The Case of the Litigious Ghostwriting Firm


By Carmen Comment

The Boston Globe’s Alex Beam has a curious item that peeks inside the shadowy window of ghostwriting firms – specifically, the Penn Group, an outfit specializing in ghostwriting, college counseling and now, lawsuits. Since the beginning of the year, Penn has been pursuing a $1.8 million lawsuit against Somerville-based psychologist/writer Lauren Slater for breach of contract, tortuous interference with business relations, and slander. (Slater, who courted controversy in the wake of publishing OPENING SKINNER’S BOX, ghostwrote Rosie O’Donnell‘s FIND ME and CELEBRITY DETOX.) With access to the court documents, Beam outlines how the relationship between Slater and the Penn Group’s founders, Brad and Evan Bailyn, move from euphoria to skepticism to name-calling, and how the same trajectory applied to firefighter-turned-ghostwriter Zac Unger.

The rush to the courthouse isn’t doing any favors for Penn, Beam argues. In the Slater case, Evan Bailyn filed a motion to seal from public view the fact that he uses the pseudonym “Sandy Resnick” when dealing with Penn Group clients. Opposing the motion, Lawless wrote that Bailyn didn’t want Penn clients to discover his personal website, another devoted to “cartoon dolls” and a “highly dubious” list of personal projects that lists publishers and vaguely hints at what they have sold without really spelling it out. In any case, this should be a fun little lawsuit to follow…