Rodman Pal Claims New Times Defamed Her


MIAMI (CN) - A woman who claims to be Dennis Rodman's girlfriend claims in court that a journalist defamed her in an article that portrayed her as "aimless and shiftless, and probably alcoholic," in an abusive relationship with Rodman, and disclosed her identity against her wish.
     Trish Alexander sued Voice Media Group, its subsidiaries Miami New Times and New Times Broward/Palm Beach, and Terrence McCoy, in Miami-Dade County Court.
     McCoy is a staff writer for Voice Media Group's New Times publications. The Colorado-based Voice Media Group publishes two online blogs and several weekly newspapers.
     Alexander claims McCoy befriended her and used her to get intimate details of her relationship with Rodman for an article he was writing on the retired NBA star.
     Rodman stirred up controversy when he flew to North Korea in February 2013 to meet with leader Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman called "a really awesome guy" and "a friend for life."
     Alexander, a financial controller, claims she has been in an intimate relationship with Rodman since 2011, which she managed to keep private until McCoy published his 2013 article, "Reinventing Rodman: How the basketball great became the weirdest international ambassador ever."
     McCoy approached Alexander in April 2013, through one of Rodman's personal assistants, asking her to arrange an interview with Rodman, according to the lawsuit. After Rodman refused to be interviewed, McCoy showed up at a restaurant where Rodman and Alexander were having lunch with a friend, fashion designer Elaine Lancaster, whom McCoy used to get access to Rodman, the complaint states.
     Alexander says Rodman was annoyed when McCoy showed up to interview him against his wishes.
     "When McCoy arrived, Rodman left the table and did not speak to McCoy," the complaint states. "McCoy sat with Lancaster, Alexander, and two other friends of Rodman. Rodman sat down at a table with random strangers. McCoy observed and overheard Rodman from the adjacent table, and quoted Rodman's interactions at that table in the subject article, despite the fact that Rodman specifically and deliberately avoided engaging McCoy in any communication which would directly further or facilitate McCoy's authorship of the subject article.
     "When Alexander and Rodman left Balans [restaurant], they drove together to Lancaster's nearby home for the purpose of outfitting Rodman with flamboyant clothes for the finale of the televised 'All Star Celebrity Apprentice.' Apparently invited by Lancaster, McCoy separately followed Rodman and Alexander to Lancaster's residence, where he continued to observe Rodman and Rodman's interactions with Alexander, which became literary fodder for the subject article.
     "As Rodman and Alexander left Lancaster's home, McCoy approached Alexander with an air of friendship and concern about her feelings and asked personal questions of the nature: 'Are you okay? Does [Rodman] abuse you,' to which Alexander answered that she was 'okay' and that Rodman does not abuse her."
     Alexander claims McCoy pursued her for additional interviews and pretended to be her friend to get intimate details of her life with Rodman.
     She claims McCoy promised to respect her privacy and not to mention her name in the article.
     Despite McCoy's assurances, Alexander says, the article named her, exposed intimate details of her relationship with Rodman, and included a picture of her.
     She claims the article, published in the May-June 2013 New Times editions and republished this year on social media, portrayed her in an offensive manner and exaggerated facts for dramatic effect.
     "And finally, there's Trishy Trish," McCoy wrote in the article, cited in the complaint. "She's petite and sandy-haired, with small, sad eyes. No one is quite sure where Trishy Trish comes from, her occupation, or her real name. To Rodman, she has one main responsibility: to provide constant companionship. He calls her at all hours, and when she picks up, Rodman sometimes doesn't say a word. He just listens."
     The article describes Rodman's "typical binges" and his "combustible relationship" with Alexander, and shows Rodman being verbally and emotionally abusive toward her, according to the lawsuit.
     Alexander claims the article "creates a false impression upon a reasonable reader that Alexander is an aimless and shiftless, and probably alcoholic, woman, who is engaged in a codependent abusive relationship with Rodman and who lives (and suffers) with blind devotion to Rodman, without individual mettle or identity, in the shadow of what the subject article consciously depicts as Rodman's extravagant profligacy." (Parentheses in complaint).
     She claims Rodman's behavior as depicted in the article was caused mostly by McCoy's intrusion in their lives.
     She says McCoy exaggerated facts, took some out of context, and omitted others to attract more attention to the story.
     Alexander claims the article harmed her reputation and her relationship with Rodman, who assumed she had consented to his unflattering portrayal in the article.
     She seeks punitive damages for respondeat superior liability, defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional misrepresentation, and infliction of emotional distress.
     She is represented by Howard Levine of Miami Beach.