After practically losing everything from her many endorsements to her once beloved TV persona and in the process, giving countless televised apologies over her use of racial slurs to salvage what was left of her career and her business empire, celebrity chef Paula Deen can't seem to get herself out of the spotlight. She's staying in the headlines no thanks to the man who tried to extort money from her in exchange for keeping some allegedly "true and damning" evidence against the former TV show host.
Thomas George Paculis, a 62-year-old New Yorker, was arrested by federal authorities today for allegedly trying to extort $250,000 from Deen. Paculis threatened to expose information that would supposedly "bring hardship and financial ruin" to the former Food Network talent if these were released to the public.
Paculis apparently sent an email and even made a follow-up call to Deen's lawyer in the process of extorting half a million dollars from the already embattled TV personality and restaurateur. He is set to appear in court on July 16 in Savannah, Georgia, where Deen is a resident and operates a restaurant.
After being dropped by the Food Network and key sponsor Smithfield Foods, Deen had also been let go by other big sponsors Target and Walmart as well as her book publisher, Ballantine. All throughout this ordeal starting from the time of the expose regarding her use of the n-word, Deen had issued several video apologies.