An ugly lawsuit brought by a former employee against half of one of societys most visible couples is quietly being settled less than a month before a potentially embarrassing trial.
Jim Ridinger, who with wife Loren owns the successful multilevel marketing biz Market America, was accused of mistreating a cook during a drunken rampage on the couples mega-yacht, Utopia.
A trial could have brought out allegations of wild parties on the yacht, said one source.
The case lingered for three years in a court in West Palm Beach, where the 150-foot yacht happened to have been docked when the incidents allegedly occurred.
Gossip Extra was told by an insider that both Ridinger and plaintiff Russell Holck agreed to bury the hatchet last week.
Holck claimed Ridinger commented on the quality of his cooking by throwing kitchen utensils and food at him. Holck claimed he was seriously hurt while trying to avoid food that Ridinger was allegedly flinging at him.
The terms of the settlement are confidential, but Holck asked for substantial damages.
The Ridingers are the go-to people for celebrities who want to spend a few quiet days in Miami Beach. Desperate Housewives Eva Longoria and actress Jennifer Lopez are often snapped by paparazzi while lounging around on the Utopia.
Alan C. Gold, Holcks Coral Gables attorney, was out of town and couldnt be reached for comment. April Boyer, Jim Ridingers attorney, was also traveling and couldnt be reached.
WSVN-Channel 7 weather personality Julie Durda stunned her morning audience Tuesday when she announced that Friday would be her last day after five years on the areas top morning show.
Her announcement came just days after station honchos told the staff Durda would be leaving in December.
The official line from the Fox affiliate: She wanted to leave early.
An insider, however, says station officials are still reeling from contract talks with Durda, whose demands included a lot more cash and national exposure.
Chances are Durda has already lined up a new, non-weather gig in Miami TV.
Meanwhile, anchor Brian Andrews is back at CBS 4, where he worked in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Andrews ended up working at a news station in Bogota for the past five years.
I learned to appreciate Miami even more down there, he said. His new gig is as an investigative reporter.
Finally, Miamis own Rick Sanchez could be getting his own news show on MundoFox, Foxs L.A.-based Hispanic network.
The former WSVN anchor and FIU football announcer was bounced from CNN two years ago after controversial comments about Jews.
Now, hes in talks to do an opinion-heavy news show in Spanish.
Gunplay, a Miami rapper known for his tattoo of a Nazi swastika, turned himself in to Miami-Dade County cops Wednesday.
Gunplay, whose real name is Richard Morales, is being held without bond on an armed robbery warrant.
Morales, 30, whose best-known tune is Rollin, is a prominent member of the Carol City rap crew along with superstar Rick Ross.
The warrant was issued after he turned up on the surveillance tape of a tax preparation office robbery near Miami allegedly holding a gun.