In perhaps the most audacious raid Bonnie Fuller has conducted on a former employer, Wenner Media officials admitted Wednesday that Michael Lewittes, the news director-head gossip writer for Us Weekly, is headed to American Media Inc. But he will not be working at The Star. Wink, wink. Instead, he’s going to the company as the east coast editor of “Street Performance Compact,” a bimonthly, 100,000-circulation title edited “for the new generation of performance-enhancement enthusiasts focusing on serious tuner engines.”

The move was apparently concocted because Lewittes had a non-compete clause in his contract that prevented him working at the Star until at least November, sources said.

This story first appeared in the August 14, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Michael Lewittes, who doesn’t have a driver’s license or know how to drive, is going to work for ‘Street Performance Compact,’” said Kent Brownridge, Wenner’s general manager. Regarding the heist of Lewittes, he said: “And you think my lawyers aren’t hovering as we speak waiting for him to call some [celebrity] publicist for comment?”

Brownridge said he expects a replacement to be named shortly. A spokesman for AMI said, “Pecker started this magazine a year ago and it took off. It is tied to the VH1 crowd of 18-24 year olds. Michael will come up with events and things to tie into the magazine.”

But asked whether Lewittes might be headed to Star in the future, i.e. when his non-compete clause runs out, he said, “At an appropriate time in the future he will join Star Magazine.”

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