People talk 051703

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Gates, Brokaw make amends for ditching bill

WATERTOWN, S.D. -- The world's richest man and one of the country's top news anchors sat down at a cafe for cappuccino -- but both left without paying the bill.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates came to Watertown to talk to librarians about computers that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had donated.

NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw also was in town and interviewed Gates at the Past Times Cafe, where they both ordered a cappuccino. But when the interview was over, they left and no one paid the bill.

"They just got right out the door, the security people ushered them right out," said Jackie Harrington, the waitress who prepared and served the coffee.

No one thought much more about it until the cafe's owner, Corinne Arnold, got a call from Gates' office asking whether he owed some money. The cafe insisted the cappuccinos, which cost $3 each, were on the house.

But Brokaw, a South Dakota native, thought otherwise and took care of the debt Wednesday with a note that included two $20 bills.

"When we walked out without paying we got nailed," Brokaw wrote. "One 20 is for the coffee. The other is for the wall. Thanks, Tom."

'Jamie Kennedy' prank victim files lawsuit

LOS ANGELES -- A woman who was the target of a prank on the television show "JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" has filed a lawsuit, claiming the event left her depressed and fearful of crowds.

Thea Robinson claims in her lawsuit, filed Thursday in Superior Court, that she received a call from a temporary agency setting up a Sept. 26 job interview at a Woodland Hills restaurant.

Unbeknownst to Robinson, the "restaurant manager" was Kennedy, the actor-comedian who has appeared in the "Scream" trilogy and other films and now hosts a WB series in which unsuspecting people are ambushed by pranks.

Shortly after Robinson's purported "interview" began, the lawsuit states, Kennedy, 32, and two "patrons" at the restaurant became involved in a heated exchange. All were employed by the TV show.

When the dispute escalated into a brawl that sent table settings and glassware flying, Robinson tried to leave the restaurant. But realizing she'd left her resume, she returned to the dining room and saw two people who "looked injured," according to her lawsuit. When she tried to leave, "everyone in the room burst into applause and laughter," with some shouting, "You've been Xed!"

Robinson's lawsuit says she was "in a complete state of shock." In the six months since, Robinson said she has "suffered confusion, paranoia, depression, anxiety and fear of crowds and unfamiliar situations," according to the lawsuit.

Warner Bros. Television referred calls to Big Ticket Television, the show's producers. A call to that firm was not immediately returned.

Jacko seeks secrecy for deposition

INDIANAPOLIS -- An attorney for Michael Jackson has asked a federal court to keep secret the location of the pop star's deposition in a copyright lawsuit next week.

Saying the deposition could create a media frenzy, Stephen Fardy, one of Jackson's attorneys in the case, requested in U.S. District Court in Hammond that the time and place be kept from the public.

Jackson, who also has requested to pick the location, will be deposed Wednesday in Indianapolis in a lawsuit accusing the Jackson Five and others of infringing the trade name of Ripples and Waves, another Gary band from the 1960s, and two of their songs.

-- From wire reports

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