F. Scott Fitzgerald certainly laid it out best about the rich: they are different from you and me.
The Palm Beach society battle between the heirs of the National Enquirerfortune has shifted into high-gear again. As well told you earlier this month, Paul Pope and his mother Lois have been playing out an odd legal joust for the last 20 years. At stake is the controlling chunk of the $415 million payout from the 1989 sale of the tabloid. Depending on who's telling the tale, in one corner you have a harassed old lady or a wasteful socialite; in the other, a son concerned about his family legacy or a conniving party boy. The latter's slash-and-burn PR campaign against his mother put him in handcuffs last week on charges of stalking.
According to the probable cause affidavit (posted online by Gossip Extra), the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office began digging into the stalking allegations in late March. Investigators sat down with Lois Pope's attorneys and friends and acquaintances, all who spelled out a similar scenario argued in an earlier court hearing -- that Pope was attempting to extort money from his mother by smearing her reputation.
"From February 2012 through April 30, 2013, Paul has continuously sent emails to numerous family members, organizations and board members referencing materials from the Pope Media Center," the police report reads. "Paul conducted two separate interviews with Good Morning America and Nightline in which he speaks about the family secrets, his mother misusing funds for personal benefits and allegations of tax evasion."
The report notes Pope also shipped off his binders of information to the "University of Miami, Veterans Foundation Board, Leaders in Further Education, American Humane Society, the wife of the General Manager of Boca West County Club, the Tri-County Humane Society, media, friends and family."
The police interviewed a number of people who were also received the information. The mailing campaign also caused Lois Pope a significant amount of grief; according to the report, she's now surrounded herself with around-the-clock security (a somewhat ironic turn of events, seeing how Pope upgraded his own security detail to 24-hour shifts this spring due to concerns over his mother's intentions). Lois told police she's worried her gun-aficionado son might be planning to shoot her down.
Throughout the squabble, Pope has claimed he meant his mother no physical harm, and was only interested in hauling the family secrets into the open. But the fact pattern and the fallout anxiety was enough for police to issue an arrest warrant for stalking "as a result of his actions of communicating willfully, maliciously, cyber-stalking and repeatedly harassing his biological mother."
Again, the irony is thick here: Pope was picked up by police on the day before Mother's Day at a Cocoa Beach motel. He spent the holiday in custody, and was only released after an arraignment last Wednesday. We'll update with the developments.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.