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Axed Flack Back On Pecker's Payroll

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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KING DAVID Pecker How unappealing is the job of being David Pecker's public face? So much so that the American Media Inc. chief has had to settle on someone he tossed out less than three years ago. PR dynamo Richard Valvo will fill the job that's been vacant since Stu Zakim left last December to head up publicity for Showtime. (Freud Communications—the firm Katie Couric hired to cast a golden glow on her move from NBC to CBS, has been handling AMI's press relations in the meantime.)

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Providing spin for a stable of fading supermarket tabs is a pretty thankless job. But Valvo seemed to like it well enough: He spent six years at AMI, leaving only after Pecker hired Zakim as his replacement ... without notifying him, of course. According to sources, Valvo responded by threatening a breach of contract lawsuit, which he then dropped, allegedly in exchange for a financial settlement of an undisclosed size. Valvo tells Radar that there was any legal action or threat, but it's clear he likes a good PR challenge: His only high-profile client for the past two years has been the singer Wafah Dufour—better known as Osama bin Laden's niece.

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