The unjust media onslaught of Tabber Benedict is shameful and somewhat inaccurate.
Tabber Benedict, a New York professional, who experienced financial, social and emotional swings of many Manhattanites, was convicted and sent to jail recently. An article published by the New York Post quickly followed, where New York POST writer Tara Palmeri depicted Benedict as a pretentious, unremorseful, lying “prick” who threw himself a party right before his jail sentence. New York POST writer Tara Palmeri’s angle for making this otherwise commonplace DWI story newsworthy was to claim that Benedict not only threw himself a party, but lied to everyone that the party was in celebration of him going away to Europe, when deep down he knew he was going away to prison. RHS was able to uncover the real lie regarding the article, which received immediate syndication – New York POST writer Tara Palmeri, who once felt slighted by Tabber Benedict, used false testimony, quotes from anonymous sources and outdated photos to spin a defamatory story of a villain to an otherwise common DWI case.
RHS was able to catch up with Mr. Benedict in the last 48 hours from his incarceration to set the record straight. RHS also interviewed others familiar with the case and obtained some public records.
According to Mr. Benedict, he first met the New York POST writer Tara Palmeri when she was seated in his chair at Blue Horizon’s June 2012 Charity Gala. Mr. Benedict, who was a committee member for the charity, politely requested Tara Palmeri to kindly get out of his seat prior to dinner service, unaware that this request sent Tara Palmeri running out of the gala, distraught and embarrassed. It seems Palmeri had crashed the benefit and sat in an empty chair, not realizing it was assigned to Benedict. Justin Ross Lee, a friend to both Mr. Benedict and Tara Palmeri, later told Mr. Benedict that he had upset Tara Palmeri. (Interestingly, Justin Ross Lee is the only person other than the victim who is quoted bashing Mr. Benedict in Tara Palmeri’s NY Post article. Coincidence or Collusion?)
Being the consummate gentleman, Mr. Benedict sent the following apology email next day to New York POST writer Tara Palmeri:
Mr. Benedict made an attempt to not only apologize, but even invited Palmeri to another charity event. Yet the NY POST writer, who felt scorned by Mr. Benedict, had her own way of retribution perhaps?
TARA PALMERI posted a link to her Facebook page advertising her NY Post article while mocking the name “Tabber”:
As a serious journalist who once worked for CNN and the Examiner, one would assume that New York POST writer Tara Palmeri would abide by the SPJ’s (Society for Professional Journalists) code of ethics in her reporting, which is defined by truth, acting independently/free of bias, fact checking and being accountable for what gets printed. Clearly, Tara Palmeri seems to have no regard for such foolish things as “journalistic ethics.” With assumed personal bias against Mr. Benedict, New York POST writer Tara Palmeri appears to get her revenge in her inaccurate portrayal of Mr. Benedict.
Yet the facts of the mundane ol’ truth to Mr. Benedict’s DWI case are not sensational enough to yield national coverage (we’ll get to that later). New York POST writer Tara Palmeri needed an angle…and a quote from a notorious Manhattan socialite. Who better to satisfy this than media-starved Justin Ross Lee, friend of Tara Palmeri, who’s always eager to get himself in the papers. Yet Mr. Lee’s quote of calling Mr. Benedict, “the most pretentious person I’ve ever met,” served more to promote Mr. Lee’s “Pretentious Pocket” brand than support for Tara Palmeri’s story.
After reading Tara Palmeri’s New York Post article, RHS reached out to Just Ross Lee in disbelief that Mr. Benedict’s assumed friend would provide a quote. We soon learned that Mr. Lee felt slighted by Mr. Benedict as well.
RHS: “Did you quote that to the Post?”
Justin: “Did he tip them off last year to my Chapter 7 filing… He was a snake to me. You bet your ass that’s my quote.”
RHS: “I didn’t know that.”
Justin: “Nor did I until about 3 weeks ago. What he did was unspeakable. The ultimate betrayal after I confided in him. He should thank me for being so kind when they asked for my comment.”
RHS: “How did you know he said it? The Post told you? It’s public record when you file.”
Justin: “I’m well aware it’s public…a little birdy told me.”
RHS: “The birdy could have been fishing for a quote from you because you are high profile. Did you ever consider that?”
Justin: “Yes. And this isn’t my first Rodeo. I know all the tricks.”
RHS: “Ok. I may have to quote you as I’m writing a response article in my magazine.”
Justin: “I’m happy to give a statement.”
[highlight_1]This conversation took place on February 6, 2013 ending at 11:22 am EST (4:22 pm London time by RHS in London).[/highlight_1]
It is also important to reveal that New York POST writer Tara Palmeri went to the Suffolk County Correctional Facility on Feb. 7, which was a day after her story ran and she was denied access to see Mr. Benedict. Did she go to visit Tabber Benedict to wish him Happy Birthday? To just say hello? Or perhaps Mr. Lee tipped Tara Palmeri off that RHS would be exposing the inaccuracies in her story and perhaps New York POST writer got worried that the anonymous sources (“friends of Tabber”) she had in her story were actually fabricated friends?
According to Mr. Benedict, “I never informed any journalist or other person about Justin’s chapter 7 filing. I learned myself of the filing by people coming to me telling me this, as they knew, at the time, Justin was my friend… it was public knowledge.”
With both New York POST writer Tara Palmeri and Mr. Lee feeling wronged by Mr. Benedict, could they have colluded against him? Tara Palmeri asserted that Mr. Benedict threw himself a farewell party where he lied to his friends that he was going away to Europe. This was written as fact supported by quotes from anonymous “friends” as sources. She also supplied photos of Tabber Benedict and friends, which the reader was lead to believe were from the farewell bash– yet the photos were about a year old and from Mr. Benedict’s birthday last year. Tara Palmeri also misquoted the name of the club – The event took place at Lounge Number 8, located on 16th Street in the Dream Hotel Downtown, in contrast to Tara Palmeri’s mention of Bungalow 8, which went out of business several years ago located on 27th street.
Contrary to New York POST wrtier Tara Palmeri’s story, this was not Mr. Benedict’s party. Oliver Esterich contacted Tabber Benedict, (who went by Thomas Pink on Facebook), and asked him to be part of the host committee for a launch of a new party, “The Magical 8 Ball,” as per invite. Never one to say no, and understanding the pull he had when it came to organizing events, charities and galas, Mr. Benedict agreed to help promote this event, knowing full well that he would be incarcerated within a few days. But he wanted to see some of his friends all together in a nice setting before he went to a much more depressive one.
According to Mr. Benedict, “This was not my event” and “I never told a single person that this was a going away party for a European holiday. They made all that up.”
Furthermore, Mr. Lee had asked Mr. Benedict to get him into Number 8 for the event but Mr. Benedict responded that Justin Ross Lee was blacklisted from the club and there was nothing he could do to remove him from the blacklist of the club itself, according to Mr. Benedict.
Tabber used the name Thomas Pink on his Facebook page for years
Tabber Benedict is not making any excuses for his actual crime and the negative impact it had on Steven Dorn and his family.
“Not a day has gone by where I don’t feel bad and wish I could take back the mistake that I made,” said Mr. Benedict.
Mr. Benedict was sentenced 3-10 years for pleading guilty to DWI, leaving the scene of an accident and aggravated vehicular assault.
According to Mr. Benedict, this truly was an accident and he had no idea he actually struck someone that day. He blacked out. The first time he had knowledge of injuring someone was when he came out of his blackout stage, unable to recall anything, and was told by police that he hit and injured a man and hence was being held in jail. Receiving this knowledge, Mr. Benedict frantically kept repeatedly asking police and officials if the man was ok. Mr. Benedict said.
Mr. Benedict said there was also suspicion if he had been “roofied” due to his inability to recall anything, yet this was never proven or detected by tests, hence just speculation. Regardless, Mr. Benedict re-iterated his remorse to RHS and made clear that despite such “roofie” speculation he continues to take full responsibility for the mistake of drinking and driving, as well as surrounding himself with the wrong people at times.
Mr. Benedict is known as a quality person who always looks after his friends and very rarely had anything negative to say about another person. Therefore, why did New York POST writer Tara Palmeri portray him as a person intent on leaving someone for half dead, (We understand that New York State law implies intent while a driver is intoxicated,) and partying until the very end of his freedom?
Tabber Benedict, although forever contrite, acknowledged that he could never take back the past, and therefore his focus and way of atonement was to continue to immerse himself in charities, philanthropy, and simply giving back to others as he has always done. He helped promote the event not for his own benefit or to delude people that it was his farewell party, but simply because he was asked to help by Mr. Esterich. He gave everything of himself until there was nothing left, and most people don’t know that.
The New York POST brings up Mr. Benedict’s lack of remorse:
“He left me on the side of the road to die and he then fled to save himself.”
Mr. Dorn also skewered Mr. Benedict for never apologizing.
“This tragic experience has been very difficult because of the fact that Mr. Benedict has shown no remorse,” he told the court.
“He’s never apologized or reached out to me and my family.”
According to Mr. Benedict, he made several attempts to contact the Dorn family, show his remorse and offer help. He wanted to go visit him, send personal letters and do anything he could for him and his family though he was quickly informed that due to the criminal nature of the case, communication and any sort of contact had to be filtered from his attorney to Dorn’s family attorney. Tabber Benedict thus instructed his lawyer to set up an in-person meeting with Mr. Dorn – Mr. Dorn’s lawyer denied the meeting. He wanted to send a personal letter, though was advised against as it could be perceived as insensitive or taken the wrong way. He instructed his attorney to let Dorn’s family attorney know that if there were any medical bills, anything that insurance would not cover or any elective or experimental surgery not approved by insurance though would help Mr. Dorn, that Tabber Benedict would pay for it. This was declined as well.
Mr. Benedict’s remorse was deep and he wondered if he shouldn’t just “show up” at their house to apologize in person, Tabber Benedict said. At the same time, Mr. Benedict owned his mistake, and took full responsibility in accepting what he did and not trying to make excuses or minimizing the effect he had on the Dorns.
In the pre-plea interview given in December 2012 Tabber Benedict made clear to a probation officer that he wished to apologize directly to the Dorns for any and all harm he had caused the Dorns. And again, the probation officer re-iterated to him what had been told to him by his lawyers, and the Dorn lawyers, that he could not, and should not directly communicate with them. The officer made it clear however that Tabber Benedict’s remorse and sorrow would be communicated to the Dorns prior to the next court appearance in January. Mr. Benedict also explained that by pleading guilty to the charges he was taking full responsibility for his actions and mistake. On the actual day of sentencing as Benedict faced the Dorns directly, he was finally able to express his heartfelt apology to Mr. Dorn, his wife, and the Dorn family.