Last week Pando published the first in a series of stories by David Sirota examining proposed contracts for the handling of New Jersey public pension funds. As we reported at the time, one of the firms mentioned in the series— Chatham Asset Management — threatened to sue Sirota, and Pando, over our investigation, even before we had published our story mentioning them.
The company also tried to undercut our reporting on them by leaking the details to Fortune’s Dan Primack ahead of publication. More bizarre still, on Tuesday morning, an article appeared in the National Enquirer, attacking Sirota personally, and attempting to portray him as “looney” and “unhinged”.
Bluntly put: things got ugly quickly.
Yesterday afternoon, they got uglier still. A lawyer acting for Chatham and the firm’s principal, Anthony Melchiorre, sent us a seven-page legal threat, demanding that we delete all of our coverage of Chatham and Melchiorre or face a “multimillion dollar liability.”
Curiously, Chatham and Melchiorre are represented by Marty Singer, an entertainment lawyer who has previously represented celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean Claude Van Damme. An LA Magazine article, republished on Singer’s own website, explains how Singer’s “ability to make prying journalists back off” earned him the nickname “Mad Dog.”
In accordance with Pando’s policy of publishing all legal threats we receive, we have embedded Singer’s entire letter to Pando and Sirota below. As befits an entertainment lawyer, it makes for highly entertaining reading. What it doesn’t appear to do is dispute the basis facts in Pando’s reporting.
Our attorney will respond to Singer soon. Needless to say, we stand by our reporting. Pando’s investigation into Governor Chris Christie’s use of New Jersey public pension money continues.
[Marty Singer photo credit: Getty]