New York's Finest

Fabrication and Cannibalism at the Post?

"Stories that tell uncomfortable truths make some of the subjects of those stories angry," says Jeffreys, "and sometimes it's a measure of the success of the story that it pisses some people off." Note to Jeffreys: Mission accomplished.

The Rip-Off Artist

Freelance writer Hariette Surovell has a beef with the New York Post too. She says Post reporter Niles Lathem ripped off a story she spent four years reporting, on the "queenpins" of the drug trade.

Surovell, a seasoned investigative reporter, says she first sold her story to Kurt Andersen in 1996, back when he was editor of New York. It was killed after he left, subsequently bought and killed by Penthouse, and finally published this past April by Exquisite Corpse (www.corpse.org), whereupon Matt Drudge linked to it with her permission. The story can be read at Surovell's Web site, www.matahariette.com.

Lathem's story ran in the Post on June 8, with the cover line "Queenpins: The women who run the cocaine business". Just as Surovell had done, Lathem recounted juicy details about queenpins Daisy Zea, Maria Jimenez, Mery Valencia, and Griselda Blanco, including Surovell's references to one woman's "little-girl routine" and another's "bisexual orgies." Nowhere is Surovell credited—although a source who appears in both stories, Miami detective Al Singleton, says Lathem said he'd seen the earlier story.

So is the Post one big recycling unit? Lathem and Post editor Xana Antunes did not return repeated calls for comment.

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