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Amid book scandal, authors Gerald Posner and Frank Owen confront each other at Miami Beach Botanical Garden

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Miami_Babylon_GERALD_POSNER It was anything but hearts and flowers when South Florida authors Gerald Posner and Frank Owen confronted each other Thursday night at Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Earlier this week, Owen accused Posner of stealing passages from his 2004 book Clubland for Posner's recent book, Miami Babylon. Owen acknowledges that he later wrote on his Facebook page that Posner is a "thieving c---sucker."

"It's absolutely true," Owen said Friday. "I don't deny it. If he wants to sue, go ahead and sue."

Despite the scandal, Posner kept a date to speak Thursday at the garden. Owen says he came to collect an apology.

Owen says he didn't get a proper "I'm sorry'' from Posner.

"He resorted to lawyerly evasion," Owen says. "All this bulls--- about faulty methodology."

0305121697 Earlier this week, Posner, who holds a law degree, told The Associated Press that a flawed research methodology caused him to put passages from Clubland in Miami Babylon without proper credit. Last month, Posner quit as chief investigative reporter of The Daily Beast after a Slate.com writer noted several instances in which Posner used material from Miami Herald articles.

Owen's girlfriend, Lera Gavin, says that after the garden speaking engagement, she got into a shouting match with Posner.

In an e-mail to The Miami Herald, Gavin says she asked Posner and his wife, Trisha, to go out for drinks "to discuss Gerald's blatant plagiarism."

"Posner then dashed toward me, obviously angry. His face red, his hands trembling. He pointed his finger in my face, and repeated several times, "I am a thieving c---sucker."

Posner denies Gavin's account, saying he merely repeated Owen's Facebook posting and that the couple overreacted.

"Maybe because I'm an attorney and I'm used to heated situations in the courtrooms, this was not at all heated," Posner said. "Unless you were standing there and heard the words that are vulgar, it was just three people talking."


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