Undercurrents

Sex and the Sun-Sentinel Co.: While the paper may lack passion in its pages, there's more scandal on the staff. At City Link, Managing Editor Stuart Purdy, after writing a column about "another hell-raising year" inside "the City Link free-fire zone," was himself fired last week.

The apparent reason, according to Sun-Sentinel gossips, is that Purdy downloaded from the Internet what some considered sexually explicit material -- then reportedly called over office staffers to look at it.

What makes this dumb even by newspaper editor standards is that Purdy got his chance to run things because City Link Publisher Stephen Wissink was forced out in October over sexual harassment allegations. After the Wissink embarrassment, Sun-Sentinel Publisher Robert Gremillion issued a memo reemphasizing the company's "zero tolerance" policy toward sexual harassment, including the display or circulation of "sexual" material.

Of his departure Purdy would say only, "I'm no longer working for the Sun-Sentinel."

When the paper's spokesperson, Rich Pollack, was asked about the sexual-material rumors, he replied, "they're not totally false," then called later with an official statement: "This was a result of a disagreement over judgment issues that were operational in nature."

The Purdy ouster comes against a backdrop of turmoil over City Link leadership. Since Wissink's removal the paper has been without a permanent publisher/editor, and while Purdy, with some agitation, let it be known that he wanted the top job, he was considered an unlikely choice.

The fall guy in all this may be corporate director of development Howard Greenberg, who serves as City Link's acting publisher. Greenberg was in charge during the wild, weird reign of Wissink and also was responsible for the Spanish-language weekly Exito!, which folded in November with losses rumored to be two million dollars. The Purdy problem could be Greenberg's strike three.

It also didn't help that Purdy's Internet adventures surfaced about a week after the Sun-Sentinel fired a veteran photographer for sexually harassing a sixteen-year-old intern to the point that her mother complained.

Inside the Sun-Sentinel they may be dull, but they're sure not subtle.

In a political fashion-statement, Broward County Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger, often on the liberal, proreform -- and losing -- side of various commission debates, revealed last week whose side she's really on.

At a charity ball for the AIDS agency Center One, guests reported, Gunzburger wore a floor-length, semielegant black gown adorned with, on her back... small gold lame ANGEL WINGS.

The wings sprouted from a gold backpack, which no doubt contained spiritual offerings of uplift and inspiration (the memos of Ilene Lieberman, the speeches of John Rodstrom). As with most politicians, Gunzburger's angel wings came off when she started to dance, but not before observers conjured up this heavenly vision: What a couple they would have made if Scott Cowan had only appeared in white tie and devil's tail.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbroward.com.

 
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