Poison pen author Kitty Kelley is all set to release her unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey on Monday.  Kitty Kelley is well known for her expose tell all books about the rich and famous. Jackie Onasis, Frank Sinatra, and various other celebs have had their skeletons in the closet exposed by her.

Is Oprah the next victim? That question will be answered on Monday. However, it might not be the biting criticism that it has been hyped up to be. Oprah Winfrey is well known for her philanthropic activities and that certainly is the side that the public sees. What few realize is that she is also highly litigious when it comes to people writing unauthorized biographies. More than one author has incurred the wrath of Oprah’s legal team. Yet there seems to have been no attempt to muzzle Kitty Kelley. To the best of my knowledge the only action she has taken is to forbid her staff from talking to the author.

I have to admit that I smell a bit of a rat. My suspicion is that this new book is a watered down version that borders on a love fest of Oprah. The lack of legal wrangling alone is a dead give away. The other interesting aspect is that unlike most books there do not seem to be any advance copies floating around the reviewing circles. Clearly Kitty Kelley is playing on the mystery aspect hoping to publish an instant bestseller.

There is one author who has been successful in fighting off Oprah’s 800lb legal gorillas, Keifer Bonvillain. His book Ruthless did make it to print. When the legal eagles failed, a backup plan was instituted, the PR machine moved in and worked their damage control magic by discrediting Keifer Bonvillain.

I first met Keifer as the result of another project. I learned early on that he is a character who can back up his claims with facts, everything is documented or recorded. In the light of the imminent release of the Kitty Kelley story I decided to contact him and ask him to retell his story. Because of the sensitivity of what is contained in his comments I have taken the liberty of redacting a name. It is revealed in the book, but I will leave it to the readers to find it.

Just a few years ago, I realized just how much influence the rich and famous have.  My ordinary life was altered when I was arrested for a crime I did not commit, thrown behind bars and told I may spend years in jail for something I did not do.  All because the FBI decided to do a favor for one of the richest women in the world.

I had recorded Oprah Winfrey’s office manager.  He spoke about her private life, celebs who visited her show and the unfair working conditions at Oprah’s multi-billion dollar company.  Oprah’s employees are barred from discussing such things by strict confidentiality agreements.  The tape recordings were damaging to Oprah Winfrey’s career and she wanted them.  

Special agents of the FBI invaded my home and gathered what they called “evidence” and placed it under a court seal.  They thought they had removed all traces of my conversations with Oprah Winfrey’s office manager of 8 years.  But they didn’t.

They charged me with extortion and told me I would be spending years in Federal prison.  That’s when they got the shock of their lives.  I had recorded every conversation I had with Oprah Winfrey’s attorney.    When they learned this, they tried to negotiate to convince me to turn over the tapes.  I knew the tapes were the key to my freedom and I didn’t want to negotiate with people who knew I was innocent at the time of my arrest.

Instead, I released excerpts of my conversations to the media.  Extortion experts weighed in and said I had a very strong case.  The FBI didn’t let it go that far.   Two hours after the clips were made public, I was told the charge against me was being dismissed in a pretrial diversion.

One big question has to be hanging over Oprah Winfrey’s head.  They had to wonder if the FBI got all the tapes of my conversations with the office manager.  The answer to that question will probably devastate Winfrey.

I still have the tapes in my possession and they are very damaging to Oprah Winfrey.  They reveal just how far she went to keep her dirty little secrets private.

FBI investigators even implicated my attorney in wrong doing.  **** ***** of the prestigious New York based law firm, *****, ******, & ***** escaped public scrutiny because  his name was not mentioned in the indictment.  For that matter, my name was not mentioned either, it was leaked.  Federal prosecutors suggested that **** ***** attempted to “shake” Winfrey down.


Even after the ordeal was over, FBI agents refused to return the tape recordings they removed from my home.  Now, just a few short years later, I am contemplating releasing the original tapes. Upon releasing the tapes, **** *****’s name will be exposed.  Oprah’s secrets will be exposed, and the truth will finally be revealed!  A truth Oprah Winfrey spent millions to protect. 

I have no clue what is on these tapes as I have not heard them, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be asking for a sneak peek. One has to wonder what they would be worth on the open market?

Simon Barrett

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