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WDKX.com » Blog » FBI: Man Allegedly Extorted Paula Deen
Jul 7th 2013 5:57 am
FBI: Man Allegedly Extorted Paula Deen
by News

(CNN) - FBI agents on Friday morning arrested a 62-year-old man who, they say, tried to extort Paula Deen by threatening to divulge "true and damning" information about the embattled celebrity chef -- unless he was paid to keep quiet.

Thomas George Paculis was taken into custody without incident in Ithaca, New York, by FBI agents and deputies from the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, the FBI said in a press release.

There was no answer later Friday to a phone number linked to him in the FBI's criminal complaint, nor was there an immediate response from an e-mail address in that same document.

The former Augusta and Savannah, Georgia, resident appeared before a federal judge Friday in New York before being released on bond at about noon, said Stephen Emmett with the FBI's Atlanta office.

He is scheduled to appear the morning of July 16 at a federal court in Savannah, where the criminal complaint was filed.

That coastal Georgia city is also where Deen built her business and brand into what many consider the folksy face of Southern cooking.

But she's been on her heels in recent weeks after admitting, in a deposition related to a lawsuit brought by a former employee, that she's used the "N word" in the past.

Chat: Comfort food, uncomfortable topics

Lisa Jackson alleged Deen and her brother Bubba Hier committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment at The Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, two Savannah restaurants run by Deen and her family.

In the media firestorm that followed, Deen lost at least nine lucrative endorsements and her Food Network cooking show, while the publication of her eagerly anticipated cookbook was canceled.

Source: CNN.com