For those of you still trying to parse the Ron Burkle/Jared Paul Stern situation:
One conspiracy theory circulating on the West Coast (and espoused by one of Burkle's rivals) is that Burkle had his divorce records sealed because they would disclose that he's not worth as much as people think he is and that his holdings aren't doing as well as everyone thinks. We're not sure if that's true, and a rival certainly has an incentive to push that theory, but if this photo is accurate, we'll acknowledge that the private plane needs redecorating.
The LA Times' Joel Stein consults the Freakonomics guys on the price-elasticity of extortion demands:
"He probably could have gotten away with it if he'd been reasonable," agreed "Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner. "But by asking for $200,000 from one payola victim, he's basically saying his services are worth a few million a year because he could easily try to shake down a dozen or two [dozen] people at the same time."
The Price of Defame [LAT]