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Editor, Interrupted

Hollywood lobbyist Alan Koslow had Gazette editor Meredith Brown Baker-Acted.
Melissa Jones

It has all the elements of a morality play — adultery, love, betrayal, and, finally, breakdown — and right now, it looks like the final act may take place in the Broward County Courthouse.

The protagonists in the tale are two well-known players in the City of Hollywood: Alan Koslow, an influential and controversial city lobbyist, and Meredith Brown, managing editor of the Hollywood Gazette.

The 35-year-old Brown says she had a longtime love affair with 52-year-old Koslow, a married father of three. After the lobbyist abruptly terminated the relationship to remain with his wife, Brown tried to get him back.

What happened next is in dispute. What is known is that Koslow, who is no stranger to sex scandal, filed a restraining order against the Gazette editor, had her committed to a mental facility, and ultimately had her arrested on a felony charge of aggravated stalking.

But Brown, whose family owns the monthly newspaper and who reluctantly commented on her case after I contacted her, claims she's the real victim — of Koslow, whom she now calls "a predator."

It's the latest chapter in the incestuous world of Hollywood politics and the dubious reign of Koslow, the city's most powerful lobbyist and close confidante of Mayor Mara Giulianti.

Brown, who is single, says her romantic relationship with Koslow ended after his wife found out about his infidelities and gave the lobbyist an ultimatum. He chose his wife.

At the time, she says, she had given up her apartment and was living in a hotel because Koslow had promised her that they would move in together. She admits that she tried to get Koslow back and to make him take responsibility for what he'd done, but she says she didn't deserve to be charged with a crime and believes the lobbyist exercised some of his considerable clout in the city to affect her arrest.

"I got burned bad by someone I trusted and loved deeply," says the dark-haired Brown, whose newspaper receives substantial advertising revenue from the city and that she freely admits is "pro-Hollywood."

"I think a lot of what happened to me was unwarranted and severe despite some very inappropriate reactions I had to what was done to me. I'm trying to get past it; it was a very tough summer and a very tough ordeal."

Koslow didn't respond to numerous requests for comment left at his home and office. His wife, Sharon, also filed an injunction for protection against Brown, claiming that the editor had harassed her at the Koslow home in Hollywood and threatened to kill her and her daughter.

When reached at a phone number she provided in court records, Sharon Koslow said only, "I don't have a comment, and you have a lot of nerve calling me."

Brown says she and Koslow met at various city functions that both habitually attended and first became friends several years ago. Koslow, after all, was the ultimate source for her Chamber of Commerce brand of journalism. She says their relationship became romantic in December 2004, while he was having a "rough spot" in his marriage.

"He was brilliant and charismatic," she says. "We gravitated to each other because we both have these larger-than-life personalities."

For months, the relationship wasn't serious, but she says that she eventually fell in love with Koslow and thought he felt the same for her. She says he promised to leave his wife and move in with her, prompting her to give up her apartment.

About the beginning of June, she was staying in a hotel and waiting for Koslow to come take her to dinner. She says they also planned to look at condos. Then came the phone call.

"He was in his office with Sharon, and he said, 'I'm going back to my family,'" Brown says. "I remember that I said, 'You're kidding, right?' It was surreal, like I was put in another dimension."

What ensued, Brown admits, was a lot of "pleading." Koslow, apparently hoping to convince her the relationship was over, arranged for a clandestine meeting with Brown on a boat on the Intracoastal Waterway.

And that was the day, June 8, when she jumped ship.

The meeting, which was attended by two mutual friends and a deck hand, was marked by a near breakdown by Brown. She had several drinks and began sobbing, pleading for him to come back to her.

"I lost my composure, and I was pleading for some answers and some clarity," she explains. "I was asking him questions. 'Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do?' I was pathetically begging for answers and hoping to change his mind."

At one point, she threw her keys off the boat and jumped into the dark water.

"I was looking for my man to rescue me," she says. "It was a very drama-queen kind of move. It was something I would rethink if I had the chance. Who knew it would become a court-documented incident?"

She was pulled out of the water unscathed. Koslow would later write in court records that when Brown jumped off the boat, "she threatened to destroy me by saying I forced her to do it."

The following day, Koslow called the Hollywood Police Department. Then he arranged another meeting with Brown, this time at the Gazette office. Instead of the lobbyist, though, police showed up in his place. Under the state's Baker Act, they ruled that Brown was a danger to herself and admitted her to the psychiatric ward at Memorial Regional Hospital.

She was kept in the hospital from Friday night to early Sunday morning. Brown didn't want to talk about her time in the hospital.

Koslow and his wife would later allege that Brown managed to call his home from the hospital and that, after she was released, she came banging on their door at 6 a.m. and threatened to kill them.

In a June 20 request for a restraining order, the lobbyist claimed that Brown, over the course of a few days, "attacked" his Mercedes in the parking lot of Hollywood City Hall and confronted him in his office parking lot on Stirling Road, where she punched and pushed him.

He further alleged that at one point, "she drove me against my will for over an hour and threatened to 'kill both me and herself' if I didn't come back to her."

Koslow also claimed that Brown threatened secretaries in his office and barged into his business meetings "screaming and cursing and threatening to hurt me and others."

On June 26, the restraining order was granted, forbidding Brown from having any physical contact with Koslow or his family. Koslow then complained to police that Brown had e-mailed and phoned him, prompting police to arrest her on the felony stalking charge on July 17.

Brown spent a night in jail before she was released.

"It was the worst night of my life," she says. "I'm not a criminal; I'm not that kind of criminal. I never hurt anyone, and I never threatened anyone. All I kept thinking was 'My boyfriend dumped me and had me thrown in jail. '"

She insists that Koslow and his wife are not telling the truth, that she never threatened anyone, and that Koslow instigated the communication that led to her trip to jail. "I made no threats," she says. "I made pleas, like 'How can you do this to me?' and 'How can you turn your back on me?'"

Interestingly, the lobbyist appears to have had a change of heart since getting her arrested: Koslow wrote a letter to the State Attorney's Office asking that the charges be dropped, says Brown's attorney, Adam Hodkin.

"The only thing she did wrong was get involved with the wrong guy," Hodkin says. "The allegations are absurd, and we are going to prove they are absurd if the case is not dropped."

This is only the latest imbroglio in the public book on Koslow, whose tenure as Hollywood city attorney ended in scandal in 1993. He was fired after it was learned that he had negotiated a $50,000 settlement between the city and a former Hollywood employee.

What he failed to mention at the time he negotiated the deal was that he was having an affair with the employee for whom he negotiated the payout. That led to his firing from the city, but his marriage survived.

Koslow also managed to stick around City Hall after he landed a job at the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, which does a great deal of municipal lobbying. The firm already had a $50,000-a-year contract to lobby for Hollywood, and soon Koslow, using his many contacts in the halls of government, began representing developers and other clients before the City Commission.

His apparent conflicts of interest have been oft-criticized in the press, but it hasn't slowed Koslow. With a powerful ally in Mayor Giulianti, who supports him at seemingly every turn, he continued to amass an impressive client list of developers for whom he negotiated multimillion-dollar incentives — basically guaranteed profits — for building in Hollywood. With Koslow's high profile and the public nature of Brown's job, it's no wonder there were rumors swirling about their relationship. But police put out no news release after the newspaper editor was arrested.

And the question persists: Would Brown have been charged with a felony punishable by up to five years in prison had her alleged victim been someone with less power than Koslow?

The speed with which police both Baker-Acted Brown and arrested her would certainly seem to indicate that Koslow's clout played a factor. But police officials are mum on the case. The department, which is usually diligent about returning media phone calls, never responded to interview requests about the Brown arrest.

Brown now says she's considering filing a civil suit against Koslow for damages. She also claims that Koslow has contacted her recently and that the relationship "still isn't resolved."

"It was all just his way of getting rid of the problem rather than him being accountable to what was happening," she says. "He didn't want to accept his role."


Update: Meredith Brown and Alan Koslow are now back together as a couple. Koslow, who is now seperated from his wife, vacated the restraining order, and charges against Brown were dropped by the State Attorney's Office.


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