April 14, 2000 10:00am
Louie's Sex-Extortion Feud
Source: E! Online
by: Mark Armstrong
Authorities say it was a very un-family feud, and a blackmail game that portly funnyguy Louie Anderson was done playing.
An Arizona man has been charged with trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Family Feud host, in exchange for not telling the tabloids that Anderson asked him for sex.
And - apparently fearing a Pee-wee Herman-esque end to his TV career - authorities say Anderson initially complied, paying him $100,000 to stay quiet, until the ante suddenly got upped.
Richard J. Gordon, 31, was arrested Tuesday and charged with extortion, after allegedly leading federal authorities on a high-speed chase through West Los Angeles and dropping two loaded pistols out of his vehicle.
A federal magistrate on Thursday ordered Gordon held without bond in a Los Angeles federal jail.
In letters to the comedian, Gordon claimed the comic approached him at a Southern California casino in 1993. Anderson purportedly asked Gordon to go home with him and strip down and let Anderson touch him, according to court papers. The letter says Anderson then changed his mind, instead asking just to see Gordon take his clothes off, but Gordon refused.
In a statement released after the arrest, Anderson didn't directly address Gordon's claims. But he expressed gratitude to authorities for taking action.
"Being a target of criminal activity is an unfortunate and increasingly common byproduct of celebrity," the statement reads.
"Louie Anderson has expressed his appreciation to the authorities for their swift and effective response, and intends to cooperate fully with federal law enforcement as this matter makes its way through the criminal justice system."
Authorities say Gordon's letters started showing up in 1997, when an assistant to the comedian was approached by Gordon at Bally's hotel in Las Vegas, and was handed a letter. Gordon allegedly wrote that Anderson should take him seriously, because "stars are falling left and right," and "now that you are working with kids it makes it even worse."
Between 1997 and 1998, Anderson paid Gordon $100,000 to keep the story out of the tabloids, authorities say. Anderson reportedly feared for his contract hosting the new Family Feud, not to mention his future with Fox's animated kids show, Life With Louie.
But Gordon then allegedly upped his demand to $250,000, and Anderson's lawyer called federal authorities.
Anderson's assistants arranged to meet Gordon in a Los Angeles restaurant to hand over the check, authorities say. Undercover FBI agents then confronted Gordon, and arrested him after he jumped in a pickup and led them down Santa Monica Boulevard at speeds of up to 80 mph.
Authorities say Gordon will likely be arraigned May 1. Gordon's lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment.