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Wednesday, Feb 5 1997
Confidentially Yours
The sexual harassment suit filed against C. David Burgin, the former executive editor of the Alameda Newspaper Group (whose holdings include the Oakland Tribune), concluded last month with a whimper, but no public resolution. The plaintiff, former Trib editor Christine Lavin, dropped her allegations and agreed never to raise them in a court of law again.

Lavin filed the suit last year after Burgin, her one-time mentor, forced her from the Trib newsroom when she started dating Oakland City Councilman John Russo. She charged Burgin with inappropriate behavior.

A settlement was reached, says Burgin's attorney, Nancy Pritikin, but the terms are secret. "Needless to say, we are very pleased," Pritikin says. "The case is over." Burgin did not respond to a message.

Like Burgin, Lavin is unable to comment because of a confidentiality agreement. However, Russo, now her fiance, says Burgin "feels vindicated." Lavin is reportedly considering buying two pieces of property and will take time off to write a book.

At the time the suit was filed, Burgin had decided to quit journalism. The unfavorable press from Lavin's allegations and the public's general disgust with the sorry journalistic values of ANG management led Burgin to vent his spleen in an SF Weekly interview last May (see "Final Deadline," May 29, 1996).

"I'm tired of it [journalism]," Burgin said then. "You pay for it in ways that are debilitating and demoralizing."

And, sometimes, you -- or someone -- might pay for it in ways that are more immediately measurable.

-- George Cothran

Disappearing Hat Trick
Never mind about where to hang them, Mayor Willie Brown and other less celebrated fans of Borsalino hats are going to have trouble simply finding any to buy. As of Jan. 1, the 111-year-old Italian hat maker severed ties with its sole North American licensee, Pennsylvania-based Bollman Industries. "He'll have to take better care of the ones he has," mayoral spokeswoman Candace Bender said in response to the news.

It's no great loss in the opinion of downtown hatter Michael Harris, who owns the upscale Paul's Hat Works along with his wife. He and another outfit in Seattle "bought more Borsalino hats than anyone in the U.S."

"In the last 20 years, people haven't felt a real Borsalino," Harris sniffs. "They were made in Pennsylvania, and the felt wasn't cured a day." Much less the traditional five years, he points out. As a result, a modern Borsalino, Harris says, "looks like a paper bag" after it's been out in the rain. "There's no nuance left. Everything looks like either novelty wear, circus wear, or things you'd see in the theater," says Harris. Or on the mayor's head.

-- P.O.

Full Stern Ahead
Bay Area radio listeners be warned: Expect to hear a great deal more of Howard Stern, the syndicated New York insult-jock (currently carried on KOME, 98.5 FM).

San Jose-based KOME's anemic signal makes it difficult to pick up Stern consistently in the Bay Area, the nation's fourth-largest radio market. That's an anomalous situation for Stern, the hottest performer for Infinity, which also owns KOME. Until recently Infinity didn't have many other suitable substitutes.

But as of Jan. 1, with the blessings of the FCC and the Justice Department, Infinity merged with Westinghouse Electric, owner of CBS Radio, in a reported $4.9 billion deal. Here in the Bay Area, the combine will control eight outlets, including KCBS-AM, KFRC-AM/FM, and KPIX-FM/AM. Look for one to be Stern's next pulpit.



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