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October 14, 2009

Miami Babylon backlash, backstabbing and bitchery

There wasn't an Eames chair to be had last night at Design Within Reach where Miami Babylon author Gerald Posner spoke before a packed house at his Books & Books signing that was peppered with lots of familiar faces. We saw and heard ex mayor /inmate Alex Daoud, who applauded Posner's "courage to write this book," and noticed publicist Tara Solomon, who said nothing, but her presence spoke volumes, especially after the whole Page Six party pooper incident. Also there: current beach mayor Matti Bower, artist Carlos Betancourt, legendary designer and Biba brainchild Barbara Hulanicki, modeling mogul Irene Marie, real estate heavyweights Kevin Tomlinson and Monica Harvey, and, of course, party fixture Merle Weiss.  Missing from the action, however, were a few players, including Michael Capponi and Ingrid Casares, who, incidentally, Posner, told the crowd was his most difficult interview, and who took to Twitter this morning to write the following statement: "Gerald Posner's book... is complete fiction..maybe all those facelifts clouded his memory..pathetic." She also contacted us this morning with an official statement, saying "I've been through this before with authors writing books about me but never once did I do an interview with them. I was referred to [Posner] by my friends Nick D'Annunzio and Tara Solomon. I figured if I told [Posner] my side--a few things, not all of it---I would at least get quoted correctly. From the few things I read, he quotes me saying I had nothing better to do than taking drugs and being a sycophant. Not only would I not describe my disease of addiction that way, I would never describe a friendship with Madonna of 20 years as me being a sycophant. How ridiculous. A person who my son and I spent last weekend in New York with. He is a lame excuse for an author and has [screwed] over a lot of people who worked very hard to make this city what it is today."

To that, Posner, who also quoted yours truly twice in the book,  replied, "The book has 37 pages of source notes. Ingrid should check the source note for the quote about being a sycophant. It's not from her interview with me. It's cited Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture by Frank Owen."

Capponi contacted us last night and said he, too, wanted to give a statement, saying the few parts of the book in which he is mentioned are also false. "Miami Babylon is filled with overwhelming falsities and inaccurate quotes," he says. "It is a shame that I, like many, let this author into my home only for him to misconstrue my words. A perfect example is cited on page 327 where it states I was present at Chris Paciello's bail hearing on the verge of tears, consoling his mother. I never attended any trials or preliminary hearings nor had I spoken to Chris for at least seven years after his arrest." Capponi cites another passage where Posner quotes him as saying, "I decided to be an addict," and refutes it, saying, "Not only is this a complete misquote, but it is extremely offensive to people like me and others who once suffered from the disease of addiction. No one decides to be an addict. I lost many years of my life to this addiction and for the last thirteen years, I have never touched a drug and do not plan to do so again." 

Finally, he also offers some advice to future authors who plan to write a book on our fair city, saying, "I would encourage publishers to do more fact checking . . . I do not feel as if I was personally attacked in this book, but I feel it is my responsibility to stand up for my rights and all of the  other people who Gerald Posner has trashed in this book. I am also standing up for my city. Miami is not a city  built from nothing, as the author said, but is a city built from the sweat, creativity, and vision of a multi ethnic community of which I am very proud to be a part of. It is clear to me that this is just a cheap attempt to make money."

In response, Posner said "[His wife] Trisha and I spent hours and hours with Michael Capponi and he told us in great detail his own story and what he thought about others. It's all on tape. He often said he was telling us things that he had not told any other reporter. If he's upset, I can only imagine that it's either second thoughts about being so frank, or that he's distressed at not being a main character in a book about the Beach." As for Casares's Twitter comments, Posner faces them head on, laughing, "I guess I should take it as a compliment that Ingrid thinks I've had 'facelifts', although she's sure to be disappointed to learn I've never had any. Maybe she lives in a world where cosmetic surgery is the answer for someone looking good for their age. I just call it clean living." Meanwhile, Casares didn't only Tweet her ire, she also dropped Posner as a Facebook friend several months ago, an action which, while some may consider the social equivalent of the fatwa declared on Salman Rushdie, is one the author will hardly lose sleep over.  "It's so bitchy and childish," laughed Mrs. Posner. But even if  Mr. Posner did have trouble sleeping, he could always try counting the number of books sold in the wake of all this hype.