Restaurant apologizes for fake ID incident

The restaurant that narced on the Bush daughters is backpedaling faster than an esophageal backup after a bad bean burrito. Facing irked e-mails and boycott threats after a manager called 911 when Jenna Bush flashed a fake ID to buy alcohol (resulting in a misdemeanor charge), Chuy’s Mexican restaurants co-owners Mike Young and John Zapp have sent form letter apologies to those who have e-mailed their company Web site. “We realize that many of you are upset with the recent occurrence at our Barton Springs location, and we want you to know that we are too,” the letter said.

“Usually we wouldn’t have handled this in the way it was handled,” Young told the Austin American-Statesman in Tuesday’s online edition. “With that said, these are very unusual circumstances. A packed restaurant with high-profile celebrities there puts a lot of pressure on your management team.” But then again, who do you call when it’s on a presidential level? Secret Service? Fortunately, the manager who made the call won’t be dumped otherwise the Democratic Party might snap him up to do “Just Say No” ads.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press they don’t need to get involved. “Certainly it can be addressed by the police, but it’s not always necessary,” said Rick Coy, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department. “Many times they can solve the problem by refusing to sell the alcohol to the individual.” As for the restaurant backlash, Young said, “there’s always some complaints it doesn’t matter what you do.”

Many wrote in support of how it was handled. Do they get a drink coupon?

BAD HOUSEKEEPING: New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is not having a good year, self-inflicted as it may be. Now his girlfriend, whose visits to the mayoral mansion offended the mayor’s wife and even New York sensibilities, is being sued by her ex-husband for custody of their 16-year-old daughter. Bruce Nathan said the girl doesn’t much care for the publicity surrounding mom Judith Nathan, and it’s affecting the girl’s school life.

The custody petition was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court late Monday. The Nathans divorced in 1992. Although the daughter’s primary residence of record is with Judith Nathan, she has been staying with her father and stepmother since December. The teen told her father Judith Nathan is “completely focused on her relationship with her new boyfriend and is not interested in spending time with (her),” the court papers allege. The papers also claim the mother had physically threatened her daughter and, worse, Giuliani had made “nasty remarks” about his girlfriend’s ex.

Bruce Nathan said he had no “recourse” but to file the petition after Judith Nathan abruptly filed hers, asking family court for increased child support because her ex-husband’s income had risen while hers decreased. Raoul Felder, who is representing Judith Nathan, had no immediate response. Felder is also Giuliani’s attorney, and has generated headlines by publicly berating Donna Hanover, the mayor’s estranged wife. Meanwhile, Giuliani has sent the New York Post a letter demanding an immediate retraction and apology about a news story of a “romantic hideaway” shared by Giuliani and Judith Nathan at the posh St. Regis Hotel. The lovebirds complained to the Post editor in chief that the paper was warned the “defamatory” story was false before it was published, but no go.

IS THIS LIKE A FAKE ID?: Now we know what the Secret Service are doing when they’re not trying to stop the presidential daughters from making headlines. They’re confiscating fake money. About $1 billion worth of fake money printed by Gregg H. Bilson Jr.’s prop company was blown up during the recent Las Vegas filming of “Rush Hour 2.” People grabbed the fluttering bogus bills and then tried to spend them.

“The product they were producing was just too close to genuine. Notes were successfully passed,” Assistant Special Agent Chuck Ortman said. The Secret Service ordered Bilson to stop printing the cash and sent a recall letter to every production company that has bought it. Federal law requires that reproductions be 75 percent or smaller, or 150 percent or larger, than the size of real bills. If colors other than black and white are used, only one-sided copies can be made and negatives, plates or disks of the bills must be destroyed after use.

“It’s unfortunate,” Bilson said, noting his company strives to meet movie producer demands for realism. “This is yet another reason for people to say, Well, we’re going to take our production to Canada.” Besides, Canadian money is prettier.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: Jessica Simpson >has managed to time her break-up from Nick Lachey from 98 Degrees with the release of her album “Irresistible.” During her fancy New York launch party hosted by Columbia Records and Teen People, he was a no-show. An industry insider confirmed the breakup apparently due to demanding work schedules they supposedly have not seen each other in three months, even though Simpson reportedly said she still loves him.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail