Man Arrested for Attempting to Extort $250,000 From Paula Deen

A New York resident wanted $250,000 to stop him from going to the media with 'true and damning' information

New York resident Thomas George Paculis was arrested today and charged with extortion, after he allegedly asked Paula Deen's attorney for $250,000 to keep "true and damning" information from the press.

Reuters reports that Paculis had first approached both sides of the Lisa Jackson lawsuit (which sparked the recent Paula Deen racism scandal), claiming he has information "true and damning enough that the case for Jackson will be won on its merit alone," Paculis allegedly said in an email to Greg Hodges, Deen's attorney.

The affidavit claims that Paculis then went onto say, "There is a price for such information... You can contact me here if you feel it is necessary ... or I can go public and we will see what happens then..."


Hodges contacted the FBI, which instructed Hodges to respond to Paculis, negotiation a reduction in payment from $250,000 to $200,000 in emails and phone calls, Reuters reports. Paculis was arrested Friday on charges of extortion, the FBI said in a statement.