- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2006

‘You’re sued’

Real estate mogul and TV star Donald Trump says he’s suing the author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald” and its publisher, Warner Books, for what he calls defamatory statements.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr. Trump said the suit, filed in state court in New Jersey, seeks $5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages from Warner and author Timothy O’Brien, a reporter for the New York Times. Mr. Trump, the author of five books, concluded his statement by saying Mr. O’Brien’s book is “terribly written.”

The lawsuit claims that Mr. O’Brien and Warner Books knowingly made false and malicious statements about Mr. Trump, his family, his personal life and his business dealings, including statements misrepresenting Mr. Trump’s net worth, Reuters news agency reports.

The lawsuit seeks $2.5 billion in compensatory damages and $2.5 billion in punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for Warner Books was not immediately available. A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment.

Monkey business

“Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” the first album by Arctic Monkeys — a British teenage rock band that built its fan base on the Internet — probably sold more than 100,000 copies on its initial day of release and could set a first-week sales record for a debut British album, retailer HMV Group Plc says.

HMV projected that the album would sell 60,000 Monday, its first day of release. However, it ended up selling “well in excess of 100,000 copies,” HMV said yesterday in an e-mail. The number is a U.K.-wide projection based on HMV’s own sales, said Gennaro Castaldo, an HMV spokesman.

Sales could total “well over” 350,000 by the end of the week if the first-day rate is sustained, HMV estimates. That would topple the first-week U.K. sales record of 306,631 for a debut album, set in March 2001 by “Popstars,” an album by the band Hear’Say that stemmed from a television talent-search show. The overall first-week U.K. sales record is held by “Be Here Now” by Oasis, which sold 655,000 in its first week of release in August 1997, HMV said.

According to Bloomberg.com, the Arctic Monkeys’ sales numbers reflect the importance of the Internet in building a buzz for new bands. The quartet from Sheffield attracted a following through Internet community sites aimed at teenagers, and the group allowed fans to download free tracks from its own Web site en route to a top chart spot for its debut single, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”

Belle of the ball

An Austrian playboy who keeps the Viennese in suspense each winter over his date to that city’s famous Opera Ball says he’s taking former “Baywatch” star Carmen Electra. Vienna businessman Richard Lugner yesterday confirmed that Miss Electra — wife of former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro — will be his guest to the Feb. 23 ball, the most prestigious event on Vienna’s social calendar, reports Associated Press.

Mr. Lugner’s past dates have included another ex-“Baywatch” star, Pamela Anderson, actress Andie MacDowell, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, singer-actress-model Grace Jones and the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

For art’s sake

A Paris court has convicted a 77-year-old Frenchman for attacking artist Marcel Duchamp’s famed porcelain urinal with a hammer, rejecting the defendant’s contention that he had increased the value of the artwork by making it an “original,” AP reports.

The court yesterday gave Pierre Pinoncelli a three-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to pay a $245,490 fine. He also was ordered to pay $17,616 to repair “Fountain,” a work worth millions of dollars that was chipped in the Jan. 4 hammer attack at the Pompidou Center. The work was part of an exhibit of the early 20th century’s avant-garde dada movement. The Pompidou Center had sought more than $523,930 for the damage.

Mr. Duchamp, who died in 1968, emphasized the creative process and a role for the spectator. His works will be featured in “Dada,” an upcoming exhibition at the National Gallery of Art Feb. 19 through May 14.

The work has an estimated value of $3.4 million, said Marie Delion, a lawyer for the Pompidou Center. The original was lost, but in 1964 Mr. Duchamp created eight other versions of the work.

The January urinal attack was not the first for Pinoncelli. He urinated on the piece during a 1993 exhibition in Nimes, France.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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