One Picture Is Worth 1,000 Lawsuits

Chelsea Clinton has come a long way since right-wing hacks savaged her for perfectly innocent teenage awkwardness. These days, she’s working for a hedge fund, serving on the board of the School of American Ballet … and locking horns with Nino Selimaj, a Manhattan restaurateur known more for his $1,000 pizza than for enraging international celebrities.

At the crux of the dispute: The restaurant Osso Buco, which Chelsea Clinton frequents, displays a photo of the former (and future?) first daughter with Selimaj. CBS reports that a harsh letter from Bill Clinton’s lawyer, on the former president’s letterhead, demands that the photo be taken down. Not surprisingly, Selimaj has seized the opportunity to publicly pump up his connection with Chelsea, cannily seeming to agree with the request to take the photo down while not actually, uh, doing so:

‘I was really, really heartbroken because I have four daughters and Chelsea is like my daughter,’ Selimaj said. ‘She doesn’t want to be there. If that comes from them directly, definitely, I will remove it. If she really insists to remove it.’

Ironically (or is it all part of a devilish plot?!), all the attention that Chelsea is stirring up by dragging her dad into the dispute is likely to put Selimaj and Osso Buco into papers from Far Rockaway to the Presidio.

And if the CBS news poll is to be believed, public opinion is running 17 to 83 percent in favor of Selimaj. Looks as though irritating American royalty has its perks. And you have to applaud Selimaj’s wisdom for choosing a Clinton daughter over a Bush daughter; Guantánamo Bay offers very few franchise opportunities.