Kuntzman Responds to BHB…On Gothamist

My name is Homer Fink and I wear the Scarlet Letter of being a BLOGGER. Or so says Gersh Kuntzman, Editor-in-Chief of the Brooklyn Paper and my special friend, on Gothamist today.  Responding to our story last week about what we knew and when we knew it about the Busted Chef caper and how we shared info with the Brooklyn Paper that it chose not to print,  Kuntzman tells Gothamist:

“We did look into these allegations; there was a widely sent email when Busy Chef first opened and we pursued it. But there were no formal complaints filed in Boston or Vermont and no one was willing to speak to us on the record. I am a fan of Homer’s blog but his standard of what he can publish is a little lower; we can’t just print rumors. And his suggestion that our coverage was based on advertising is absolutely erroneous.”

And for the record, we also shared our findings with the proper authorities.  We do not know if our input contributed to the events that led up to Kaufman’s arrest.

Here’s my response posted to Gothamist today, it has yet to clear moderation:

Let me say this about that, first from the Brooklyn Paper itself:

This isn’t the first time a Kaufman business has had trouble, according to court papers. In either late 2006 or 2007, Kaufman set up a trendy wine bar in South Boston, where he did not pay more than $40,000 rent, according to a landlord who sued Kaufman to recoup those losses.  “We’ve never gotten a dime out of him. We got possession of the premises but that’s it,” the landlord’s lawyer, James Rudser, told The Brooklyn Paper. “He never puts anything in his name, he knows what he’s doing in terms of the scamming.”

At the time of our convo (which Gersh represents accurately as well as his ultimate reason for not publishing) – there was a pending suit in Suffolk County Mass. against Kaufman to which  the above paragraph refers. It’s public record, go ahead look it up.

As for a blog’s standards being lower than a newspaper’s I submit to you:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/29/39/29_39gyllenhaal.html

and this….
http://youtube.com/watch?v=N8CjyH8zB_g

but who could forget the NAZIS ARE BEHIND ATLANTIC YARDS story -
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30/3/30_03blood_money.html

Yes, we bloggers live in the gutter. Those newspaper guys are so classy.

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  • anon

    I have submitted story tips to the Brooklyn Paper, which have either been ignored or under review for long periods of time with no further story or acknowledgement. Given the large number of downtown Brooklyn stories in real newspapers and blogs, it is frankly amazing as to how little they cover in their pages. There is no excuse for such willful ignorance. If only they would spend less time glorifying Gersh, his awards and his physical maladies perhaps they might have more room and time to include real stories of interest.

  • Victor McPheeny

    Does anyone know about the partner, Alan Young?

  • Rabblerouser

    or, this:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/sections/perspective/smartmom/

    Remember, Gersh [of the unfortunate last name, did he marry someone named Dickman?] used to work for the Evil Empire …
    The New York Post!

    God help us all, and God bless the United States of America.

  • http://www.brooklynpaper.com Gersh Kuntzman

    Homer:

    You misinterpreted what I meant by lower standard. I did not mean “worse” or “less important” or “less valuable.” I merely meant that we can not print rumor or allegation without spend a lot of time checking out its validity. You clearly have printed some rumors in the Busy Chef coverage — which is entirely fine by me — but I do believe you could face a liable suit if some of the stuff turns out not to be true.

    I never put your blog in any gutter, as you suggest. Please don’t misinterpret what I meant.

    GERSH KUNTZMAN
    Editor
    The Brooklyn Paper

  • steve

    Um, shouldn’t a newspaper editor know how to spell LIBEL?

  • Homer Fink

    Gersh – Thanks for the response. I don’t mind the gutter, but glad that we’re out of it!

  • http://BrooklynPaper.com Ed Weintrob

    Homer,

    I enjoy reading your blog and found the links in monday’s post quite funny. I also appreciate your early and sustained interest in the Busy Chef story.

    While some of Monday’s links illustrate my newspaper’s sense of humor (or at least its attempt at one), we try to approach such things as criminal allegations with some seriousness.

    Disgruntled creditors or employees of Dan Kaufman’s former businesses might have had complaints against him or his businesses — one or more might even have filed legal papers against him — but what’s to be done with that information? Unresolved allegations of criminal or civil misfeasance can mean something or nothing.

    Barring information (buttressed by police action) of fraud of the sort allegedly perpetrated here — directed at his customers — why would his previous business failure(s) rise to a priority for news coverage?

    Dozens of businesses open in our neighborhoods every month (also, quite a few fail and close, many leaving unpaid bills for rent and more); should each new business be vetted based on its owner’s past and, if so, on what standard?

    Ed Weintrob
    Publisher
    The Brooklyn Paper

  • Homer Fink

    Well said, Ed. As I mentioned at the end of the original post I have nothing but respect for you and Gersh and trust in the judgments you ultimately made. My point about B’Paper – which has totally been lost in the hullabaloo – was that the “Chef’s” ability to create so much confusion, doubt and misdirection set the stage to make the implausible… plausible.

  • Made In Brooklyn

    Homer may be laying in the gutter, but he’s looking up at the stars.

  • http://www.brooklynpaper.com Gersh Kuntzman

    My misspelling of libel was mostly due to the time of day when I posted. I am liable to do that late at night. Regrets for the typo.

    GERSH

  • Jazz