Libtalker Ed Schultz told his radio listeners Tuesday that he's a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by an NBC engineer who alleges he helped get Schultz on television -- a man who Schultz claims has stalked Schultz and his wife.
Schultz began the second hour of his nationally syndicated radio show describing the lawsuit filed by Michael Queen, who is described in a press release issued by his lawyer as an NBC broadcast engineer, labor official and Schultz's "former partner." Schultz is labeled a "self-proclaimed champion of labor unions and workers' rights."
Queen is represented by attorney Mark Lane, author of two well-known books on the JFK assassination, "Rush to Judgment" and "Plausible Denial."
According to the press release, Queen approached the late NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert to suggest Schultz for a television show, followed by Queen suggesting this to Schultz in January 2008. The press release claims that "Meet the Press" and "Today" show director Max Schindler joined the effort, "only to quit shortly thereafter, citing ethical differences with Schultz." The press release further states (audio of Schultz remarks after page break) --
Among the many promises Schultz made to Queen was "any TV deal would obviously involve you. I will not do a TV deal without your involvement ..." Tim Russert suggested Queen pitch the concept to MSNBC president Phil Griffin in April 2008. Mr. Griffin initially turned the idea down, only to then hire Schultz nearly a year later, in March 2009, to host "The Ed Show." ...
After he was hired by MSNBC, Schultz met with Queen. Schultz personally assured Queen that he would pay Queen what he was owed. Since then Schultz has refused to honor those commitments to Queen. "We pitched the idea to various network executives, produced a TV pilot, secured an apartment in D.C. for Ed and his wife Wendy and even gave them a car to drive free for three months. We picked them up at the airport, and went shopping with them -- all while helping them become millionaires, and we received nothing for our efforts!"
On his radio show today, Schultz denied the claims, said he has spoken with a lawyer, and called the allegations as "damaging," which some may interpret as a tacit admission they aren't without foundation (audio here) --
Let me unequivocally state to the listeners of this radio show, I have not signed a contract with any agent or anyone else. I, I had no contract with, how can you be in breach of contract when you don't have a contract?! Uh, I mean, there's Tim Russert's name in this, there's Phil Griffin's name in this, uh, there's Max Schindler who used to direct "Meet the Press," his name is in this. Says that he was part of an effort to bring me to television and joined the project only to quit shortly thereafter citing ethical differences with Schultz. I didn't have an agent! I wasn't going to sign a contract with an agent. I wasn't going to sign a contract with anybody because we didn't have a TV show! It's just (laughs).
Now you should also know that Michael Queen was stalking me and Wendy and was escorted out of the building at NBC, and has intimidated my wife on one other occasion. And I want you to know that I will say what I have to say which is the truth. And I don't, I haven't breached any contract because there was no contract with Michael Queen. And this is a very damaging press release and I will have my friends in the legal world deal with it.
Queen is suing Schultz for $100,000, TVNewser reports tonight. "Ed paid him in full for every cent he spent," Schultz lawyer Jeffrey Landa told TVNewser. "We're going to aggressively defend against (the suit) and aggressively counterclaim."