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Level One’s Bill Todman Jr, Edward Milstein To Make Film About Wine Fraud Who Sold Bogus Bottles To Milstein

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 4:23pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Level One’s Bill Todman Jr and Edward Milstein have teamed to option A Vintage Crime, a Vanity article by Michael Steinberger about Rudy Karniawan. A shadowy figure who zoomed to the center of the rare collectible wine game, he is suspected of perpetrating what might be the largest known wine fraud in history. They will look for a writer quickly.

The article focuses on the curious ascension of Karniawan, a 31-year old collector from Indonesia who, from his perch in Los Angeles, began buying and selling large quantities of rare Burgundy wines in 2003 and soon became the world’s most prodigious wine collector. Vague about his origins and armed with an impeccable knowledge of wine and a discerning palate, Karniawan helped drive up the prices of rare grape, and then sold $35 million worth of wines in two auctions. Many of them turned out to be counterfeits. Karniawan, who spent big bucks to build his credibility among wine aficionados, had an arrangement with with the restaurants that hosted his wine-tasting parties, one that should have set off alarm bells. He ordered them to return his empty bottles, which he would refill with old but inferior wines he bought in bulk. He’d blend his own mixture and auction them as rare valuable fakes. He was done in by winemaker Laurent Ponsot, who discovered Karniawan was selling bottles of his family’s wines dated in years that the family wasn’t bottling … Read More »

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Mike Sitrick, Shame On You…

By | Thursday July 12, 2007 @ 5:31pm PDT

sitrick.jpgI’ve known Mike Sitrick for a long time. He’s a PR maven who prides himself on being a family man. Which is why he should be filled with self-loathing for allowing his firm to promote a torture porn pic like Captivity, much less an even more disgusting premiere party whose selling point was its political incorrectness. (Let me make it perfectly clear: I support talent’s right to make the movie, just not business people profiting from it.) Sure, I received all those inane emails announcing the bash, and I did the right thing: I trashed them. Other journalists fell all over themselves covering the event so as to diss it: really, they’re lemmings hurling themselves off the cliff. There is only one way to stop the business of these torture porn movies: by shaming the people who receive money for releasing them, publicizing them, having anything to do with them. So, Mike, how could you? (And how could you, After Dark’s  Courtney Solomon and Allan Zeman?) Take that Captivity money and donate it to charity and pledge publicly right now you’ll never get involved with torture porn pics again. Until Mike does, I urge Hollywood and other companies to shun Sitrick and Company because there is such a thing as guilt by association.

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