Stewart and Lynda Resnick decry unflattering new book as 'fiction'
Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the noted L.A. arts patrons and owners of POM Wonderful and other brands, are denouncing a new book that they say paints an untruthful portrait of them and their Sunset House property.
"Unreal Estate" by Michael Gross explores the history of L.A.'s prime real estate, digging into the back stories of enclaves such as Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Park.
Gross previously wrote "740 Park," a history of one of New York's most expensive residential buildings, and is also the author of "Rogues' Gallery," a portrait of the machinations behind the establishment of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In an email last week to friends, Lynda Resnick said Gross' new book contains "lies and gross exaggerations about Stewart and myself."
She continued: "Mr. Gross has a history of focusing on the wealthy and appears to have an axe to grind with those individuals."
Sections of "Unreal Estate" that have appeared online depict the Resnicks in an unflattering light: "Their complex blend of business and social ambition and their relentless, sometimes ruthless pursuit of success in both public and private spheres have left the Resnicks occupying a weird space in the social strata of Los Angeles .... "
"Unreal Estate" also goes into some detail about the couple's businesses, including a section on the controversial environmental record of the Fiji Water company.
In her email, Resnick said the couple's initial statement to the book is, "We don't respond to works of fiction."
The Resnicks are leading patrons of the L.A. County Museum of Art. The museum's latest building, the Resnick Pavilion, was named for them following a $45-million donation. The couple collects art and is active in other fields of philanthropy, including healthcare.
-- David Ng
Photo: Lynda and Stewart Resnick. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times