Beaten Barrister Jacks Up Jury

The War Zone
Blame game! Everybody was at fault in the Sheppard trial except losing lawyer Terry Gilbert, according to the appeal he filed Monday. Gilbert is asking Judge Ronald Suster to overturn the verdict mainly, he argues, because the jury didn't deliberate long enough. In private conversations since the trial, two jurors haveconfided that they not only found Gilbert's DNA evidence unpersuasive, but bought the prosecutors' theory that Dr. Sam bludgeoned his wife with a bedside lamp. Now Gilbert wants a new trial without jurors, whom he claims lacked "gravity and seriousness." "That's a real slap at them," says County ProsecutorBill Mason, who asked for a jury trial. "These people took 10 and a half weeks out of their lives to listen to our arguments and witnesses. To be so disingenuous is, in my view, inappropriate."Gilbert apparently prefers the court of public opinion, where he claims "countless people . . . around the world are dumbfounded by what happened in this case." Too bad their votes don't count.

Was so much ink ever expended on so little as The Coventry Road Shopper's myopic dissection of Dick Feagler's columns last week? Feagler won't comment on the inept excoriation, but was said by friends to be mightily upset by it -- which is hardly surprising. The piece nitpicked decades-old reminiscences, made a mountain out of a photo mixup molehill, and even resurrected the old chestnut about a staged graveyard scene that Feagler has been telling around town for years. "I live in Lorain, 25 miles from Cleveland," says author Ken Gottlieb, which is part of the problem. A part-time copy editor at The Chronicle-Telegram, Gottlieb believes that, "When you make a living lecturing other people on right and wrong, you have to be squeaky-clean. And I don't believe Feagler is anywhere close to squeaky-clean." We'll remember that the next time the Shopper editor is shilling for one of the clients of her husband's law firm.

Agora impresario Hank LoConti Sr. has bought the troubled Aqua nightclub, which he is renovating and plans to reopen undera new name next month. "It's still going to be a dance club," says Agora General Manager Anthony Nicolaidis. "But we're thinking more upscale, a place where people actually use the ashtrays."Among the many legal troubles facing former owner Gary Bauer is a lawsuit filed by LoConti, who claims Bauer owes him $15,300 for unrelated business services. Whether or not he collects, LoConti now owns one of the sweetest river bars in the Flats, though it will definitely not be billed as such. "The goal is toget lumped in with Tremont," says Nicolaidis. "The last thing Cleveland needs is another nightclub in the Flats."

Speaking of Tremont, the Hi & Dry Inn has a new owner: Fairview Park wedding caterer Mark Pariano. "I signed the papers on a Wednesday, and on the following Wednesday I signed my divorce papers," says the gleeful Pariano, a self-proclaimed "male Martha Stewart." Pariano originally planned to open an Italian bistro in the behemoth Gospel Press on West 7th, but plans to convert that building to an entertainment/shopping mecca fell through. He'll keep the current menu, with the addition of arty, "weird-shaped" gourmet pizzas. His clientele? "People with money." They're starting to overrunTremont like deer in the Metroparks.

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