Offbeat News Saturday, June 18, 2005 Ketchup mishap stains his reputation... LONDON (Reuters) - An email between a highly paid lawyer and a secretary over a tomato ketchup stain has become the talk of legal circles in London, leaving the sender distinctly red-faced. British media reported with glee the tale of Richard Phillips who emailed the secretary to ask her to pay a four pound ($7.30) dry-cleaning bill after she accidentally spilled tomato ketchup on his trousers. The secretary, who had just returned to work after her mother died, was so irate she forwarded the email to several colleagues at the firm of Baker & McKenzie, who in turn passed it on to others. The emails quickly appeared on the Internet and in the press. "Dear Jenny," the lawyer wrote, "I went to the dry-cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost four pounds to remove the ketchup stains. If you could let me have the cash today that would be much appreciated." Secretary Jenny Amner replied: "With reference to the email, I must apologize for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your four pounds. "Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary." Colleagues had offered to hold a collection to cover the bill but Amner paid it herself. The law firm was not impressed. "I can confirm we are aware of the incident," a spokeswoman said. "This is a private matter between two members of staff that clearly got out of hand. We are investigating." Newspapers also printed several emails sent to Phillips in response. One investment banker said he was deeply saddened to hear about the ketchup stain tragedy while another suggested he emigrate.