By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
This past April, The Bitch was at a party (of course) where she met a pleasant, nattily dressed human male named Jim Konschnik. Despite the festive atmosphere at D'Vino in Coral Gables, Konschnik seemed quite subdued, and he relayed how difficult it was for him to unplug, even for a bit, from the rigors of his job as associate director of the Center for Positive Connections (TCPC). Running a hand through his neatly slicked-back hair, Konschnik explained it's a rough time for the center, an eleven-year-old nonprofit at 12570 NE Seventh Ave. in North Miami, providing counseling, medical care, and all sorts of other support services to HIV-positive patients and PWAs. He didn't elaborate and The Bitch didn't press, though she came away impressed by Konschnik's aura of compassion and concern.
Then, on July 19, Konschnik sent The Bitch a lengthy e-mail containing a copy of a memo about some alarming developments at the center. The odd missive began, "An unfortunate but necessary decision was made to release Sheri Kaplan from her duties as executive director of the Center for Positive Connections.... It has become very clear that a more complete story must be shared to defend the board's actions and protect the existence of the center itself."
Kaplan, an AIDS-awareness activist, helped found the center and managed its support groups for heterosexuals with HIV. Her position, says Konschnik, was to be eliminated at the end of September anyway, owing to cutbacks in the center's budget; he describes finances in general as "in a state of crisis."
"Since last September, TCPC has experienced major financial difficulty," Konschnik's missive continued. "Sheri repeatedly demonstrated a lack of financial and administrative skills and responsibility necessary to implement the board's decisions and properly manage the organization's contracts and budgetary requirements."
It seems Kaplan, though she'd been offered an emeritus position on the center's board of directors, had no intention of departing quietly. Since her dismissal, Konschnik continued, "retaliatory actions and events have occurred. The communication and Internet wiring on the outside of the building were intentionally cut."
Konschnik says a group counselor and longtime friend of Kaplan's, Elisa Gaudiosi, told him: "I'd fear for my life if I were you."
The memorandum goes on to tell how on Wednesday, July 17, the day of the first support group held without Kaplan, "a group of clients attacked Konschnik and demanded their original client files be given to them on the spot, refusing to leave without them. Each client then presented Jim with a termination of services form. Out of fear for the staff's safety and against federally mandated protocols, original files were provided to the clients."
Konschnik says that as he left the room to get the files, Gaudiosi warned, "I'd watch my back."
"As the clients left the center, cheering, Sheri was already parked outside," Konschnik went on. According to the memo, Kaplan, Gaudiosi, and the now-former clients went to a nearby office to hold their meeting.
The Bitch has never met Kaplan, though not for lack of trying (for weeks) to contact the deposed leader. Eventually Kaplan sent the nosy hound an e-mail message that read, "I am taking a brief hiatus to regroup after the events of the last few months. I will return with a rebuilt immune system. My new business is www.positiveconnectionshealingartscenter.org." (This is a registered but, of course, nonworking URL.)
No response to the alleged financial impropriety, the wire-cutting, and the parking lot stalking?
The Bitch indicated her intent to keep digging.
Then from Kaplan's same e-mail account arrived this Shattered Glass-like note: "Hi, this is Barbara, Sheri's friend. Sheri is currently out of the country.... I'm not sure she will be back.... I guess that's a little late for your deadline!"
Not too late for The Bitch to conclude, though, that there's something damn weird about this whole sad drama. People come to places like TCPC because they're sick, stressed, maybe facing death. They shouldn't be additionally burdened with kooky bickering, something for which Kaplan, Konschnik, and the center's remaining administrators will ultimately bear responsibility.
The acronym MILF entered The Bitch's consciousness over the summer because of her devotion to the Bravo network's The Real Housewives of Orange County. Lauri, parent of three semi-delinquent teens, was described by the son of a friend as a "mother I'd like to fuck."
Leslie Hanson, a mother of four from Homestead, can't remember the first time she heard the term. But she knew from the beginning that she fit the definition.
So when Hanson, who is 39 years old, learned of South Florida radio station 93 Rock's MILF 2 Beauty Contest, she decided to compete. Indeed Hanson placed second in the MILF-off, which was held this past May at a bar in Davie. By her reckoning, that entitled her to the $5000 runner-up prize.
When 93 Rock declined to pay up, Hanson filed suit in Broward Circuit Court against Cox Communications, the station's deep-pocketed megalithic owner; and Sofa Kings, the Davie sports breastaurant that cosponsored the MILF beauty pageant.
Hanson at first was too busy to speak with The Bitch because she had to pick up her kids from school and do other MILF stuff. So she referred the dog to Stacy Lambe, an enthusiastic paralegal who's helming the suit. Lambe eloquently elaborates on the court papers: "These guys were in cahoots and made a whole lot of money and didn't pay off the winners of this contest," she says. "They participated and didn't get the prize money!"
Calling the men who organized the contest "male chauvinist pigs," Lambe also found time to comment about how Hanson performed during the actual competition. "She was beautiful. Oh, you should've seen it. She was so beautiful."
Hanson, speaking finally from a grocery store as she shopped for MILF meals, added, "From the first night I was given the rule sheet, they really didn't abide by it."
"It was an interlocking conspiracy," Lambe adds.
When The Bitch called Sofa Kings for a comment, she was greeted by a message that attempted to use the bar's "clever" name: "The girls are Sofa King hot; the food is Sofa King good." The joke loses whatever subtlety it has when said aloud. The Bitch's voicemail message went unreturned.
Neither Cox nor 93 Rock general manager Mike Disney would discuss the lawsuit, though station marketing director Derrick Pitts made a game attempt at mollification and explanation. "It is a legal matter," Pitts says. "She says that she won, and we feel differently."
Pitts says he can't disclose specifics because of the litigation. He spent a good bit of time on the phone talking about how he couldn't talk about the case.
Finally Pitts revealed the following: "We looked into the original situation and we showed her what we found and explained to her why we found what we found. And the next thing we heard from Mrs. Hanson was that we were being sued. Everything we found we shared with Mrs. Hanson."
The Bitch never deliberately sets out to be a contrarian, but she just can't warm to Ricky Martin. So she brought three diehard fans of the Puerto Rican singer with her to this past Thursday's taping of Martin's MTV Unplugged special at the University of Miami's BankUnited Center. While the croon-resistant canine laid her chin on her paws and mentally cued up a Heaven 17 megamix, the three amigos plus the rest of the crowd of about 150 responded passionately to R.M.'s studliness and vocal ability.
Sporting butt-hugging khaki cargo pants and a navy sleeveless V-neck top, 34-year-old Martin belted out pitch-perfect versions of new tracks and familiar faves for the MTV Latin America show en español, por supuesto including "Maria," "La Bamba," and "Con Tu Nombre."
Having only recently returned to the stage after a four-year break from the business, Martin appeared more mature, very buff, and incredibly charismatic. And during the hour-long special, he convinced the audience, which included Latin superstar Giselle Blondet, that he has not lost his touch or his moves. As The Bitch concentrated furiously on an internal rendition of "Penthouse and Pavement," Martin removed his socks and shoes for an energetic finale and donned a white headband! Gasp! Though they're muy macho, unless used while playing tennis (and even then such accessorizing is questionable), headbands are a no-no. No one else seemed to notice the item in question, though, as the signature pelvic thrusts were set into sequence. Sigh. The show airs Wednesday, November 1, on MTV Tr3 and MTV Latino.
Maybe Paris Hilton is possessed by the spirit of Andy Kaufman. Though she was born a few years before the comic genius's untimely death in 1984, the pop monopolist seemed to be channeling Kaufman's self-satisfied, mirthful blankness this past week when she launched her self-titled debut album at a round of South Beach parties. Barely bothering to mouth the lyrics to "Stars Are Blind," answering reporters' questions with Warholian monosyllables ("Miami is nice." "The clubs here are hot."), unruffledly autographing a photo of a small fox-color dog with the inscription "To Firecrotch," she was a model of low affect.
Paris's blurred edges were sharply contrasted by those of her sister, Nicky Hilton, who threw a bash this past Thursday at Restaurant 8 1/2 for the opening of her hotel-condo, Nicky O, both in the old Clinton Hotel at 821 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Seated at a table with perpetual Hilton-hanger-on/stoner/producer Scott Storch, Nicky was brittle and hyper-alert.
When Storch grabbed her wrist, imploring her to sit down and enjoy a raspberry mojito, N.H. slapped his hand away, hissing, "This is my hotel. I have to work."
Dressed in the season's mandatory yet unflattering dark denim stovepipes, she tossed blond ringlets that wilted in the heat. Hilton worked a crowd of prospective investors with precision if not much warmth. The Bitch almost felt bad for her, and instead of asking about the building, inquired about the Hilton sisters' other steadfast Florida companion, publicist Brian Long.
Making dedicated eye contact for the first time, Nicky enthused, "I've known Brian a long time, and I feel like I've known him my whole life. He's very protective, like a brother."
Hmm. A brother. Interesting. Well, I saw you last night ...
"Where did you see me? What was I doing? How could you have seen me?" Nicky interrupted.
... onDeco Drive, The Bitch finished.
"Oh. That was at a party for Paris, at Mansion...." Nicky's voice trailed off. The Bitch decided she'd better get back to the script this particular event seemed to call for, and the rest of the conversation purred along about interior design and Nicky's lifelong dedication to the hotel industry.
The raspberry mojitos at 8 1/2, along with the food, are pretty good, though.