Ex-Prosecutor Says Monroe Dumped Robert Kennedy
Did Marilyn dump RFK? . . . Cher dumps her contractor. . . . Tamagotchis vs. Giga Pets
Before she died, Marilyn Monroe wasn’t heartbroken over being dumped by a Kennedy; she was the one doing the dumping.
So asserts John W. Miner, the former prosecutor who investigated the screen siren’s death for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He made his assertion during a telephone interview after filing a libel suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against a supermarket tabloid.
Miner claims in his suit that the National Examiner misquoted him last year on the circumstances of Monroe’s demise. Secrets held for 35 years about her death could emerge as Miner tries to set the record straight, his attorney Paul S. Sigelman said.
Chief among them are the contents of two tapes Monroe allegedly made at home just days before her death. Miner said that only he and the troubled star’s psychiatrist heard those tapes before they were destroyed.
Among the nuggets Miner said they reveal: Monroe’s death could not have been a suicide, despite the coroner’s official finding that it was.
On the tapes, Miner said, Monroe talked about her plans for the future--and, yes, about President John F. Kennedy and his younger brother. “She mentions them all right,” Miner said in the interview. “According to what she says on the tape, it was Monroe who bounced Robert Kennedy.”
Miner, now in his late 70s, said police botched the investigation of Monroe’s death from an overdose of barbiturates in August 1962. He attended the autopsy, he said, and later listened to the secret tape recordings that he said were eventually destroyed by the actress’ psychiatrist, who died 30 years ago.
Court papers say Miner had promised the psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, that he would never disclose the contents of the tapes. But Miner said he recently received permission from Greenson’s widow to bare the secret after published reports speculated--falsely, Miner contends--that Greenson and the Kennedys had been involved in Monroe’s death.
Miner is seeking unspecified damages from Globe Communications, which publishes the National Examiner.
Michael B. Kahane, Globe’s vice president and general counsel, said the suit was not filed in time to meet the one-year statute of limitations. And, he said, although the wording in one paragraph of the article may have been unclear, any mistaken impressions were removed by a clarification in the next week’s edition.
AND YOU THOUGHT THE SPELLINGS HAD PROBLEMS:
Dumping your contractor isn’t quite in the same league as dumping a Kennedy, but that’s exactly what Cher did over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. She went so far, the suit alleges, as to call the sheriff to remove the contractor’s employees from the site.
Edwin Magana and his ARYA Group contend in the lawsuit that Cher and her handlers duped the firm into thinking it would be the designer and general contractor for a 16,000-square-foot beachfront home she is building in Malibu. Instead, the suit alleges, Cher had planned all along to dump the contractor after stealing its building design ideas and luring away subcontractors to finish the job.
The breach-of-contract suit also accuses Cher of stopping payment on a $221,000 check and refusing to pay “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to cover the firm’s other expenses. “Trampling on another person’s rights and reneging on a contract is wrong, even if your name is Cher,” said ARYA lawyer Allan Browne.
The project originally was to be a $5-million “spec” house that would be sold at a profit, the suit says. But later, Cher decided to build her dream house on the site.
“Unfortunately, the dream changed several times and became a nightmare for ARYA due to Cher’s easily changeable whim,” states the suit, which says the home’s theme underwent mutations “from Mediterranean, to Moroccan, to Venetian, with several variations within each theme.”
Cher’s publicist referred calls to her business manager, who could not be reached.
YO, GANGSTER THIS: A federal judge has dismissed civil racketeering allegations against Sylvester and Frank Stallone by an independent production company that had accused the brothers of throwing Sylvester’s star power around like a couple of thugs.
FM Entertainment, which made a film with the brothers about golfing hit men, had accused them of civil violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
But U.S. District Judge George H. King found that neither a corrupt organization nor a pattern of racketeering existed in this instance. However, he sent the rest of the case back to Los Angeles Superior Court, where Sylvester Stallone first filed suit over the marketing of the film, called “The Good Life.” Still to be decided are allegations in the company’s suit that the star didn’t meet his contractual obligations and charges in his suit that the firm hyped his cameo appearance as a feature role.
“My client is very pleased,” said Sylvester’s attorney, Marty Singer.
TOY STORY: Two corporations that have competed in the marketplace for the hearts and minds of consumers with their “virtual pets” now are duking it out in federal court in Chicago. Illinois-based Tiger Electronics is asking a judge to sort out its copyright and trade infringement dispute with Bandai America, based in Orange County.
Tiger filed suit in Chicago, asking a judge to declare that it had the right to make the toy after it received a letter from Bandai warning that Tiger was infringing on Bandai’s copyright. According to court papers, Tiger was successful selling its version, which was less expensive, in the United States, while Bandai was still trying to meet consumer demands in Japan.
Bandai--maker of the immensely popular, egg-shaped Tamagotchi toy that created a sensation in Japan a year ago--contends in its countersuit that Tiger’s Giga Pets undercut its American market with a cheaper, copycat product. Bandai is seeking an injunction barring Tiger from what Bandai alleges are deceptive and unfair trade practices.
But Tiger asserts that its Giga Pets are different enough to be a separate product.
The Tamagotchi toy adopts a chicken-and-egg motif, announcing on its packaging, “If it’s not an egg, it’s not the original Tamagotchi,” the court records say. Giga Pets, on the other hand, come in many incarnations, with names such as Compu Kitty, Digital Doggie, Micro Chimp, Floppy Frog and Virtual Alien.
Bandai attorney Stephen T. Owens declined to comment, but Tiger lawyer Debra Stanek said that settlement discussions are continuing and that her client hopes to work things out.
BUMPER CARS: Even though he wasn’t the one allegedly doing the drugs--or even the driving--Robert Downey Jr. is named as a defendant in a civil complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court over a vehicle crash.
And if that weren’t bad enough, the lawsuit was filed the same day that Downey was jailed for violating his probation in a drug case.
Attorneys at the Glendale law offices of William Salle say the timing of the suit was pure coincidence. Under a law that makes a vehicle’s owner liable for the actions of someone else driving it, Downey was named a defendant in the suit, sparked when his Land Rover crashed into the Jeep of the firm’s client.
The Jeep, driven by 43-year-old Sunny Park, was damaged beyond repair in the accident March 8. Park’s suit alleges that Downey was negligent for letting actress Lynette Marde Walden drive his vehicle while intoxicated by painkillers.
Downey “knew Walden was a known drug abuser, and knew or should have known that Walden would consume drugs immediately prior to operating the vehicle,” the lawsuit states.
Park was hospitalized with neck and back injuries after the crash in the Westlake area west of downtown L.A. The suit alleges that Walden was driving more than 53 mph around a curve where the posted speed limit is 20 mph.
Downey’s publicists said they were unaware of the suit.
BATTLE OF WILLS: Finally, 12 years after it began, the sad legal battle over the will of wealthy Beverly Hills matron Hermine Weinberg has been laid to rest.
The case ended quietly with lawyers reaching a confidential settlement to a legal malpractice case that reopened the family’s wounds over the woman’s suicide.
Attorneys for her multimillionaire husband, William, who was divorcing her at the time of her death, and the prestigious New York-based law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom announced the settlement as a third week of testimony began.
Weinberg had sought $100 million from his lawyers, including former MGM studio head Frank Rothman, claiming they had blown the case, covered up their mistake and then convinced him to settle by giving $35 million to charity.