ORLANDO — Grieving grandparents George and Cindy Anthony have learned a lesson in TV exploitation.
After insisting for months that they haven't made any money from the disappearance of their grandchild, the Anthonys' lawyer released documents this week indicating that a family spokesman pocketed $6,500 from NBC without the couple's knowledge.
Rumors of big-money media deals have circulated ever since 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony disappeared and her mother, Casey Anthony, became nationally known. Caylee was reported missing four months ago. A grand jury indicted her mother on a first-degree-murder charge last month.
NBC's payment of a "photo licensing fee" in connection with an upcoming Dateline NBC news magazine story with the grandparents proves there is money to be made. ABC's 20/20 already confirmed it paid to use exclusive photos and home videos of the Anthonys — but who profited remains a mystery.
Entertainment-industry experts say more money could be made from TV, movies and books deals.
"There are a million pilot fish attached to this shark. Everybody's looking to make a buck," said Judy Muller, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Southern California and a former ABC news correspondent.
Traditional news outlets, such as the Orlando Sentinel, don't pay for interviews. But many national news outlets regularly shell out "extraordinary" amounts of money for family photos and videotapes, she said.
On Wednesday, George and Cindy Anthony's attorney, Mark NeJame, accused Larry Garrison, a California man who offered the couple public-relations advice, of "pimping" his clients out.
NeJame released an Oct. 21 invoice and an e-mail exchange between Cindy Anthony and a Dateline producer that indicated Garrison was paid $6,500 for pictures. The lawyer said Garrison had no photos to sell and that the spokesman told NBC not to tell the Anthonys about his arrangements.
"I never agreed to go on any shows for money," Cindy Anthony said. "I was told numerous times that nobody was making any money."
NeJame said the Anthonys have fired the spokesman.
Garrison has denied making money since he began representing the Anthonys in August. Asked about the new information, he told the Sentinel that the invoice, showing his company's fax number, California address and his signature, was a fabrication.
He also said he has resigned as the Anthonys' spokesman because of their erratic behavior.
Garrison describes himself as a film and television producer, journalist and actor. He is a co-author of a book about the 2005 disappearance of an Alabama teenager in Aruba.
He also represented the family of John Mark Karr, who falsely admitted to killing Colorado 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.
Leonard Padilla, the California bounty hunter who thrust himself into the case and helped orchestrate Anthony's initial release from jail, said he has been offered money for interviews and photos.
Padilla said he turned the deals down, saying it was bad "karma."
But Padilla is associated with a Web site that charges viewers $9.95 for a year of information about the Anthony case, including theories on what happened to Caylee.