The New York papers boldly headline the dispute between Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Grammy Awards chief Michael Greene. It's a name-calling spat which makes it likely that next year the city won't be hosting the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ceremony.
"If they want to go back to L.A., they can," Giuliani pronounced at a City Hall news conference Monday. "We could replace the Grammys in about a day. You say we're going to lose $40 million? We'll replace that with three other things." (What those things were he did not make clear.)
Last year, Giuliani had lured the Grammys away from the gloomy Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, offering the greener pastures of a Knickless-for-the-night Madison Square Garden.
He even took a shot at L.A., commenting, "This is the difference between a city that's for real and a city that's on tape."
This year, the 40th annual ceremony, which is telecast to a world audience of more than 1.5 billion, is scheduled for Radio City Music Hall February 25.
But the mayor won't be there, the result of a feud which started January 6 due to a mix-up over whether or not he would get to read part of the nominations list.
Giuliani claims that Greene was abusive to his aide, Margo McGinness, telling her to, "Go [bleep] yourself!" Reports in the New York Post escalated the dispute by alleging that Greene was overheard rapping out, "I'm going to kill her. I'm going to kill her and all the [bleep]-ers who work for the mayor."
Greene, president of NARAS, has denied making such remarks, sending a letter suggesting it was McGinness who first raised her voice. But he also sent her a bunch of roses, which were returned.
Giuliani says Greene is "lying" and that his refusal to acknowledge the lie was the reason the flowers were sent back.
"I do not plan to have anything to do with the person who runs the Grammys. I think what he did, his conduct, was disgusting and reprehensible," said the mayor.
On Monday, a spokesperson for Greene said he was traveling and told the Post, "He's not even aware of the mayor's comments."
But on a more conciliatory note, she called Mayor Giuliani, "a great friend of the recording industry."
In Los Angeles, Mayor Richard Riordan, who is reportedly planning a Valentine's Day wedding to his longtime companion, Nancy Daly, was unavailable for comment.
But Cody Cluff, a commissioner at the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, told the New York Daily News he had been in discussions with Greene for some time about returning the awards ceremony to Los Angeles.
He added, "We'd very much like to have the Grammys back." And in Nashville, Grand Ole Opry President Bob Whittaker jumped on the bandwagon, stating they'd love to host the show because, "Nashville's known worldwide as Music City U.S.A."
Reportedly, no decision will be made about next year's site until this year's ceremony--with or without the mayor--is over.