Press

Paul Dudley

Outcry after a Whirlybirds Firm Gets Inside Edge for Heliport

Some of the choicest municipal-patronage plums used to be with the city's old Marine and Aviation agency. It controlled leases at the city's docks and terminals, and its jobs always went to clubhouse loyalists who were charged with divvying up the spoils. Unfortunately, this task often led them afoul of the law, the wiseguys, or both. In 1983, city leasing director Rick Mazzeo wound up dead in the trunk of a car in Greenpoint after the Bonanno crime family became disappointed with his attitude about an ongoing investigation. That kind of nasty affair is thankfully ancient history. We long ago traded political hacks for business-school grads who bring to their jobs, if not exactly a sense of civic duty, at least an intense commitment to being able to brag that they drove the hardest bargain. Above all else, the Bloomberg administration has claimed to stand for business conducted by the book and the bottom line. OK, occasionally a choice perk like a luxury stadium suite gets tucked into the deal for the enjoyment of these hard-driving negotiators.
Michael Jackson

Jacko‘s Doc a ‘Whacko’

Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeon has apparently gone wacky himself, checking into a California psych ward after being sued by two business partners, according to a lawyer involved in the case. Steven Hoefflin, dubbed “Doc Hollywood” for an A-list clientele that includes Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvester Stallone and Donald Trump, was admitted to Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on June 23, three days after a $100 million defamation lawsuit was filed against him in Manhattan federal court, according to Robert Hantman, the attorney for the plaintiff.
General Motors Building

GM Building lawsuit to be heard

A legal challenge to Harry Macklowe’s ownership of the General Motors Building will be heard Thursday as lawyers for developer Leslie Dick appeal his fraud and conspiracy case to New York State Supreme Court. The suit alleges the 2003 sale of the GM Building to Macklowe Properties Inc. was rigged, and that Macklowe was a front man for billionaire investor George Soros, who Dick alleges masterminded the entire auction.
Steven Seagal

METRO BRIEFING | NEW YORK; Actor And Ex-Partner Settle Dispute

The actor Steven Seagal and his former business partner, Julius R. Nasso, have agreed to settle a long-running legal battle, a lawyer and a spokeswoman said on Wednesday. The two had worked together for years, producing movies including ''Marked for Death,'' ''Out for Justice'' and ''On Deadly Ground.'' In 2002, Mr. Nasso sued Mr. Seagal for $60 million, accusing the actor of backing out of a four-movie deal. A few months later, Mr. Nasso was indicted on charges of conspiring with gangsters to shake down Mr. Seagal, and he served one year in federal prison. In the recent out-of-court settlement, Mr. Nasso agreed to drop the suit and Mr. Seagal agreed to pay Mr. Nasso an undisclosed amount of money and write a letter supporting his application for a pardon, Mr. Nasso's lawyer Robert Hantman said. Neither Mr. Seagal nor his lawyer could be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Hatchet Buried

STEVEN Seagal and Julius Nasso have kissed and made up. The action star and the producer have been at each other’s throats for five years, after Nasso, a reputed Gambino family associate, pleaded guilty to trying to extort money from Seagal and did 9½ months in the slammer. In 2003, Nasso sued Seagal for $60 million, alleging he broke his contract to do four movies, while Seagal last year countersued for the shakedown. “They are happy to resolve their differences and wish each other success . . . Some money changed hands, but it’s confidential,” said Nasso’s lawyer, Robert Hantman.
Submarine at sea, with sailors topside

Seagal Still ‘Under Siege’

Should 54-year-old action star Steven Seagal be worried that jailed private eye Anthony Pellicano might have some dirt on him? Celebrity detective Paul Barresi and New York attorney Robert Hantman - who reps former movie producer Julius Nasso, a pal of mobsters who's serving a year in prison for conspiracy to extort the actor - believe Seagal might be sweating. According to Barresi, who worked closely with Pellicano back in the last century, the imprisoned detective knows whether Seagal was involved in threats to journalists who were investigating the actor. Hantman has filed court papers in an effort to discover if the FBI "sanitized" Seagal's supposed sins in order to convict his client Nasso. Barresi told me that Seagal shouldn't take comfort in a recent vow from Pellicano - who's serving 30 months for illegal weapons possession - that he'll never dish on his famous former clients. "I won't rat. I'll stay loyal and rot behind bars rather than divulge anything about any client," Pellicano was quoted in another gossip column as declaring. But Barresi told me: "I know Pellicano well, and this is a shot across the bow. It's Pellicano saying, 'Hey, I'm still out here, and I know where the bodies are buried.
James Hewitt

DI‘s Love Rat Loses $1m ‘Humiliation’ Claim

Kiss-and-sell cad James Hewitt – who tried to hawk his love letters from Princess Diana for big bucks – isn’t entitled to a $1 million payday from TV execs he claims hurt his feelings, a Manhattan judge ruled yesterday. Hewitt filed suit against Fox News Channel earlier this year, claiming the network broke an agreement to give him an $80,000-a-year war correspondent gig. He was seeking $1 million in punitive damages because the network “humiliated” him by flying him into New York to fire him in person.
Steven Seagal

Guilty Plea in Seagal $care

Steven Seagal’s former producer pleaded guilty to shaking down the action star with the help of a powerful wiseguy – but claims he was just trying to collect several million dollars that he’s owed. Julius Nasso agreed to serve a year and a day behind bars for extortion – a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years – as part of a deal hammered out with Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Genser.
Man Holding Crawl Bar

Seagal Partner Cuts Shakedown Plot Deal

Under siege by the feds, the former business partner of Steven Seagal will admit he tried to shake down the action film star, authorities said yesterday. Film producer Julius Nasso was charged last year with conspiring with the members of the Gambino crime family to extort $3 million from Seagal. Yesterday, Assistant U. S. Attorney Andrew Genser disclosed in Brooklyn Federal Court that the feds had reached an "agreement in principle" with Nasso to plead guilty next Wednesday. Under the deal, Nasso would serve one year in jail. He would have faced five to eight years in prison, if convicted of attempted extortion charges. "He just wants to put this behind him and continue with a fruitful, productive life," said his lawyer Robert Hantman. Seagal testified about the shakedown last February at the racketeering trial of Gambino boss Peter Gotti. He described a now infamous sitdown dinner at the landmark Gage & Tollner restaurant in Brooklyn at which a Gambino capo warned Seagal to make movies with them and Nasso. It is unclear what impact the guilty plea will have on Nasso's $60 million civil lawsuit against Seagal. "Mr. Seagal is pleased justice has been served, that he has been totally vindicated," Seagal's lawyer Martin Pollner said last night. The prosecutor also revealed that Nasso's brother, Vincent, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in a mob scheme to award his company a lucrative prescription drug contract for the International Longshoremen's Association. Vincent Nasso will face two years in prison, a source familiar with the deal said.
Kerry Kennedy

Ex-Staffer Sues Kerry‘s ‘Other Man’ for $2.2M

The “other man” in the Kerry Kennedy-Andrew Cuomo divorce saga is a cheat in more ways than one, a former employee charged yesterday. In a $2.2 million lawsuit, Mauro Manfe claims Bruce Colley stiffed him out of almost $200,000 when Manfe worked at Colley’s Chelsea restaurant Man Ray.
Kerry Kennedy

Cuomo-Divorce ‘Other Man’ Sued for $2.2M

The “other man” in the Kerry Kennedy-Andrew Cuomo divorce saga is a cheat in more ways than one, a former employee charged yesterday. In a $2.2 million lawsuit, Mauro Manfe claims Bruce Colley stiffed him out of almost $200,000 when he went to work at Colley’s Chelsea restaurant Man Ray.
Bruce Colley

Man Ray Hit With Huge Tab

The posh Chelsea restaurant owned by Bruce Colley is facing a legal showdown with a former manager who claims he was stiffed out of tens of thousands of dollars. Mauro Manfe, the former front man at Downtown Cipriani, claims he was lured to Man Ray in October 2001 with the promise of a matching salary plus 2 percent of the restaurant’s receipts, as well as full medical and dental benefits.
Person Holding Walking Cane While Sitting on Chair

Out for Juice: Did Mob Try Blackmailing Steven Seagal?

NEW YORK — When Steven Seagal first surfaced in Hollywood, as a ponytailed 6-foot-4 martial arts expert, he offered a background story full of murk and menace. He hinted in hushed tones of having done "special favors" for the CIA. Whether anyone believed him hardly mattered -- what counted was how he put over the tough-guy image in films that cast him as a lone avenger caught in ominous conspiracies. Julius R. Nasso showed up in town as a wannabe of a different sort. He presented himself as the poor immigrant from Brooklyn who started a pharmaceutical business with $500 saved from a clerk's job -- in a church. Then he set out, like so many others, to make movies. And for him, it happened.
Steven Seagal

A Mafia Case, And a Scene Straight Out Of Hollywood

Steven Seagal, the action film star cited as a Mafia extortion target, has told investigators that after he stopped working with his longtime producer he was ordered into a car in Brooklyn last year and shuttled to a landmark restaurant where he was threatened by mobsters, according to officials and lawyers involved in the case. He was so intimidated, he recounted, that he agreed to turn over $700,000, although investigators are still trying to trace the money.
Jerry Seinfeld

Bio is No Laughing Matter for Jerry

Jerry Seinfeld's first biographer swears he's "a big fan" of the comic. The feeling is not mutual. Jerry Oppenheimer, author of "Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon," admits his book will likely wipe the smile off the comedian's public face. "Jerry on TV is kind of this laid-back, somewhat neurotic guy who watches the world go by," Oppenheimer tells us. "In real life, he can be very dark and steely.
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