party to a real estate deal that left 300 California families homeless and a partner of his in jail." The St. Petersburg Times wrote an editorial calling for a federal investigation into this.
But the stories that really ticked Greene off were specific ones in the St. Petersburg Times that examined his bizarre friendships and leisure activities. The Times talked to people familiar with his infamous party yacht, Summerwind, the employees of which he treated like shit while his celebrity guests were partying and vomiting all over the deck.
[Another St. Petersburg Times article] left the impression that the boxer Mike Tyson, who was the best man at Mr. Greene's wedding, used drugs while on Mr. Greene's yacht. The paper later ran a front-page correction clarifying that Mr. Tyson said he had not used drugs on the yacht.
Yeah, Tyson got off the yacht to do the hard drugs he was doing while on vacation with Jeff Greene.
Basically, these newspapers humiliated him. And although there were a few minor errors, their central message — that Jeff Greene is a huge asshole — was well supported.
So let's call this the vanity lawsuit that can only follow a vanity campaign. From the New York Times, again:
Dogged by rumors about wild parties aboard his 145-foot yacht and about fraudulent real estate deals, Mr. Greene will seek at least $500 million in damages in part, he said, to teach the news media a lesson. "I want to send a message to every newspaper in the country: Do your homework," he said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "I deserve to have the record corrected, and they deserve to be punished."
Sure, sure. He'll probably get wasted with Mike Tyson on Summerwind tonight and forget about this lawsuit entirely.
[Image via AP]