NEW YORK — A former contributor to the New York Post's Page Six gossip column who was accused of trying to shake down a billionaire in exchange for good press has signed a book contract.
For more than a decade, gossip columnist Jared Paul Stern "played a major part at the world's most powerful gossip column," said Mark Gompertz, executive vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster's Touchstone Fireside imprint.
Consequently, Stern is "perfectly suited" to provide "an entertaining, behind-the-scenes expose on that world while getting at the heart of the culture of celebrity."
The book, which is tentatively titled "Stern Measures," is scheduled for publication in fall 2007.
Stern is under federal investigation into whether he tried to extort money from Ron Burkle, the California billionaire who has given millions of dollars to political causes and is known for his investments in supermarkets.
Burkle claims that Stern demanded $100,000 and a $10,000 monthly stipend to make negative stories about him stop.
Stern has denied the allegations and has not been charged.