Ever since the Jared Paul Stern-Page Six-Ron Burklegate scandal — in which Burkle alleged Stern tried to extort thousands from him in exchange for favorable Page Six coverage — broke last summer, the former gossip columnist has maintained that he planned to sue the billionaire supermarket magnate. (He even told FishbowlNY as much in an exclusive, poorly-lit video interview last summer.)
Well, he kept his word.
In court papers filed today in Manhattan State Supreme Court, Stern alleges Burkle and others — including the Daily News and Burkle friends Bill and Hillary Clinton — took part in a vast conspiracy against the New York Post that defamed him, caused him emotional distress and forced him out of his job at Page Six. He seeks unspecified damages.
According the court documents obtained by FishbowlNY, Stern alleges that the March 22, 2006 meeting was in fact a “set-up” arranged by Burkle and secretly videotaped by Burkle’s security team, “directed by Defendant Renzi, an ex Secret Service agent formerly in the employ of Bill Clinton and head of security for Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa Cos., and disreputable private investigator Richard Di Sabatino, without Mr. Stern’s knowledge or consent.”
Stern alleges Burkle frequently videotapes and “runs surveillance on business associates, employees, acquaintances, rivals and even relatives without their knowledge or consent” using private investigators and others with ties to the Clintons. “Burkle and Renzi had also run surveillance and “dirt” gathering operations on Page Six editor Richard Johnson, his family, and other Page Six staffers.”
Stern also claims Burkle used political influence and connections to the Clintons, and his security agent’s ties to federal agents, to “convince the federal authorities to investigate Burkle’s false and baseless allegations despite the lack of evidence.”
Federal authorities had investigated Burkle’s extortion claims but declined to file charges.
FishbowlNY’s Selected Coverage of the Jared Paul Stern Case: