Press can't get enough Lizzie

NEW YORK: Cell phones, beepers, and BlackBerries were in overdrive

last week as Manhattan media folks wondered whether PR maven Lizzie

Grubman could be headed to jail.



The 30-year-old founder of Lizzie Grubman/Peggy Siegal PR is accused of

screaming obscenities before purposely reversing her father's Mercedes

SUV into a crowd of people outside Hamptons nightclub the Conscience

Point Inn on July 7.



Grubman, who posted a $25,000 bond, claims the incident was

accidental, but already she's been slapped with a $30 million

lawsuit (with more expected).



By midweek, research firm CARMA International counted at least 50 press

stories about the incident as far away as England and Canada.



Crisis PR expert Howard Rubenstein was hired Sunday to handle the huge

number of calls. Ironically, Rubenstein also represents the New York

Post, which has given the story front-page - and critical - treatment

four days running.



Grubman has refused to speak directly to the media, except for a short

statement on Monday night to disperse media crowded outside her Upper

East Side apartment.



Rubenstein said, "I spoke to her, and she wanted to say she regretted

what happened, and I told her to go and say that."



However former New York Post editor Lou Colasuonno said he never would

have advised an emotional Grubman to make that statement. Colasuonno,

partner at Westhill Media Strategies, said, "For me, that was an

absolute no-no. To make specific comments could jeopardize the legal

case."



Grubman is expected back at work this week. But one celebrity publicist

wondered how events might affect the business, which has revenues in the

region of $1.5 million. "Lizzie's business is events. How can she

do the job if she's going to be keeping a low profile?"



The issue has put PR under the world's spotlight, and has elicited

feelings of schadenfreude from an insatiable media. Louise Cassano,

president of the PR Professionals of Long Island, made the issue the

main topic at a board meeting Tuesday when she said, "Lizzie is not

representative of the profession or the hardworking and ethical

individuals who get there on their own."



A senior PR chief who represents numerous A-list celebrities added, "I

think it does hurt the profession. Describing her as a leader in the

field is not accurate."



- See Editorial, p. 6.



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