The district attorney's office in New York's Suffolk County has declined to press charges against the woman who, in her namesake magazine and popular TV series, sets the modern-day American standard for impeccable taste--and who, according to a neighborhood gardener, tried to mow him down with her car.
Prosecutor James Catterson said Friday that--"as objectionable as it may appear"--there just wasn't enough to pursue a criminal case in the matter of the gardener versus Martha Stewart. "It's unfortunate that accusations like this take the D.A. away from much more pressing duties...," Stewart said in a statement.
Still, the dispute isn't going away entirely. There are already two related civil lawsuits pending. (What does one wear to a deposition?)
The Martha mess started last spring--right around cherry blossom season or something like that. On May 21, Matthew Munnich, a landscaper for Stewart's millionaire East Hampton neighbor, real-estate tycoon Harry Macklowe, filed a complaint against the living-well maven, accusing her of: (a) cussing him out like a salty sailor; and then, (b) backing her Grand Cherokee into him, pinning him against the control box of a gate opener. Munnich said the incident left him bruised--you know, like a mishandled guava.
Stewart immediately dismissed the story: "Totally ridiculous."
But what's not ridiculous is the notion of bad blood between Stewart and neighbor Macklowe. In 1995, Mr. Macklowe planted some shrubbery near the border of their properties. Ms. Stewart did not like that one bit. Why? Because it was "inappropriate greenery," that's why. (Martha only fights the big fights.) Anyway, once Stewart found out that the shrubbery/"inappropriate greenery" was actually on her side of the property line, she had the stuff pulled out. (Why is this all vaguely starting to sound like an old Flintstones episode?)
Then, in April, Macklowe tried to get the local zoning board to yank Stewart's occupancy permit for a property addition on the grounds that she was housing an (gasp!) unlawful kitchen.
At the time of her alleged run-in with Macklowe's landscaper, Munnich said Stewart lost it when she found workers building a fence between the two properties.
What with all her neighbor troubles, Stewart's looking forward to moving her Martha Stewart Living TV show to a city-based studio when the series becomes a five-day-a-week program, starting in September. She's previously taped episodes at that suburban war zone she calls home.