Magnate withdraws offer to pay Paula Jones $1 million Clinton supporter is fed up with her lawyers' feuding

October 29, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Abe Hirschfeld, the New York City parking garage magnate who tried to ride to the rescue in ending Paula Corbin Jones' lawsuit against President Clinton, said yesterday that he was withdrawing his offer to pay Jones $1 million to settle the case.

He said his efforts were over, finished, off the table and not to be renewed.

Hirschfeld blamed feuding among Jones' lawyers about how to apportion the money for his decision to rescind the offer.

The real estate tycoon has his own legal problems. He faces a 123-count indictment in New York claiming he cheated the state of $2.3 million in taxes.

Lawyers for Jones and Clinton were close earlier this month to settling her sexual misconduct lawsuit against him. She had demanded $1 million from Clinton, and the White House had gone up to $700,000 from its initial offer of $500,000.

But with Hirschfeld's offer, Jones saw a way earlier this month to put together a large package. She increased her demand, asking for $1 million from Clinton in addition to the Hirschfeld contribution for a total of $2 million.

The White House quickly rejected the proposal. Privately, White House advisers described Jones as unrealistic and said they could not be part of any deal in which a third party like Hirschfeld paid Jones to withdraw her suit because that would raise issues of whether the money was a gift to Clinton.

As a result of the breakdown in negotiations, both sides went ahead with arguments Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn., before a panel of appeals court judges over whether the lawsuit should be reinstated.

A federal trial judge dismissed Mrs. Jones' lawsuit in April, saying her account of being propositioned by Clinton in a Little Rock, Ark., hotel room in 1991 did not amount to a legal case of sexual harassment.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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