Off Beat

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Eco-Warrior

TURNS OUT LESLIE DAVIS wasn't the only mind behind the short-lived campaign to recall Gov. Jesse Ventura. Davis, who launched the effort after failing to persuade authorities to go after the governor for his extracurricular activities (see "Wrestling With Immunity," September 29), confirms that the recall drive got a boost from Miami attorney Jack Thompson. It was Thompson who crafted the recall petition Davis submitted to the Minnesota Secretary of State. Thompson, who called Davis to offer his expertise after seeing media references to his efforts, has garnered a fair share of media attention over the years, first with his efforts to censor rap music, and more recently as one of two attorneys who are suing a host of entertainment-industry companies, holding them culpable for a teen's slayings of three girls at a Paducah, Kentucky, high school in 1997. Last week Thompson put in a Today show appearance with a client who aims to persuade the Comedy Central network to acknowledge that its hit show South Parkis a hazard to children; the woman's 11-year-old son hanged himself last year in an apparent attempt to mimic the exploits of a South Park character. The attorney also turned up on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes earlier this month to talk up what the hosts referred to as "his" recall effort. A self-described born-again Christian, Thompson says he was disgusted with Ventura's comments in Playboy about organized religion and the Tailhook scandal and got involved because he has in-laws here and considers Minnesota a second home. "This is not some kind of attempt to get publicity, I've had plenty of that," he says. "I think Jesse Ventura is a public menace. Mr. Davis is carrying the ball here. I'm just behind the scenes."

He Was Just Partying Like It Was 1999

HAVING BEEN PAID in advance, Arista Records slave the Artist felt no pain as a result of the Mill City Music Festival's post-Labor Day check-bouncing spree. But a federal lawsuit filed by the Artist's corporate entities in July alleges that Detroit promoter Willie Donwell shorted Prince more than $2.5 million in concert fees in connection with seven dates on the Jam of the Year Tour last year. Alan Harnisch, Donwell's attorney, says his client and the Artist have worked together on "dozens of shows" in the past without any problems, and adds that Donwell intends to file a counterclaim for insufficient payment and has already sued the Artist in federal court for damages of more than $150,000 for not paying a bus-rental fee to another Donwell-owned company. Harnisch associate Larry Gadd says the Artist is to blame for not getting as much money as he wanted, alleging that the performer kept racking up expenses on the tour that Donwell deducted from the guaranteed sum. "He chewed through all his money," says Gadd. "I'm guessing he was unhappy with how much was left and he's blaming my client. What we're going to show is that our guy is owed several hundred thousand dollars for expenses he paid out of his pocket." The Artist's local counsel referred Off Beat to a New York-based publicist, who in turn referred us to the Artist's New York-based lawyer, Londell McMillan, who did not return calls for comment.

Out With the New, In With the New

THE LAST TIME Henrietta Faulconer made herself heard in these Pages, it was to complain--ever so politely--about the events surrounding January's election of Rickie Campbell as the new president of Minneapolis's NAACP chapter ("Black Like Us," March 17). The north Minneapolis retiree was infuriated that scores of new members--numerous white politicians among them--had shown up to oppose then president Leola Seals, who had irritated local officials by taking hard stances on such issues as the 1995 Hollman decree and an NAACP-led school desegregation lawsuit. Not surprisingly, Faulconer's impeccable manners couldn't mask her disgust with a letter she recently received from the branch informing her that the organization was in need of a bunch of new officers. Some openings were the result of resignations, others because winners had never shown up for meetings or to be sworn in. "Where are they now?" Faulconer would like to know. "These are the people who helped demolish the branch." Campbell did not respond to Off Beat's repeated requests for comment, but the chapter's executive committee has been trying to fill the slots and recently tapped someone who's almost certain to be a thorn in the city's side: Longtime civil rights activist Ron Edwards now heads the NAACP's housing committee and will be attending meetings of the Hollman Implementation Committee, led by Minneapolis City Council president Jackie Cherryhomes.

Never Mind

FUNNY, OFF BEAT doesn't recall receiving an invitation to participate in the discussion about the governor's relations with the media at the University of St. Thomas last week. Maybe it got jammed in the fax machine. But wait, we just remembered: Ventura's still talking to us.   At Off Beat our motto is "Staying informed so you don't have to." Call (612) 372-3788 or send an e-mail tooffbeat@citypages.com with any poop that's fit to print.

 
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