Tipster Who Led To Suspect In Hollywood Publicist’s Murder Sues To Get Reward Money

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The tipster who led police to the killer of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen last year is suing to get $125,000 in reward money that he says he is owed.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, the tipster, identified only as John Doe, says Harold Matzner and Michael Levine have reneged on their promises to pay a reward for information leading to Chasen’s killer.

Doe says he identified Harold Smith to America’s Most Wanted, which contacted the Beverly Hills Police Department. Police said Smith, who fatally shot himself as officers closed in on him last December, was Chasen’s killer.

harold m smith Tipster Who Led To Suspect In Hollywood Publicists Murder Sues To Get Reward Money

Harold M. Smith

Matzner, chairman of the Palm Springs Film Festival,  told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that he will not pay the reward because Smith was not arrested and convicted as the reward terms stipulated.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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  • SkrewYew

    Why would anyone want to do the right thing anymore? Promises of money from fat cats who make millions, just to have them go back on their word? Let them do their own legwork instead of getting thousands of amateur private detectives wasting their time with just the speculation of a reward. Cry wolf and the next time, Mr. Fat Cat, it could be you who is shot, and no one will give a rat’s ass if the killer is brought to justice.

    • Big John

      well said!

  • give me a break

    You gotta be kidding! The guy is dead. Isn’t that better than arrested and convicted? “Sorry, Officer, please don’t let him kill himself because I won’t get the reward I was promised.” Morals are long gone.

  • Storm

    How sleazy. Matzner and Levine may be technically correct, but they are morally and spiritually wrong, and certainly disrespect the memory of Ronni Chasen.

    The informant did all he could do, and Ronni’s murder was avenged in full. But for the informant, that may not have happened.

    Matzner and Levine can’t take it to the grave with them, and they should be men about it and pay up.

  • Jeannine Suibielski

    And law enforcement wonders why people don’t come forward with information? Not only can tipping off the cops with info get you or your family threatened, injured or killed, but now you do the right thing and some wealthy elitist decides to reneg on giving him the money. Disgraceful – they got the guy, the case was solved and closed – give the man the money!

  • I'm feeling verklempt!!!

    Oy vey! This does not make us Jews look good!

  • Do The Right Thing Just Because

    So the only reason someone should come forward with information is if there’s MONEY involved?! Are you guys serious?! Whatever happened to just doing the right thing? Don’t we care about right and wrong anymore?

    Look, if there was a stipulation in the reward offer, then that’s that. The stipulation would apply to everyone, not just this guy. Smith was only a suspect. You don’t get reward money for naming a suspect. Smith would only have been the convicted killer in this case if he had been tried and convicted, which obviously he wasn’t. I’m glad the guy tipped off police, but I hate to say that the terms of the reward money were not fulfilled. Therefore, he should not get the money.

  • Jeannine Suibielski

    No, not just a suspect – the police investigation concluded that he was the shooter and closed the case. We are in hard economic times and the ellites will find any old reason to cling to their cash. And doing the right thing is not the issue here, it was stated both in the local news and America’s Most Wanted that there was a reward and so they should “do the right thing” and pay the man. It goes both ways – you want the serfs to do the elites dirty work and risk life and limb, then pay up. With all the money the 1% folks have that low sum is probably what they earn in interest in just one day – it won’t make a dent in their finances – “they” need to do the right thing. And why is okay for the wealthy to make monstrous amounts of money on the backs of the poor and struggling but when the tables are turned suddenly there are loopholes? They only call it class warfare when the little people fight back!

  • Tom R

    Wow… this amazes me. Talk about a turn-around. Matzner’s life was turned upside down in the 1960s when he was accused of multiple murders. You;d think that this would have hit closer to home for him.

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