The Insider

Little Mac Attack
Everywhere the world champion Rockets went, Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale was sure to go, as long as there were cameras around. Now, in a different sort of court action, McIngvale is embroiled in a lawsuit against his Gallery Furniture operation filed by former employee Richard Galls, who claims he was fired by McIngvale in 1992 for testifying in a sexual harassment lawsuit his then-girlfriend and now-wife pursued against the furniture store. In retaliation for his testimony, the suit alleges, salesman Galls had his pay cut, was "relegated to doing warehouse work" and was "intimidated and harassed and caused to endure hours of interrogation by the defendant" before finally being terminated. McIngvale, who has denied all allegations, is being represented by a close friend, state Senator John Whitmire.

Galls' lawyer requested some intriguing items for a deposition of McIngvale, including all documents relating to Mattress Mac's "physical and mental health" since 1989 and to his participation on the "Stevens and Pruett Show" on KLOL, as well as "the tape recorder used by you to record conversations between you and any employee of Gallery Furniture ...."

Believe It! (Or Not!)
A last dispatch from Clutch City, if you can stand it: One of the most amazing phenomena of the Rockets' amazing season was the original 700,000 crowd count offered by the Lanier administration for the downtown victory parade. If that figure were correct, it means that approximately 33,000 people were crammed along each block of the 21-block route (yeah, it could happen). One hopes Bob & Co.'s budget numbers are more realistic.

Meanwhile, one of the herd eyeing a future run for Bob's chair at City Hall -- federal drug czar Lee P. Brown -- also seems lost in the Rockets' red glare. Batting around the topic of athletes as role models with Ted Koppel on Nightline last week, Brown opined that more sports stars should be "like Olajuwon down in Atlanta." Or one of those cities where Brown used to work....

Selena Fever
The rush to publish tomes on entombed Tejano queen Selena continues unabated. Pocket Books churned out a quickie effort within weeks of Selena's murder, and next up is a picture-intensive paperback from St. Martin's Press slated to reach the racks in August. Now Texas Monthly writer Joe Nick Patoski has inked a deal with Little Brown (for a reported $50,000 advance) to pen a 100,000-word unauthorized effort for publication next spring. Patoski produced TM's cover piece on Selena in two days, and he hopes to have his manuscript ready by summer's end. He's sensitive to charges of exploitation of the dead star and will donate a quarter of his earnings to a foundation set up in her memory. "If I wanted to maximize the profit potential of this," says Patoski, "I'd get it out now, because the interest in Selena is at a fever pitch." That seems to be the strategy People magazine is pursuing. According to Patoski, People plans yet another Selena cover in the near future to mark the posthumous release of a new album by the songstress.

Post Post Mortem
The Houston Post diaspora continues: Columnist Paul Harasim has taken a job as information officer for the Veteran's Administration. Features editor Julie Gilbert is toiling as a mouthpiece in the Metro vineyard. And editorial page columnist Tom Kennedy reportedly is negotiating with the Lanier administration to join the Public Works Department under Jimmy Schindewolf.

Tim Fleck is The Insider. He can be reached at 624-1483 (voice) or 624-1496 (fax).


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