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Stamfords Advocate: Authorities Have Pushed Stewart Case ғPossibly Beyond Point of Reason

Stamfords The Advocate, in an editorial in SundayҒs edition, says federal authorities have pushed the Martha Stewart case awfully hard Ӗ and in one regard, possibly beyond the point of reason.

ԓIf you make billions teaching people to be considerate hosts, thoughtful friends and attentive parents, then you should expect a little additional scrutiny in the personal integrity department, the newspaper said.

It then cited Stewart’s insider-trading indictments and said the ԓfirestorm over the federal action is hardly surprising.

ԓWith that understood, we think the authorities have pushed this case awfully hard—and in one regard, possibly beyond the point of reason.

The editorial said StewartԒs sale of ImClone stock helped her avoid a $45,000 loss and added:

That’s peanuts compared to hundreds of millions in losses covered up on the company books at WorldCom, and a pittance when you consider the multibillion-dollar losses resulting from the accounting scandal at Enron.

ԓYet those top executives have yet to be charged with anything, while Ms. Stewart was the subject of a very public investigation for more than a year.

If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $2 million fine. You have to wonder if the government’s priorities are straight.

ӔOne of the charges in particular seems to be a stretch. Prosecutors claim that Ms. Stewart effectively misled shareholders of her own company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, when she lied to investigators about the circumstances surrounding the ImClone sale, because her fate is central to that of her signature company.

It’s a tough connection to make, and only time will tell whether the government is successful. Ms. Stewart has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and the case is headed to court.Ӕ

Stamfords Advocate Mistakenly Says Martha Left Westport in 2000

Readers of an editorial in Sundays edition of The Advocate of Stamford no doubt will be confused by the newspaper saying Martha Stewart no longer lives in Westport.

ғShe no longer lives in Westport, but does some magazine photography and films some of her television segments there, and she has many ties to our area, said the editorial, which commented on her insider-trading case.

ԓShe moved out in 2000 after complaining that the chain retail stores had helped to sweep the charm from downtown Westport. She didn’t mind selling some of those same retailers to readers of her magazine through advertisements and special editions, however.

The newspaper, owned by the Tribune Company and which circulates in the mid-Fairfield County area, referred to a critical article under StewartԒs byline that appeared in The New York Times Magazine three years ago. 

Headlined Martha Stewart Leaving,Ӕ the article included a large picture of a tractor-trailer turning a sharp corner on Post Road West.

In fact, Stewart still lives in Westport and on Feb. 14, 2002, told a Westport audience: “I’m still a resident of Westport. I sleep here at night, unless I am on vacation.”

She told a meeting of the YӒs Men that some of her words in the Times article had been edited. “I wrote what I thought was a balanced article,” she said. “It was not my picture; it was not my title.”

The AdvocateԒs error was especially glaring since the newspaper carried an AP story this week that described the reaction of Westporters to Stewarts troubles.

Martha Stewart to Fans: You Have My Deepest Thanks”

Martha Stewart may be avoiding the media in the days after her indictment on federal charges related to her insider-trading case, but she is talking to her fans directly on the Internet.

I am very grateful for the goodwill that so many friends and supporters have shown me by visiting these web pages,Ӕ Stewart wrote on her Web site, www. marthatalks.com.

In its first day, the site has logged more than 2 million hits, and more than 20,000 visitors have taken the time to send messages of support and encouragement.

ԔWhile I am unable to respond to each of these messages individually, I have read many of them already and I am doing my best to read them all.

I especially want those who have written to know that your kind words and good wishes mean a great deal to me.  You have my deepest thanks.

ԔI hope to provide updates for you here as often as I can. Many thanks again for your interest.

Playboy Editorial Director’s First Peek at Magazine Was in “Boring” Westport

Playboys editorial director, James Kaminsky, says his first peek at the Hugh Hefner property came while he was growing up in Westport.

According to TorontoҒs Globe and Mail, Kaminsky started reading Playboy when he was 15 and restless in the tony but boring Connecticut town of Westport. (His dad left the mag lying around the house.) It gave him a view of a larger world.Ӕ

His father is former Westporter Leonard P. Kaminsky, who now lives in Shelton, Conn. Leonard Kaminsky is a former chair of Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission and most recently served on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Kaminsky, 41, joined Playboy last October from Maxim magazine.

At the time, he said: As a writer and editor, IӒve long admired Playboy for its ability to demonstrate the power that a magazine can have. This is the magazine that convinced me to go into this business.”

Prior to Maxim, Kaminsky was a top editor at Conde Nast Womens Sport & Fitness, which he helped launch in 1997. In the mid-1990s, he was a senior editor at MenҒs Journal while also serving as editor-in-chief of the top-selling Mens Journal BuyersҒ Guide

A graduate of Boston University with a B.S. in journalism, Kaminsky also has been a freelance writer and project editor during his career.


06/07/2003 15:08 pm Comments (0)Permalink

Playboy Editorial Director’s First Peek at Magazine Was in “Boring” Westport

Playboys editorial director, James Kaminsky, says his first peek at the Hugh Hefner property came while he was growing up in Westport.

According to Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Kaminsky started reading Playboy when he was 15 and restless in the tony but boring Connecticut town of Westport. (His dad left the mag lying around the house.) It gave him a view of a larger world.”

His father is former Westporter Leonard P. Kaminsky, who now lives in Shelton, Conn. Leonard Kaminsky is a former chair of Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission and most recently served on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Kaminsky, 41, joined Playboy last October from Maxim magazine.

At the time, he said: “As a writer and editor, I’ve long admired Playboy for its ability to demonstrate the power that a magazine can have. This is the magazine that convinced me to go into this business.”

Prior to Maxim, Kaminsky was a top editor at Conde Nast Womens Sport & Fitness, which he helped launch in 1997. In the mid-1990s, he was a senior editor at Men’s Journal while also serving as editor-in-chief of the top-selling Mens Journal Buyers Guide

A graduate of Boston University with a B.S. in journalism, Kaminsky also has been a freelance writer and project editor during his career.

Martha Stewart: I am Innocent … ”

Martha Stewart: I am Innocent and Will FightӔ: In an open letter today published as a full-page ad in USA Today, Martha Stewart said, “I want you to know that I am innocent—and that I will fight to clear my name.”

“I simply returned a call from my stockbroker,” Stewart wrote. “Based in large part on prior discussions with my broker about price, I authorized a sale of my remaining shares in a biotech company called ImClone. I later denied any wrongdoing in public statements and voluntary interviews with prosecutors. The government’s attempt to criminalize these actions makes no sense to me.”

The letter was also published on a Web site—marthatalks.com—where Stewart said she would post information about the case.

The site also includes a statement issued Wednesday from her attorney as well as an e-mail link where visitors are invited to send a letter to Stewart.

Martha Stewart and Her Broker Indicted and Plead Not Guilty

It was all-Martha-all-the-time coverage on the cable news networks today as Westports latest and most famous possible federal prisoner pleaded innocent to federal charges stemming from her insider-trading scandal.

Hours later she stepped down as chief executive of her company but said she would remain on the board, but not as chairman.

“I love this company, its people and everything it stands for, and I am stepping aside as chairman and CEO because it is the right thing to do,” Stewart said in a brief statement.

A 41-page indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charged Stewart with securities fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making false statements to prosecutors and the FBI.

The indictment also charged Peter Bacanovic, Stewart’s stockbroker, with perjury and obstruction of justice, among other charges. He also pleaded innocent to all charges.

As the expectation increased that this would be indictment day for her, media representatives descended on Westport asking residents what they thought.

A private security guard maintained a vigil at Stewart’s Turkey Hill Road South home.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum released Stewart and Bacanovic without setting bail until their next hearings. The judge ordered Stewart to notify authorities three days ahead if she planned to leave the country.

Stewart has denied wrongdoing in her December 2001 sale of shares of ImClone Systems Inc. ahead of an unfavorable government ruling. She said she had an arrangement with her broker for the automatic sale of the stock when it dropped to a certain price.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey said the case centered on Stewart’s lies to the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and investors.

“That is conduct that will not be tolerated,” Comey said at a news conference. “Miss Stewart is being prosecuted not because of who she is, but what she did.”

Meanwhile, the SEC filed a civil suit in Manhattan seeking to bar Stewart from being in charge of any public company.

Media Descends on Westport for Martha Reaction

It was predictable following indications that Martha Stewart was about to be indicted related to her insider-trading problems the national media descended on Westport early today for reactions from her neighbors.

CNBC set up its satellite truck at the Saugatuck train station where correspondent Garret Glaser noted that Westport was the town that in 1978 issued a cease and desist order to stop Stewart from running a catering business out of her home.

֓Well, Martha has come a long way from those days and so has the town, Glaser said.

ԓBesides the large home at Turkey Hill and the TV production facility and numerous Martha-related ventures, Westport is very much aware of Martha Stewart and all she has been through.

The AP sent reporter John Christoffersen to prowl Main Street for reaction. He said those he interviewed were divided in their reaction to Stewart’s indictment.

Glaser found the same thing as he and his crew stopped commuters as they boarded the 7:28 for New York and asked them ԓwhat do you make of all of this?

The quick clips from commuters did not identify them by name but here is what they said:

(Man #1) ԓI think she should get whats coming. I mean the lawҒs the law. You break it, you deserve it.

(Man #2) ԓTheres plenty of people who have done much worse. Leave her alone.”

(Man #3) ғShe did something wrong, and, I mean I dont think any differently because she happens to live here. I mean she did something wrong then she deserves to be indicted like anyone else.Ҕ

(Woman #1) Ah Ӗ who cares? You know really, with all the stuff thats happening in the world, it really seems very insignificant.Ҕ

(Man #4) TheyӒre just making a show of her. I mean this is something that happens to a lot of people. A lot of people do it. If shes innocent or not, I donҒt know, but theyre making a big show of it. TheyҒre trying to make an example of her.

(Woman #2) ԓWhat she did was so much less than what everybody else did with all the other scandals. I think its resentment. I think thereҒs a lot of sexism going on here and, you know, a powerful woman, (they) tried to bring her down.

Later, the CNBC crew did a quick pass by Stewart’s home on Turkey Hill Road South. Its footage, shot from a distance through a car window, showed only a red SUV manned by a security guard parked in her driveway.

Glaser ended his report this way: ԓPeople are being tempting to say or easy to say there is no love lost between the town and Martha. But thats not true. ItҒs really a complex mix of opinions.

A New Haven station took up a spot in the Main Street area. Its correspondent interviewed Planning and Zoning Director Kathy Barnard about Stewart’s applications over the years to do taping at her Westport home and other issues.

Martha Stewart Indictment Expected Soon; Attorney Says She Will Plead Innocent and Go to Trial

Martha Stewart is expecting to be indicted soon by a federal grand jury in connection with her insider-trading case, her company said today.

Her chief attorney, Robert Morvillo, later in the day issued a brief statement saying: “If Martha Stewart is indicted, she intends to declare her innocence and proceed to trial,” according to the AP.

CNBC quoted sources as saying the indictment would come Wednesday and that Stewart would be arrested on the charges. It said it is not known whether agents would arrest her at her home or whether she would arrange to surrender to them.

All was quiet around the Stewart home on Turkey Hill Road South this afternoon. But there was a burly man sitting in a red SUV parked facing outward in her driveway outside her gate. He carefully eyed passing cars.

CNBC also said she would step down as head of the company following the indictment.

A statement issued this morning by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said the company was preparing for all contingencies.

The brief statement said: “Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSO) has been informed by Martha Stewart’s attorneys that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has informed them that Ms. Stewart is a target of a criminal investigation and that the United States Attorney’s Office intends to request the grand jury to return an indictment against her in the near future.

“Additionally, MSO has been informed that a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission is also expected.

“MSO and its board of directors have been planning for a number of possible contingencies, are evaluating the current situation and will take action as appropriate.”

Federal investigators had been considering bringing criminal and civil securities-fraud charges against Stewart for her sale of ImClone Systems stock in December 2001, just days before an application for review of its promising cancer drug was rejected.

There were reports that her attorneys and investigators were trying to work out a plea agreement, but today’s statement indicated that the talks failed.

The announcement came hours before the company held its annual meeting in New York. Stewart did not attend the meeting but made a statement to shareholders via videotape saying she regretted she could not be there.

Arthur Martinez, an MSO board member, later told reporters that Stewart had taped the message this morning and in it expressed “her gratitude for support shown to her by her shareholder family.”

He said during the meeting a shareholder had asked whether Stewart had resigned as head of the company and was told it was “categorically untrue.”

Martinez said the company was in good shape, adding that he was confident about its future. He would not answer any questions from reporters.

The meeting lasted about 45 minutes and Stewart, chairman and CEO, was among those re-elected to the board, attendees said.

CNBC said Stewart would be indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements, according to its sources. The network said she would not be indicted on federal insider trading charges but would likely face civil insider trading penalties.

CNBC said her trial could be more than a year away, posing major uncertainties for her company in the interim.

Stewart, 61, has denied any wrongdoing in the ImClone sale. She said she had an arrangement with her broker for the automatic sale of the stock when it dropped to a certain price.

Eddie Bauer: The End is Near

The sale signs have gone up in Westports Eddie Bauer store indicating the end is near.

As first reported here April 28, the store, a fixture for many years at the intersection of Post Road East and Taylor Place in the heart of the town center, is closing as part of parent company The Spiegel Group Inc.Ғs Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

At the time of the announcement, the timing of the actual closure was in doubt as the company needed approval of its shutdown plan from the bankruptcy court.

The court has now approved the plan and the closeout specialist handling the sale has put up the 30 percent off signs in the windows. One employee said the store will remain open until all the merchandise is gone.

The Spiegel Group Inc. said the store—which it actually counts as two as it has apparel as well as home items—is one of its 60 underperforming Eddie Bauer stores going out of business immediately.

It said it may close more of its 529 Eddie Bauer stores in the future.

A real estate source said the 16,400-square foot building at 40-44 Post Road East owned by a Greenwich-based real estate investment trust should rent quickly, if a new lease has not already been signed.