Duluth resident and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” participant Kim Zolciak is generating headlines now thanks to a battle she’s having — not with Sheree or Lisa — but a former publicist.
Jonathan Jaxson, a self-described Atlanta publicist who repped Zolciak for a brief time, has accused the reality show star of not paying her bills, filing a lawsuit last week for breach of contract.
Zolciak in turn filed her own lawsuit Feb. 25 accusing him of “hijacking” her own official Web site and posting “negative and scurrilous information” about her on the site in retaliation.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger Friday gave Zolciak a temporary injunction asking Jaxson to take down what he wrote last week until the two sides mediate the issue.
Last week, Jaxson posted a note on www.kimzolciakonline.com saying the “Site down to due Non-Payment. This site will be ‘non active’ due to failure of payment and a pending lawsuit against Ms. Zolciak.” As a result of the injunction, he has restored the site to what it looked like Feb. 20. Zolciak, in the lawsuit, blamed the “hijacking” for generating negative publicity “which has marginalized Ms. Zolciak’s public persona and is negatively impacting her commercial opportunities.”
I spoke with Jaxson tonight. He declined to comment about the case, citing the temporary restraining order noting “neither party shall be permitted to speak of the other party, and neither party shall make, transmit or publish any derogatory or inflammatory statements to any person or entity regarding the other party.” (Indeed, neither Zolciak nor her attorney Marko Burgar returned requests for comment.)
Jaxson instead referred me to his business parter Jeff Ward. Jaxson did talk about his business unrelated to Zolciak. He said he has his own publicity firm but is now focusing on non-celebrity clients.
Ward said the statement on the site was not scurrilous or defamatory; to him, it was factual. He said Jaxson signed on to be Zolciak’s publicist about the time of the popular Bravo show’s finale last fall. He said the two sides signed a $30,000 six-month contract for Jaxson to provide publicity services, including maintaining the Web site and getting her placement in various media outlets. He said he helped place her on the Bonnie Hunt Show, the E! Network and the Golden Globes red carpet.
She paid about $15,000 for three months, Ward said. But in the past month, he said she stopped paying her monthly retainer. Zolciak, he said, threatened Jaxson when he demanded payment. He filed a police report last month concerning the alleged threats. Jaxson (under his legal name Jonathan Lewandowski) also filed a lawsuit against Zolciak in Fulton County Magistrate Court Feb. 23. for breach of contract for $15,000.
I asked Ward why Jaxson would file a lawsuit so quickly considering she hadn’t been late in paying by more than a few weeks. “In this type of work, you don’t wait that long,” Ward said. “You pay when it’s due; otherwise, the contract is void.”
He also said while Zolciak in her lawsuit claims that the Web site www.kimzolciakonline.com is hers, it is in fact Jaxson’s. Ward said she never had access to the site. (There is another so-called “official” Web site called www.kimzolciak.com which has not been updated recently.)
Jaxson said he has been a publicist for the Backstreet Boys, Kim Kardashian and “Cheetah Girls” Adrienne Bailon. For a brief time, he wrote his own gossip site called www.jjsdirt.com, which no longer exists. He’s also had some legal entanglements wuth Perez Hilton. Defamer was not kind to him last year concerning his work with Bailon.
If you want to know what he looks like, here’s a 2007 vlog he did:
There is a curious reference in the temporary restraining order signed by Judge Goger. Goger wrote:
There is to be no physical, electronic or verbal contact between the parties, including any contact by third parties acting on behalf of the parties to this case. The Court will consider contact by Lee Najjar to be contact by the Petitioner.
Hmm… Lee Najjar. He is a real estate developer frequently cited as the infamous “Big Papa” Zolciak references in the show, but not by name. She has admitted to having dated a married man but said he has been trying to divorce his wife for a long time. She said last fall she had broken up with him. Najjar himself has never admitted to such a relationship with Zolciak in public either.
But The New York Daily News last week, without naming the man, said Zolciak is now living with “Big Papa” and her two daughters.
The second season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” started filming last week. We are trying to ascertain who the new fifth housewife is, too. The Daily News story said it may be Cori Davenport, a buddy of Kim’s who showed up in season one. In that story, Zolciak and Bravo declined comment.