Noriega's Wife Accused Of Stealing Buttons

Posted: March 25, 1992

Felicidad Noriega, wife of Manuel Noriega, was arrested last weekend and accused of lifting $305 worth of buttons off designer dresses in a mall store outside Miami, police disclosed yesterday. They said she did $1,243 in damage to the dresses. Noriega, 46, and her three daughters are dressed to the teeth when they attend the former Panamanian leader's drug and racketeering trial. In a series of civil suits, the Noriegas are cited for their lavish spending and multimillion-dollar bank accounts. Felicidad Noriega, released on $1,500 bail after 12 hours in jail, said: "There was nothing. It's just rumors."

LOCALLY CONNECTED

* Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will deliver the keynote address at Friday's National Italian-American Foundation black-tie fund-raising event at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel. Honorees will be Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and State Sen. Vincent Fumo. Among the guests: billiards great Willie Mosconi and baseball's Ralph Branca, who threw the fateful pitch to Bobby Thomson, propelling the New York Giants past the Brooklyn Dodgers into the 1951 World Series. TV newsie Pat Ciarrocchi will emcee. Tix are $150 but it's sold out. Proceeds will go to a student scholarship fund.

Philly student Craig L. Hymowitz is top editor of a new Cornell University newspaper debuting this week that denounces multiculturalism and bashes environmentalism as an attack on constitutionally protected property rights. The sophomore said the purpose of Cornell American was not to advance conservatism but "America as a concept. . . . These are the ideals that nowadays are called conservative just because they're older ideas." Added Hymowitz: "We're not saying African-Americans are bad or Latin-Americans are bad. What we're attacking is the idea of hyphenated Americans."

COUPLES

* We know the Duchess of York couldn't stomach the royal lifestyle and her husband's absences, but what bothered Prince Andrew about Fergie? Plenty, a British newspaper reports. She played music too loud, smoked too much, talked sex with the help, eyeballed bare-chested workingmen - but the worst: She once

went topless at a pool party he attended. A former royal worker told the Sunday Mirror that it happened after Princess Diana dared Sarah to doff her bikini top and the duchess did. The story also notes that the couple pretty much adopted a don't-care attitude over the last year by arguing loudly in earshot of others. Meanwhile, New York gossipteer Cindy Adams reported yesterday that Andrew recently contacted pre-Fergie romper Koo Stark. The former soft-porn star now lives in a Park Avenue flat.

Sharon Stone, this week's hotter-than-hot star of Basic Instincts, is dating country star Dwight Yoakam. But mustn't read too much into it. They only met a few weeks ago. "I'm dating but I don't know what it means at this point," said Stone.

SHE'S BACK

* David Letterman's nemesis, Margaret Ray, was intercepted by police Sunday in the driveway of the TV star's New Canaan, Conn., home. She wasn't arrested, but was put on a train for New York. Ray, who was let out of a mental institution last year on the condition that she stay away from Letterman, took a cab to the house and the cabbie, Brian Zito, alerted police. Zito said the woman told him that the comedian was "expecting me. I have papers to drop off." She has been harassing Letterman for four years and has been arrested six times. Once, he found her lurking in a dark hallway in his house and another time she was asleep in a bedroom.

MEN OF SUBSTANCE

* The Slash hype of Black Death vodka is opposed by Antonia Novello. The surgeon general said on TV's Today yesterday that while she doesn't have the power to stop the ad campaign, her office "has the power to tell the American people that they (advertisers) are going to entice kids to drink." A Black Death exec said the Guns N' Roses star was being used in ads in Spin and Rolling Stone mags, whose average readers, he noted, were over the legal drinking age and earned $37,000 a year. He added that vodka bottles carried warning labels. But Novello discounted that, noting that "adolescents, when targeted by people that they believe are heroes, go ahead and buy it."

Is John Goodman sending out an AA alert? In an interview in April's GQ, the actor says: "I'm probably an alcoholic. . . . I should talk to somebody about it. . . . I drink way too much when I drink. But I really do enjoy it and I want to keep doing it because I like doing it. . . ."

MARKINGS

* President Bush will go to Washington's Bethesda Naval Hospital tomorrow for his annual physical exam. Press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said the check- up will be routine and "focus primarily on an eye check for the glaucoma, which was detected a couple of years ago." Bush also will throw out the first ball of the new baseball season April 6 when Baltimore plays Cleveland in the inaugural game of the Orioles' new $106 million stadium.

Spanish artist Antoni Tapies is taking heat for a sculpture he has designed for the central hall of Barcelona's new National Museum of Catalan Art. It's a 60-foot sock with a hole in it. Explained Tapies, 69: "(It) involves a reflection on the objects of daily life to which we give no importance. I wanted to demonstrate that you can achieve transcendence through a simple object." Like a clothespin?

Mother Teresa, 81, is back to her "normal schedule" after three months of sickness and recovery, her secretary said yesterday in Calcutta. Though she doesn't leave her headquarters, the nun is up each day before 5 a.m. and spends the day praying, meeting with people and answering correspondence.

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