Anthony Pellicano: Wiretapper to the Stars
"It Was Like a Bomb Exploded"
Former talent manager and current chairman of Paramount Pictures Brad Grey is mentioned in the Pellicano indictments with regard to wiretapping and background checks of individuals involved in litigation with Grey. For his part, Grey maintains that Pellicano was merely a casual acquaintance and that he never used Pellicano's services. But a former Pellicano employee told Vanity Fair that Grey and her boss spoke on the phone "at least once a day, every day." Grey's attorney, Bert Fields, was alleged to have routinely used Pellicano's services on behalf of his clients.
In 1998, comedian Garry Shandling sued Grey, who had been his manager, for $100 million, contending that Grey had swindled him out of profits from the hit HBO comedy The Larry Sanders Show. Shandling's lawyers accused Grey of "triple-dipping," taking a 10% manager's fee on Shandling's earnings, $45,000 per episode, and 50% of the show's eventual profits, according to the New York Times. Pellicano's indictment charges that the private eye ran unauthorized background checks on Shandling; his girlfriend at the time, Linda Doucett; his business manager, Warren Grant; his personal assistant, Mariana Grant; his friend, comedian Kevin Nealon, who was also managed by Brad Grey's company; Nealon's wife; and another friend, Gavin de Becker, the well-known security consultant. De Becker had warned Shandling that Pellicano would use extra-legal means to give Bert Fields a tactical advantage in negotiations, including tapping Shandling's phones and stealing his garbage to look for anything that could be used against him. In July 1999, Shandling and Grey settled their dispute, and Grey agreed to pay Shandling $10 million. When the FBI raided Pellicano's office and found his files on Shandling, the extent of the private detective's illegal snooping was finally exposed.
In another instance, Grey allegedly hired Pellicano to investigate a screenwriter, Vincent 'Bo' Zenga, who was suing Grey for a share of the profits earned by the film Scary Movie. Zenga claimed that he had made an oral agreement with Grey's company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, to co-produce Scary Movie, which became a hit in 2000. Grey contended that there was no such oral agreement, that Zenga had inflated his credentials, and that Zenga had agreed in writing to take a smaller share of the profits. Both men were forced to endure hardball depositions from opposing attorneys in which they conceded damaging information about themselves. After Grey's three-day deposition in early February 2000, Pellicano ordered background searches on Zenga and his brother. According to the New York Times, Pellicano produced transcripts of recordings of Zenga's telephone conversations starting on February 14.
In a conversation between Zenga and his attorney, Gregory S. Dovel, Pellicano overheard Zenga criticizing his partner, Stacy Codikow. Grey's attorneys were able to exploit this rift between the partners, causing Codikow to reverse part of her previous testimony. Zenga's lawyers feel that this lost the case for them.
"When Pellicano came in," Dovel told the New York Times, "it was like a bomb exploded. It was like they had access to everything... If they could take Stacy Codikow, a friend of Bo's, and the next thing you know, she's openly lying — what else is he going to be able to accomplish?"