Reputed mob associate John Berkery has created a Web site to embarrass Temple prof Allen Hornblum, whom Berkery has sued for defamation.
Berkery's HornblumExposed.com is devoted to the author of "Confessions of a Second-Story Man: Junior Kripplebauer and the K&A Gang." Berkery sued Hornblum in 2006 for defamation over his portrayal in the book. A New Jersey court passed summary judgment in favor of Hornblum, citing lack of malice necessary to prove slander.
Berkery, 74, now a paralegal, doesn't quite deny a criminal past but says it wasn't as bad as Hornblum's descriptions in the book, released in January 2006 by Barricade Books. Temple University Press was supposed to publish it six months earlier, but Berkery, implicated in the infamous 1959 Pottsville heist involving showgirl Lillian Reis and the burglary of coal baron John B. Rich, threatened to sue Temple if they published it.
HornblumExposed.com has a letter of apology from Barricade Books to Berkery, who says his site shows the "bum unmasked totally for the fraud he is and always has been." The site features a DVD of a Hornblum deposition that it sells for $40- though it's hard to believe anybody would feel the need to own one.
Hornblum, who's working on a new book about a Philly spy, says that "John Berkery and I have well-established public records. Anyone interested in learning more about us can consult the Internet or an array of Philadelphia newspapers over the last few decades - in Mr. Berkery's case a half-century - and garner all they need to know about our various pursuits and interests."