The theme for our Tiger Woods coverage continues to be that behind every scandal, there are lawyers doing clean-up.
When Los Angeles attorney and notorious media-hound Gloria Allred cancelled a press conference that was to be attended by her client and alleged Woods lady friend, Rachel Uchitel, the speculation was that some sort of deal had been reached.
The deal was not done, but is in negotiations and could be worth as much as $5 million, Gerald Posner said today in the The Daily Beast. The high price is reportedly due to evidence of communications between Tiger and Uchitel and a the possibility Uchitel would reveal information about a phone argument she had with Woods’s wife. The payments, Posner said, would be made over an extended period of time to prevent Uchitel from taking the money and running.
(This is always the problem with hush money — of course the contract would require Uchitel keep quiet, but if she breached by talking, Woods’s recourse would be to sue…and air all the unseemly facts in a public court.)
Posner’s report highlights the legal team that is acting — and has acted before — as crisis managers for his personal indiscretions. (It also includes a timeline of the National Enquirer’s tracking of Woods; the full article is here.)
According to Posner, Los Angeles law firm Lavely & Singer is handling the Uchitel negotiations; they also brokered a deal to keep “grainy photos” of Woods’s 2007 parking lot meet-up with a local waitress out of the National Enquirer.
So at least since 2007, some of Tiger’s representatives knew that these sorts of PR problems could crop up, and if you are one of the sponsors currently “reevaluating” your business agreements with him, who knew what and when is an answer you are very interested in having. (“Most key advisors were apparently almost as much in the dark as Elin Woods about the extent of his affairs, and feel that the people who did know that a story might break about Tiger’s personal life misjudged its seriousness,” Posner wrote.)
At some point last month, the Enquirer called Uchitel to tell her that it knew of her affair with Woods, the article said. Shortly thereafter, they called Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg who sent them straight to Lavely.
Lavely said it would talk to Woods; an attorney at Lavely soon told the Enquirer that the story was not true. Posner said Woods, Steinberg and the Lavely attorneys had no idea of all the evidence the Enquirer had, which included Uchitel’s flight to meet Woods in Australia. They did not think the Enquirer would be running a story, but they were wrong.
And a scandal — now involving settlement negotiations and revisiting of contractual endorsement deals — was born.
Read Posner’s full story in The Daily Beast here.
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