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It couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy

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Gerald Posner was once the darling of Warren Commission defenders, embraced by all the major

media. Eventually his sloppy research caught up with him and he was fired from his job as

a journalist.

Posner is now a named defendant in a lawsuit by Harper Lee agaonst her former agent,

a Mr. Pinkus.

Acclaimed writer Harper Lee, the 87-year-old author of To Kill a Mockingbird, filed a lawsuit against her literary agent Friday claiming he took advantage of her age and ill-health to steal her royalties.

The lawsuit claims Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lees longtime literary agent Eugene Winick, started duping the author after his father-in-law fell ill in 2002 and turned the company over to him.

Lees lawsuit claims that Pinkus created a company in 2011 called Philologus Procurator Inc., at the Florida home of lawyer Gerald Posner.

In November 2011, the lawsuit says, an unsigned email from Philologus told a UK agent to make all future royalty payments for Lee via check made payable to Philologus Procurator Inc. Pinkus also notified HarperCollins, Lees publisher, to send royalties to PPI, the suit said. It was one of many ways he defrauded Lee of money she was owed, the lawsuit says.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/harper-lee-sues-kill-mockingbird-literary-agent-article-1.1335020#ixzz2SQ3Vu2nv

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Further tid-bit on Posner's alleged role in the Harper Lee royalty scandal,

from the venerable New York Post:

"But after agency owner Eugene Winick fell ill in 2002, his son-in-law Pinkus allegedly diverted several clients to a new company he controlled, and then engaged in a scheme to dupe Harper Lee, then 80 years old with declining hearing and eyesight, into signing over her valuable copyright for no consideration.

After securing the copyright, Pinkus transferred it to another company incorporated by Posner, who resigned as chief investigative reporter for The Daily Beast in 2010 amid plagiarism allegations.

Neither Pinkus nor Posner returned requests for comment."


Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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A further tidbit

Lee also sued Gerald Posner, a New York City attorney who has a home in Miami Beach.

She claims he incorporated co-defendant Philologus Procurator Inc., "and has conducted

PPI business with foreign literary agents."


So the question everyone is asking:

What did Gerald Posner know about Pinkus's activities

and when did he know it?

I just checked Posner's website and could find no statement by him

about the Harper Lee case. I find this surprising, since Posner is normally

not backward in coming forward.

As far as I can see the New York Times has so far not reported a word about the Harper Lee case

or the role allegedly played by their darling Posner.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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I think I heard a penny drop.

All the best to Harper Lee. the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. An important piece of literature.

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The Washington Post, a major supporter of Posner's Case CLosed

carried the brief AP report on the Harper Lee case which does not mention Posner.

I then checked the New York Times website and found no mention of the lawsuit whatsoever

so I sent this email to Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor.

Greetings Ms. Sullivan:
I draw your attention to a strange omission from the New York Times this past weekend.
On Friday, May 4 Bloomberg News and other sources reported
on a federal lawsuit filed by Harper Lee against her former agent Samuel Pinkus
and attorney/investigative reporter Gerald Posner. The lawsuit alleges a form of elder abuse
by Pinkus in having Ms. Lee sign over to him her copyright interest in To Kill A Mockingbird,
one of America's most beloved novels.
Gerald Posner was once held up by the New York Times as a paragon of journalistic virtue
when he claimed to prove that Lee Oswald, despite his denials, was guilty of murder.
Posner's blatant plagiarism was exposed when he was suspended and then fired by The Daily Beast.
His excuse was even more damning than his plagiarism: He blamed it on his sloppy research!
So I am wondering why the New York Times did not see fit to print the news about the Harper Lee lawsuit
involving such a famous novel, and I hope you will comment on this blank spot in Times news coverage.
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Just received the standard email from the Public Editor:

Thank you for contacting the Public Editor. My assistant and I read every message that we receive. Please note that this office deals specifically with issues of journalistic integrity at The New York Times. Due to the number of e-mails that we receive on a daily basis, we are not able to respond personally to everyone who writes.

If a further reply is warranted you will be hearing from us in a timely manner.

Some messages to the public editor may be published in my column or on my blog. Please let me know if you do not want your message published.

Please note that below the break you will find information on the corrections process, submitting an op-ed, contacting The Times, customer service complaints and more.

Very Truly Yours,

Margaret Sullivan
Public Editor

Last time I wrote to the Public Editor the TImes published a correction to the obituary for detective Paul Bentley


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I just sent this follow-up email to the Public Editor:

On the question of journalistic integrity,
the Times has, in the past, invested in Posner's credibility.
The surprising fact that the New York Times failed to cover a lawsuit
that literary folk would expect the Times to cover in depth
might be explained by the reluctance of Timesfolk to
talk about the mysterious involvement of Gerald Posner, their erstwhile buddy/hero.
And you may quote me on that.
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Just sent ths further email to the Public Editor:

Apparent corroboration for my theory that Timesfolk are reluctant
to draw attention to Posner's negatives: The only Times article I could find
dealing with Posner's plagiarism scandal at the Daily Beast
was an article by your predeccessor, Scott Hoyt.
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Mr. Carroll

This is my first post on the Education Forum and may I point out that I consider it an honour to be allowed to post alongside of the esteemed company here.

I would also like to point out that your e-mails to the Editor of the New York Times bring new meaning to the old adage "Nothing hurts quite as much as the truth".

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Mr. Carroll

This is my first post on the Education Forum and may I point out that I consider it an honour to be allowed to post alongside of the esteemed company here.

I would also like to point out that your e-mails to the Editor of the New York Times bring new meaning to the old adage "Nothing hurts quite as much as the truth".

Thank you Robert, and welcome to the forum.

I just sent this further email to the Public Editor:

I see that the New York Times blog featured the Harper Lee copyright story
on Monday, May 6, and that the story appeared in print on May 7.
Harper Lee Sues Agent Over Copyright on ‘Mockingbird’ By JULIE BOSMAN Published: May 6, 2013
  • SAVE
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Harper Lee, who skillfully chronicled courtroom drama in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is tangled in a legal drama of her own. Ms. Lee, 87, filed a lawsuit last week accusing her literary agent, Samuel Pinkus, of improperly collecting royalties from “Mockingbird” since 2007. According to the complaint, filed in federal court in New York, Mr. Pinkus “engaged in a scheme to dupe Harper Lee, then 80 years old with declining hearing and eyesight,” into assigning the book’s copyright to his company. Ms. Lee does not recall signing the document or discussing it with Mr. Pinkus, the complaint said.
Ms. Lee, who suffered a stroke in June 2007 that has limited her mobility, lives in an assisted living facility in Monroeville, Ala. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was first published in 1960 and won a Pulitzer Prize. It is her only published book.
A version of this article appeared in print on May 7, 2013, on page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Mockingbird’ Author Sues Agent.
According to other news sources, the famous lawyer/journalist Gerald Posner
is a named defendant in the lawsuit along with Pinkus, but this remarkable fact
is not revealed to readers of the Times, either on its blog or in the print edition.
When we consider that the Times news columns were similarly silent
when Posner was exposed as a serial plagiarist and sloppy researcher,
it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Timesfolk lack the courage and integrity
to face the truth about Gerald Posner.
The Times was at the forefront in praising Posner's sloppy research on the JFK
assassination, and even invited Posner to write an Op-Ed piece on the subject,
but when Posner's credentials become subject to scrutiny it seems the Times
invariably looks the other way.
I do hope you will look into this, and report your findings to your readers.
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THis is from Publisher's Lunch, and it sounds less than flattering towards our Gerald,

but it costs twenty five bucks to subscribe, so all I can post is this snippet:

Legal: More on Harper Lee Lawsuit;

by SARAH WEINMAN on MAY 7, 2013 in LEGAL

Updating our Monday story on the Harper Lee copyright lawsuit, the full complaint depicts the alleged depths of the scheme that Samuel Pinkus is said to have engaged in, along with Lee Ann Winick and Gerald Posner, to mislead Lee and her publishers about the copyright status of TO KILL A…

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The full text of Harper Lee's complaint is now online.

The specific acts alleged against Posner are vague,

and I would guess that Harper Lee's attorney is not yet clear

on what, if anything, Posner knew about Pinkus's true activities.

The complaint does allege that Posner breached the duty of diligence

and that would certainly not be a first for our Gerald.


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Regarding Mr. Posner, it may be that he has been perceived as a weak defender of the Warren Commission cause and that upcoming revelations may send him to the scrap heep of JFK research much like chris mathews was sent packing when Mimi Alford destroyed his book only after a week after its release. I find it rather witful that Killing a Mockingbird is so relevant here when the mockingbird is one of their own....Cheers!

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My latest to the Public Editor:

Greetings again Ms. Sullivan, and thank you for acknowledging
my previous emails.
In perusing the New York Times code of ethics I note the following:
  • The Times treats its readers as fairly and openly as possible. In
  • print and online, we tell our readers the complete, unvarnished
  • truth as best we can learn it.
The Times blog and print article about Harper Lee's lawsuit
(the full text of which was available at the federal courthouse)
could hardly be called complete, since the identity of one of the defendants
was not disclosed to readers.
The unmentioned defendant happens to be a longtime favorite
of the New York Times
  • It is our policy to correct our
  • errors, large and small, as soon as we become aware of them.
The Times lavishly praised Gerald Posner for his research skills
when Posner wrote Case Closed. The Times itself had declared Lee Oswald guilty, in front page headlines,
before he could even hire a lawyer, and Posner's book seemed to vindicate that notorious Times headline.
But when Gerald Posner became enmeshed in a massive plagiarism scandal in which his sloppy research was exposed
and his reputation for integrity shattered, Clark Hoyt, then Public Editor, was seemingly the lone Timesperson
to mention Posner's disgrace, and then only in passing. The news columns of the Times, and even the book pages,
were completely silent, as far as I can determine by searching the site.
One can err by omission just as surely as one can err by commission.
I do look forward to your response to this issue, which raises a red flag about
the fundamental integrity of the New York Times.
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The Public Editor continues to acknowledge my emails, so I assume she is looking into the Posner matter.

Here is my latest email:

Greetings again, Ms. Sullivan.
I have been reading your recent columns and note this:
In an editor’s note written nearly a year after Mr. Raines’s departure, The Times faulted itself for being “taken in” on Iraq and pledged more skeptical and rigorous reporting.
Anything that damages credibility — a rogue reporter’s lies, a too-trusting attitude toward government sources and the prevailing narrative — has to be guarded against energetically. The Times has taken important steps toward that end.
I hope those steps are enough and are effective. Because once it happens, that damage can take years — yes, a decade or more — to repair. In this difficult and unforgiving era for the news business, that’s a decade or more that no news organization can spare.
In light of the Times's failure to blow the whistle on Gerald Posner, a rogue reporter if ever there was one, and its longtime too-trusting
attitude towards government sources whenever the murder of president Kennedy is mentioned, you will appreciate that I have difficulty
in believing that the leopard has changed its spots.
But I remain open to persuasion and look forward to your response.
Yours, etc.
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