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 writer Tara Palmeri depicted Benedict as a pretentious, unremorseful, lying “prick” who threw himself a party right before his jail sentence. Palmeri’s angle for making this otherwise commonplace DUI 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.
An assertion that Benedict vehemently denies and has some wondering if the NY Post fabricated to debase the character of Benedict who by now had become an easy target with the use of false testimony, quotes from anonymous sources and a skewed account of what actually took place the night of January 24th where Benedict and guests attended a soiree for the the Magic 8 Ball event. An event billed by the NYPost as a going away party for Benedict who would use this opportunity to mask the fact that instead of going to jail for a serious DUI charge he would instead be ingratiating himself in the sunny periphery of Europe.
Yet what Palmieri didn’t reveal in her article is an incident which occurred between her and Benedict last year which apparently left the NYPost writer frothing from the gills in rage.
According to Benedict, he first met Palmeri when she was seated in his chair at Blue Horizon’s June 2012 Charity Gala. Benedict, who was a committee member for the charity, asked Palmeri to kindly get out of his seat, as cocktail hour concluded and dinner was about to be served – unaware that this request sent 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 Benedict and Palmeri, later told Benedict that he had upset Palmeri. (Interestingly, Lee is the only person other than the victim who is quoted in Palmeri’s NY Post article. Is he the anonymous source mouthing off that Benedict was off to Europe for a long holiday? )
From there Benedict sent the following apology email to Palmeri the next day:
“Table 4” from the Blue Horizon Charity Gala – photo courtesy of bluehorizonfoundation.org
Nevertheless apologies aside it appears there was little love lost for Benedict when it came time for Palmeri to write her shotgun piece, who by now may have been riled up by her less than stellar encounter with Benedict.
Perhaps to underscore her sense of sleight at the hands of Benedict, Palmeri went on to post a link to her NYPost piece on her facebook page whilst at the same time mocking the name “Tabber.” Hardly the most intuitive thing an unbiased account of events would inspire.
Whilst the facts behind Benedict’s DUI case alone may not have been sensational enough to yield national coverage, the addition of a high brow NYC society and faux pas behavior in that arena was by now certain ammunition for the perfect story. Except Palmeri needed something extra special to really mesmerize readers. A memorable quote of sorts from one of NY’s most notorious socialites.
Who better to satisfy this need than media starved whore Justin Ross Lee, friend of Palmeri, who’s always eager to get himself in the papers. Yet Lee’s quote of calling Benedict, “the most pretentious person I’ve ever met,” served more to promote Lee’s “Pretentious Pocket” brand than support for Palmeri’s story.
After reading Palmeri’s New York Post article, I reached out to Lee in to enquire if Benedict’s assumed friend would provide such a quote. We soon learned that Lee felt slighted by Benedict as well.
Anonymous: “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.”
Anonymous: “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.”
Anonymous: “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.”
Anonymous: “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.”
Anonymous: “Ok. I may have to quote you as I’m writing a response article.”
Justin: “I’m happy to give a statement.”
(This conversation took place on February 6, 2013 ending at 11:22 am EST).
It is also important to reveal that 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 Benedict. Did she go to visit Benedict to wish him Happy Birthday? To just say hello? Or perhaps Lee tipped Palmeri off that I would be exposing the inaccuracies in her story and perhaps Palmeri got worried that the anonymous sources (“friends of Tabber”) she had in her story were made up.
According to Benedict, “I never informed any journal about Justin’s chapter 7 filing. I learned myself of the filing by people coming to me telling me this, as they knew Justin was my friend… it was public knowledge.”
Coincidence or collusion?
With both Palmeri and Lee feeling wronged by Benedict, could they have colluded against him? Palmeri asserted that 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 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 Benedict’s birthday last year. Palmeri couldn’t even get the name of the club right – The event took place at Lounge Number 8, located on 16th Street in the Dream Hotel Downtown, in contrast to Palmeri’s mention of Bungalow 8, which went out of business several years ago located on 27th street.
Contrary to Palmeri’s story, this was not Benedict’s party. Oliver Esterich contacted 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 Magic 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, 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 Benedict, “This was not my event” and “I never told a single person that I was going to Europe. They made all that up.”
Furthermore, Lee had asked Benedict to get him into Number 8 for the event but Benedict responded that Lee was blacklisted from the club and there was nothing he could do, according to Benedict.
Tabber Benedict for his part 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 committed,” said Benedict.
Benedict was sentenced 3-10 years for pleading guilty to DWI, leaving the scene of an accident and aggravated vehicular assault.
According to 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, Benedict frantically kept asking police and officials if the man was ok about every 30 minutes, Benedict said.
Benedict, acknowledged that he could never take back the past, and therefore his focus and way of atonement was to immerse himself in charities, philanthropy, and simply giving back to others. He promoted 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 Esterich.
The New York POST brings up Benedicts lack of remorse:
“He left me on the side of the road to die and he then fled to save himself.”
Dorn also skewered 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 Benedict, the above statements are not true. Benedict said he made several attempts to contact Dorn, 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 attorney. Benedict thus instructed his lawyer to set up an in-person meeting with Dorn – 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 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 Dorn, that Benedict would pay for it. This was declined as well.
Benedict went on to offer his remorse was deep and he wondered if he shouldn’t just “show up” at their house to apologize in person, Benedict said.
Nevertheless the NYPost piece goes on to paint Benedict as a two dimensional villain beyond contempt or remorse and who was going to take one more victim for a ride, high society. Perhaps the truth may be who was trying to take us all for a ride was Tara Palmeri herself.