Buzz

The incredible shrinking designer
Dallas designer Victor Costa is known in fashion circles as the copy-cat couturier for knocking off the work of leading fashion designers. Recently he's borrowed something else--the time-honored method of dealing with civil lawsuits by filing bankruptcy. Thirty days before Costa was supposed to appear in state court in a sexual- harassment suit filed by his former house model, Laura Pilgrim, he declared personal bankruptcy. Costa listed his assets at between $1 million and $9 million, and estimated his debts at more than $1 million.

The attorneys representing Costa in the harassment suit filed a motion to withdraw at the same time he filed bankruptcy, citing his inability to pay them. Meanwhile, Costa is apparently doing some corporate belt-tightening as well. He recently let go three employees in his Dallas headquarters and closed his New York showroom.

Batting cleanup
Dudley Wetsel, the former vice president of business affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, had tried to sound warning bells about former President Ryan Amacher's profligate ways. When officials in the UT System rebuffed him, a fed-up Wetsel took early retirement on March 30.

But the resignation of Amacher and one of his appointees, in the face of a faculty no-confidence vote and a potentially embarrassing audit by the UT system chancellor, left Wetsel vindicated. Then he was rewarded. Last week, Wetsel was called out of his retirement--which lasted all of two weeks--and named special counsel to UTA's new interim president, Robert Witt. Wetsel's first assignment: cleaning up the athletic department, which is in the hole to the tune of more than $1.4 million.

'Kidd's the Man'
When the ballots are counted this week for NBA Rookie of the Year, there's little doubt Detroit Piston Grant Hill will top the list: he's got the national profile, the big-city cachet, the GQ cover in his favor.

But not everyone will agree with that pick.
No rookie, including Hill, has had a bigger impact on his team this year than Jason Kidd, who helped elevate the Mavwrecks from a 13-win team last season to a 36 wins this year. Kidd can claim credit for the fourth-greatest improvement by any team with a rookie starter. Only NBA stars David Robinson, Larry Bird, Lew Alcindor, and Mitch Rich-mond have boosted their teams as much in their first year.

Kidd recently won the vote of no less a hoops authority than Branford Marsalis, the former "Tonight Show" bandleader whose knowledge of basketball is second only to his understanding of jazz. Marsalis backs Kidd.

"Kidd fuckin' deserves [Rookie of the Year]," says Marsalis, a courtside regular with Spike Lee at New York Knicks home games. "There's no question. All ya gotta do is look at the record the Mavericks had last year and the record they have this year, and it points to one guy. Not that the other guys can't play. Please. I'll take Jamal Mashburn; but Kidd's the fuckin' man." With the knowledge of a sports writer and the passion of a fan, Marsalis reeled off to Buzz his assessment of the Mavs' strengths (conquering hero Dick Motta: "he's older and more tolerant now") and weaknesses (Roy Tarpley: "Shit, what a waste. Give that body to me.

 
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