In September 2002, when Timmy Iannello was still involved with the Garden of Eden, a doorman named Michael Tardio was murdered off-premises in a bizarre incident in North Hollywood where he and a friend from Las Vegas were shot and killed. According to police, their rented Mercedes SUV was set on fire to destroy the evidence.
"Tardio was trying to fence jewels and it caught up to him,” says Darnell. “Timmy took a lot of heat when he made some specific statements [to police], against the nightlife code of ethics. I was back and forth to New York when all that went down. I made sure to stay clear, once someone got popped. I had priors for that, and if my name would have come up, even in the slightest, I could have become a ‘person of interest.’”
Tardio, 35, a family man with two kids, was well-liked within the club community. He was also, according to multiple reports, dating Sandy Bentley, who along with her sister Mandy (nee Amanda) comprise the Bentley Twins, two of Hugh Hefner’s polyamorous posse of multiple girlfriends, circa 2000 (they both appear on the cover of Playboy in May 2000). Dave Osokow, the bar manager at Citizen Smith, who later dated Mandy Bentley, confirms that her twin sister “ripped off a bunch of jewels and tried to fence them through Tardio.” Tardio’s friend, Chris Monson, a stunt man and occasional actor who had flown in from Phoenix, was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Bentley Twins
The jewelry in question, estimated at worth up to $700,000, had been gifts from Mark Yagalla, a 23 year old private hedge fund manager in Pennsylvania who was convicted of embezzling over $50 million from investors and sentenced in 2002 to five years and five months in prison. According to a June 2001 article in Philadelphia Magazine by Ben Wallace titled “The Prodigy and the Playmate,” the definitive account of the Yagalla saga, the 5′ 3″ classic nerd, nicknamed “Urkel” in high school, was a day trader at fifteen and millionaire by twenty, who dropped out after a year at the Wharton School just in time to ride the tech bubble and subsequent collapse. He eventually made his way to A-list concubines with the help of Nici’s Girls and its proprietor Michelle Braun, an online escort agency specializing in high end clients, who he eventually brought for the first time to the attention of Federal authorities. Braun had “a connection to Playboy,” which allowed Yagalla to use issues of the magazine as his own private home-shopping catalogue for girls whose services he wished to engage, including two Playmates of the Year and top porn star Jenna Jameson (a charge Jameson denies). Yagalla eventually settled on Miss May 1999 Tishara Cousino and Sandy Bentley as semi-permanent co-girlfriends, initially buying each of them a house and car. On their way to Crazy Horse Too – a Vegas strip club where Bentley once danced – Cousino is quoted as saying, “We’ll be a happy family.” (Bentley also dated Herbert “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein, another habitué of the Crazy Horse Too and a top lieutenant of Tony “the Ant” Spilotro – basically, the Joe Pesci character in Casino – who also paid for her breast implants, presumably sometime before he was shot three times in the back of the head.)
But it was Bentley upon whom Yagalla lavished the lion’s share of his discretionary income, eventually buying her a $1.7 million Las Vegas home, with $1.3 million in renovations (including a room especially for her Barbie dolls), $1 million down on a $10 million Manhattan condo, six cars (including a Mercedes SL 500, a red Ferrari F355 Spyder, a Range Rover, a Cadillac Escalade SUV, a backup Ferrari 456 GTS and a Bentley Azure convertible), four fur coats (including a shaved mink and a monogrammed chinchilla), two Rolexes, chartered jets, rented yachts, exotic vacations, and in one haul, “$600,000 worth of jewelry, including a custom-made ruby-and-diamond necklace patterned after the one in Pretty Woman.” All in, it came to around $6 million. When investigators demanded she turn over much of that haul to a court appointed receiver recouping losses for Yagalla’s victims, the Los Angeles Times reported she initially refused “adamantly and with vitriol” before partially complying.
According to Ben Wallace, who had been reporting the Tardio murder for Radar Magazine before one of its periodic publishing hiatuses, Sandy Bentley was simultaneously dating Yagalla, Hefner and an old flame in her native Chicago. After Yagalla’s collapse as a tenable boyfriend, Bentley began to date Tardio as well as Marshall Field heir and nominal film producer Ted Field. “Supposedly, she was really in love with Tardio, but she used him in the sense that she sent him to fence the jewelry,” says Wallace. “I believe that she had arranged the exchange. At the time, I heard it was Russians, but the cops didn’t know, and as far as I know, they never solved it.”
Braun was arrested in October 2007 at her home in Palm Beach, Florida and charged with possession of a small amount of cocaine and drug paraphernalia (a promotional marijuana pipe allegedly belonging to someone else) discovered during the raid, and is currently free on bail. A May 2008 profile in Rolling Stone Magazine titled “The Sex Queen of L.A.” by Vanessa Grigoriadis reports that Yagalla told the FBI he had sent Braun millions of dollars to start a mail order porn rental business, which Braun denies. Although the raid was conducted with a search warrant, she has not been charged with any crime, and in fact scrupulously paid taxes on her earnings throughout the ten years of her performing “introductions.” (“You write a check to [Uncle] Sam for $200k and tell me if you’re in a good mood,” she reportedly told one correspondent.) She now claims she is out of the business for good, and awaits her fate at the hands of the Justice Dept.
Nici’s Girls quickly cornered the high end escort market by posting photos of Playboy Playmates, Penthouse Pets, brand-name porn stars and off-the-shelf beauty pageant winners, Hawaiian Tropic and Maxim cover girls looking to expand their investment portfolio – what movie producer/entrepreneur Gordon Bijelonic colorfully labels “HAMs – Hooker-Actress-Models,” Darnell modifies to WAMs (“Whore-Actress-Models”) and what Ron Richards calls “Mactresses” or Model-Actresses (“Come on, dude – get with the program,” he tells prosecutor Hoon Chun during Darnell’s preliminary hearing when Chun appears suddenly mystified by the nomenclature).
“In the history of Hollywood, do you know how many people have done that?” asks mactress Kristen Williams. “You have a little, and then you start spending a lot, and then you want to get a nicer house to keep up the image, and then you’re going broke and you’re having to sell things. And a lot of these girls meet these rich guys offering twenty grand for the night, and they see a stack of cash. It’s almost like – I’ve heard some girls say this – ‘If I’m going to go to a bar and screw some random guy anyway and never see them again, why not?’ Joe Francis introduced me to Quincy Jones. And I was going over to his house for weeks, having dinner and everything, but I just couldn’t date him. I sat there for hours talking to him, and he is the most brilliant man I have ever spoken to, but he’s in his seventies, and I couldn’t do it. And Quincy told me that even Oprah had this place under the floor where she would keep millions of dollars, even when she was making money – $50, $100 million – because she was afraid that she’d be on the street. It’s a scary thing for some women.” Kristen mentions a story about Victoria Silvstedt, a Swedish free spirit, Olympic hopeful skier and former Miss Sweden who was named the 1997 Playmate of the Year, that has risen to urban legend status – that she was paid $30,000 a day to accept private clients in Dubai. “What girl is going to turn that down?” asks Kristen.
Victoria Silvstedt, June 2006
In fact, Danno, my P.I., reports being one degree of separation closer to that story, having done several dozen electronic searches for Michelle Braun using his Byzantine warren of proprietary databases to screen potential escorts and clients – mainly to see if they could pay the freight. “[Silvstedt] was one of the first ones on her list,” says Danno. “And Nici clearly stated to me that she had a client who was described by her as a dot-com millionaire, a young kid who was only like eighteen or nineteen years old, who was willing to pay a quarter of a million dollars to spend a night with the Playmate of the Year. The Dubai trip I don’t know about; I heard that later through the grapevine. She didn’t name the guy, but she said he lived above Sunset in Sunset Plaza. I don’t know whether she went through with it, although I’m assuming she did, since later on I heard rumors. The thing about Nici is that she said for the right amount of money, she could talk anybody into anything. She felt like everybody had their price.”
"It’s more common than you would suspect,” says Brandi Young.
“Rod” – not his real name, although it is a fake name that he chose himself – was the former right-hand man to Rick Doremus, my drug dealer-turned-DEA informant source who came in over the transom after the Radar piece. A former surfer in his early thirties, inveterate swinger and occasional porn star, Rod meets me at the rotating rooftop bar of the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A. to talk about the game, and how Nici fit into it – but not before I see him roll up in a Prius, the conscientious pimp.
“Slanging [dealing weed], I made thirty grand in a day,” he says. “And along with making money came $2,000 hookers. A lot of times, they use porn stars as high-priced hookers anyway. Then I discovered they have porn agencies with amazing looking women. So I started making pornos. I’d use the hotels that we were selling weed out of, because we were always in nice hotels. I’d be all lonely, and I had money, and I’d be like, let’s shoot a porno!… Nici was probably the best madam, and she only made what – $18 mil. The porn companies are making hundreds of millions.”
“Rod” now runs his own stable of women, having left the more lucrative drug business far behind. His standard pitch goes like this: “There are various avenues to making money, young lady. You can do videos – in which case, I’ll hook you up with a video agent like L.A. Direct Models or Gold Star Modeling or whoever. Or you can do photos for magazines – in which case, I have various photographers you can contact. Or you can do internet: We’ll make a website for you, and you can get money through memberships. And it all kind of cross-promotes. And then there’s also this thing where you can see a guy, and it’s very lucrative, and you can get four grand for two hours – minimum. For that, I will hook you up with this girl – Nici. The best. Nici takes forty percent of the whole thing. And, you know, I get a piece of everything.”
This arrangement worked satisfactorily for his own girlfriend, whose first assignation was with Nici herself – apparently, she’s also a client. “Nici had some dorky boyfriend, and they decided to hire my girlfriend for themselves,” says “Rod.” “So I went to meet her and pick up the check at the Long Beach airport. I tried to get my girlfriend to collect her list. She got ten grand for a night. They were talking about sending her to Dubai for forty grand for a few days.”
No doubt as a negotiating ploy to head off the grand jury indictment that must certainly be headed her way, the combative Braun has saber-rattled on occasion that she plans to name names of high-profile escorts and celebrity clients, either in court or a tell-all book – in-between her claims that what she did was consummately legal, or that she merely provided female talent for “everything from casual meetings to casino openings,” as she ostensibly told writer Anna David in Details Magazine in 2004, the first one to profile her in print. And in fact, a cursory look at some of the names on Braun’s employee roster, assembled from multiple sources, raises an eyebrow – including, as it does, former household-name actresses, celebrity spokesmodels, cable TV hosts and lots of other women who would not seem obvious candidates for this line of work, save that there really aren’t people – inside show business or out – who couldn’t use a spare $40,000 for a weekend’s work. But that’s a little too much karma even for me. It’s her livelihood – I’ll leave it in her hands.
Prostitution may soon hit the cultural watershed that pornography seems to have with the Internet. Personalities like Charlie Sheen, who famously coined the maxim, “I don’t pay them for sex; I pay them to leave,” and once garnered the nickname “Forty Grand” for a single night’s largesse at the Fantasy Island strip club in Culver City, is arguably much more famous today for his dalliances with prostitutes than he would be without. But for the lifers – the emperors – for whom an endless stream of state-of-the-art women right off the showroom floor is not a luxury but a necessity, if not in fact their life’s work, there is another system in place.
And any in-depth discussion of that rarefied domain where the pink meets the green inevitably settles on two names: Ron Burkle and Ted Field.
Field is the older hand – an heir to Chicago’s Marshall Field department store who founded Interscope film company in 1982, then expanded that to include Interscope Records in 1990 with music producer-partner Jimmy Iovine, in the process legitimizing hip-hop with Dr. Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dogg. He is credited as the producer of approximately seventy-five films – most of them recognizable, none of them great (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Last Samurai) – and has been involved in extensive philanthropic work, including AmFar and the fight against Alzheimer’s.
A 1998 novel called Word by the improbably named Coerte V.W. Felske is widely rumored to be a roman a clef about the whirring machinery required to keep Field in women, and concerns a hapless screenwriter who is tapped by a movie mogul to keep a revolving stable of professional ingénues at the ready in post-O.J. L.A. – an era he christens the Age of Astonishment, and its main selling point the “bullets” that ricochet off the canyons:
“Bullets were good-looking chicks that were like a roaring party engine stuck in that one gear, and they would zoom all over the flats and the hills of Hollywood in search of a good time. They were striking. They were fast….”
(Felske responds that Ted Field was “too gentlemanly” to have been his role model, who was more in the tradition of Harry Cohn, Don Simpson and “the dark horses, the real polluters of women” he can’t name because they’re still alive. Of Field, he says, “He pursued women for sure, but always took pretty good care of them.”)
On the other end of the literary spectrum, there is Once More with Feeling, the sequel to the hyper-marketed You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again, in which young women of experience write what they know. Full of barely one-hundred-word vignettes that routinely begin with statements like, “A few months after my suicide attempt…,” this includes “Lisa,” circa “Beverly Hills, 1984,” whose entry chronicles “My First Trick, Ted Field,” wherein the twenty-three-year-old newbie tags along on a call girl’s standing engagement. Here are the highlights:
“Ted was lying on the bed waiting for us. For the next half hour, Penny and I took turns giving him head. She was with him more, because he was her client and because she was, after all, more experienced. That was all there was to it. Thirty minutes later, I was $1,000 richer.
“Ted was soft-spoken, a gentleman and to the best of my knowledge, married at the time. Over the years, I’ve heard that he uses call girls regularly, but he only wants women who are in their early twenties. I never saw him again, but for me, Ted Field was an easy way to start out in the business.”
Ron Burkle is a self-made billionaire in his mid-fifties who owned several grocery chains in California, including the ubiquitous Ralph’s, before selling out to Kroger’s in 1998 and decidedly upping his public profile as a major Democratic fundraiser and philanthropist. His close friendship with President Clinton, whose humanitarian efforts in Africa he has underwritten a significant portion of, inspired a Vanity Fair feature in July 2008 questioning whether his “European lifestyle” was damaging the ex-President’s legacy. (In the story, Burkle’s private jet, which Clinton has called “Air Force Two,” is allegedly referred to by Burkle underlings as “Air Fuck One.” The story also mentions Steve Bing and Belinda Stronach, two names that have allegedly passed through the Will Wright orbit.)
Two years before, a blind item in the New York Post noting a “grocery billionaire” and “close Clinton pal” known for ferrying models around in his plane had so enraged the temperamental swell that he entered into a sting operation with the FBI against Post reporter Jared Paul Stern, who he accused of a shakedown (evidenced by snippets of videotape). Stern was fired but never indicted, and filed a civil suit against Burkle, the Post, both Clintons and others in January 2007 which remains unresolved. And according to a 2006 profile in the New York Observer by Jason Horowitz, Burkle was successful in getting a law through the California legislature that effectively sealed the records of his own 2003 divorce. That law was ruled unconstitutional in May 2006 by the California Supreme Court.
Ron Burkle and Ted Field
But as a go-to guy for girls, Burkle and Field have both reportedly relied on a curious creature by the name of David Reich – the son of prominent sports agent Thomas Reich, and the same person who Darnell claims first turned Paris out.
“He was fat,” says Louis Ziskin from prison. “A lot of big guys can carry his kind of weight, but he is sloppy fat. Feminine fat; saggy fat. He has dark, thinning red hair, but it was blow-dried, and he had more M-A-C cosmetics for personal use than most chicks that I knew. He did have access though, and he was a player in his day. He moved chicks to Ted Field, Ron Burkle and August Busch. These dudes fuck these chicks and then they get him to get rid of them. Then he babies them, washes their faces and puts makeup on them. He catches them when they are vulnerable. “Reich sees Kristen out in the brand new Mercedes I bought her,” “He goes up to Kristen and says, ‘Hey, Ted Field wants to date you again.’ Let me put it this way: I almost had to deal with that cross-dresser. He’s not even a good pimp. He’s an errand boy for Burkle and Fields and those guys. The only reason why they don’t kick him to the curb is because he has the dirt on them.”
“His dad was this huge famous sports agent,” says Kristen, who has been around long enough to have heard most of the angles. “His dad represented Wayne Gretzky [Mario Lemieux, but same difference], but he doesn’t really want to do anything, so he just kind of sits around and hooks up extremely wealthy billionaires with girls.”
So he’s a pimp.
“Well, not exactly,” says Kristen. “In a sly, roundabout, sneaky way. He’ll say, ‘Hey do you girls want to go on a vacation? She likes you, and she likes you and let’s go, you guys will be great friends and we’ll have a great time.’ He does it in a way so that the girls don’t really realize what he’s doing a lot of the time. He tried to put me through that, and I figured out what it was.”
“It was Ted Field’s party in Aspen on New Year’s Eve,” says Heather. “David Reich always gathered these girls. It was Ron Burkle, some guy from Anheuser-Busch and Ted Field. I was a guest of Kristen’s, and I didn’t really know what I was walking into. The one thing I wouldn’t do is put out. I didn’t need to. So David corners me and says, ‘I’ll have you sent home.’ I said, ‘Go ahead, baby – send me home as fast as you can.’ And Ted said, ‘Please stay.’ We were talking about his home, and I was asking him, ‘Where did you get this? This is beautiful.’ I was different. Kristen and I stayed in bunk beds downstairs. I knew that those other girls were, I hate to say, hookers or high-end prostitutes. I’m twenty-five, I dance, I have my own money, I will fly my ass right out – nobody buys me, and no one owns me. And Ted said, ‘Leave her alone.’
“[Reich] wanted to control the situation, but you can’t control it when I have my own money. In Aspen, he kicked a girl out. The girl fell down the stairs because she was tipsy, and they sent her off. I didn’t quite understand at that age what was going on; I didn’t know the players. And Kristen goes, ‘Don’t be mad, you have to be nice to David Reich.’ We had an argument. But he didn’t get the best of me. With the other girls he did.”
“He’s a scumbag,” says investment banker Holt Gardiner, 38. “He tries to test the merchandise before he pawns it off. He gives the girls the [line], ‘Hey, I’m going to get you all kinds of money, but first, you’ve got to give me the love – you gotta fucking suck me off right now before I take you over to get money for you.”
I got in touch with Elizabeth Jawhary, a former Hollywood party girl who claims she serviced both Burkle and Field on occasion. Writer Ben Wallace also met Jawhary doing research in L.A. “She was a recovering meth addict, but she did talk about Paris Hilton being along for the ride,” he says.
Elizabeth Jawhary (left)
Indeed, when I first contacted her, she was quick to volunteer, “With Paris it was very low key. She would fly down and I was there with them. We would party pretty hard. Paris got naked, and the girls would get naked. This was mainly in Vegas. There were times where you would have Ted or Ron come down, and they would pretty much pay for girl-on-girl action. I’d be there. And they’d pay to watch us girls going at it. And they’d bring in Augie Busch III.”
When I finally spoke to her at length in Texas, where she had moved to start a new life, Jawhary seemed clear-headed and fairly devoid of illusion about the fast life she lived at full throttle from roughly 1999 to 2003. Now twenty-nine and working in retail, trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life, she spoke without hesitation of her experiences.
“I can’t stand David Reich,” she says. “He is the most evil, vile person I have ever been associated with. He tried to take advantage of his girls, and I can say that from experience. For instance, when he flew us to New York to meet up with Teddy [Fields], he’d say, ‘Teddy’s going to buy you a Cartier watch…Now, take me to the hotel and jack me off.’ At the time, I was living in Vegas. I’d be flown to New York and Los Angeles to hook up with Teddy or Ron. Sometimes David would tell us that he was arranging a Playboy shoot, and we’d wind up at Teddy’s house. I was a stripper, and for me to take the night off – Ron and Ted would pay us. But they would always give the money to David, and David would pay us, because he was a pimp. Teddy Field and Ron Burkle were really there for him. One time in particular, I remember David flew me first class to New York City. It was for New Year’s, and we were going shopping and Teddy had a place in the Hamptons. David tried to do stuff with me and I refused. And he put me on a flight back on coach.
“When I was flown to New York for Ron or Teddy, we stayed in hotels. When they were in Vegas, we’d stay with them at the Mansions at the MGM, the Palazzos at the Rio and those villas at the Mirage. They always had the best of the best. Whenever I would go to Los Angeles to visit, there were day trips – the dumb photo shoots I would fall for. On those day trips we would always go to Teddy’s house, which was phenomenal, and the photographer was awesome. The limo would pick us up from the airport. The best thing about Ted is that he would have accounts everywhere – we’d have lunch or go shopping on his accounts. Ron was less generous. I can only remember one time I had a good time with Ron. It was when David had me and my best friend flown to L.A. and we went to spend the night with Ron. He told me it was where JFK had affairs with Marilyn. We went to his house at the beach and he had a big thing of Mr. Bubble. He put it in the Jacuzzi, and he was relaxed, and we just had a great time.
“I never knew Ron to get rough with girls, but I did know him to be a dick. If he wasn’t getting what he wanted, he would throw attitude. I think a lot of that had to do with David Reich, and it would kind of trickle down to how he treated girls: ‘I’m going to my room, and you all can do whatever the fuck you want to do.” So, we were just gambling on his dime at that point. He was resentful that we were on his dime. The one common thread with Ron and Ted was that they would watch girls get it on, or get hand jobs or blow jobs. They wouldn’t have intercourse because they were afraid of AIDS, and they were both AIDS Foundation supporters.”
When I finally got David Reich on the phone, at first he thought I was a spy for Ron Richards (apparently they have crossed swords), and then berated me over the Dateline special for identifying the hotel Will is seen chugging champagne at as the Bellagio, rather than Heather’s thirtieth birthday party thrown by Sacramento car dealer Chuck Peterson at his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton (confirmed by Heather). He claims to have kicked a wicked freebase habit picked up around ballplayers in his youth and spent the last seven years sober, counseling young people on the perils of drugs and working with the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.)
“Clearly understand something,” he tells me early on. “I believe in the All-American. If you’re a single guy, you go out and meet as many women as you can, and have fun and try to surround yourself with beautiful women. That was my drug of choice as an adult.”
He also makes sure to mention Krista Allen – the actress, pin-up model and George Clooney’s ex – who acquitted herself beautifully in her role on the Clooney-produced HBO series Unscripted – as a former girlfriend. “One thing about me,” he says. “If I think a chick’s ugly, she ain’t invited. Now, if that was true about me, I wouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere.” But for a paragon of the heterosexual male, Reich seems surprisingly catty, with a weakness for gossip, a fondness for the rhetorical question and the disconcerting habit of punctuating every interjection with “Dude.” This is an epithet he is clearly past his sell-by date to employ by at least a couple of decades, and which seems practiced in a creepy kind of way, like the pedophile who has to stay up on the latest lingo as a kind of professional currency.
“Look, the fact is, Ron is probably the classiest guy I have ever met in my life, and he doesn’t need any help getting women,” states Reich adamantly. “And neither did Ted – he’s a famous movie producer. I think that’s the insulting part of it. You know, I was not a liaison for meeting women. Before I met anybody in my life, I always met women, [but] I didn’t sell them and I didn’t get paid…If they can’t get laid on their own, dude – fuck them.”
He also denies that Burkle and Field were ever friends or traveled in tandem, including the Aspen trip where Heather recalls them together. And he takes great pains in describing his function as purely a social one – a willing member of Field’s traveling circus for a few years there, uncompensated and now all but forgotten.
“As far as people misinterpreting the fact that Ted and I flew all over the world and chased pussy together? It’s a joke to think that he paid me. He didn’t pay me. I will go down in history as not ashamed of it. It’s been written about in the New York Post back in the day. I thought, ‘Hey, if I can get a yacht to go party on with a bunch of friends – isn’t it really me using him?… I mean, I live in a shitty apartment – the girls all know that. I have a car – wow. I don’t have a huge bank account… I never got a penny, because, remember something: Wealthy men have one thing in common, Mark. Do you know what it is?”
No, what’s that?
“They want to show you that they care if they’re your friend, but I didn’t wind up with a bar or a restaurant or something of value at the end of the day. You know what I mean?”
Pressing a middling hand, Reich decides to rope in an independent source – one of the many “girlfriends” in his little black book, whom he teleconferences in to our interview – with mixed results. In his crisp manipulation of the Socratic method, as he puts his young charge through her equestrian paces, he comes off as nothing so much as an imperious cathouse madam, or a wayward Mother Superior – perhaps the same thing.
“I did not grow up to be a pimp,” he states categorically. “And like I said to you at the beginning, it’s funny to me, when I’m a cock-blocker by nature – you see, I can introduce you to ten of my girlfriends right now. How about I do that, just to blow your mind? Why don’t I just pick any chick out of my Rolodex right now and three way-her? Do you mind? Let’s do this for a moment, so you can hear it from one of the hottest models in the world. An opinion from someone who is a friend, not an enemy – not with anything to hide. She knows me, and knows my rules of life, and you can ask her, because, obviously, I haven’t had enough time to pre-plan this, right?
The first call goes straight to voicemail. On the second, what sounds like a street-smart Latina in her early twenties picks up on the second ring. He explains what we’re doing, and that she doesn’t have to use her name (he calls her Aden after we’re done). Throughout, she speaks almost exclusively in exclamation points!
“What are my rules about women sleeping with any men in my world?” he asks her in a commanding tone. “Just tell him the truth.”
“Oh, they’re all whores,” she says.
“No, but what is my rule about allowing it?” he asks.
“They shouldn’t sleep with men unless they’re with them.”
“Now explain to him why I have that rule,” he says.
“You have that rule because, sleeping around, the woman doesn’t get anything out of it, you know?” she says. “Basically, sleeping around doesn’t get you anywhere.”
He tries to steer the conversation from the transactional. “How do I feel when people get around your girlfriends?” he asks her.
“Oh, very protective,” she says. “You’re very protective over your girls.
“My girls,” he says, audibly exhaling. “You mean my friends.”
“Yeah, your girlfriends. You’re on a look-but-don’t-touch basis.”
He asks if she has ever thought of him as a pimp.
“Well, pimping ain’t bad,” she says. “Yeah, in a good way. Not in a street sense. Like, you don’t sell them off to have sex with somebody.”
“Meaning I like to be around beautiful women,” he clarifies.
“Yeah, you like to be around beautiful women, and you want to make sure that they’re making money,” she says.
“What happens when you’re out with me and a man approaches you – what happens?” he asks, now slightly annoyed.
“Um, we’re not allowed to talk to them. We don’t want to. They have to go through David.” Doubt has begun to creep into her voice.
“No, how do I help women professionally?” he asks. “Modeling and acting and things like that. Give him an example of like ten things I’ve done for you.”
“Cleaned up from head to toe,” she recites. “Make sure she’s the hottest thing walking around so that nobody can deny her. Make her personality friggin’ lovable and hot and sexy.”
“What did I do professionally for you?” he snaps. “You’re being an idiot.” At his insistence, she confirms that he selected and paid for her haircut, sent her to acting and commercial workshops, got her auditions at modeling agencies and introduced her to producers and directors – none of whom, she emphasizes, tried to sleep with her.
“And how do you see me being mean to girls that I no longer want to hang out with?” he asks.
“Shit, you just tell them they have bad breath, they can’t act, they aren’t going to make a dime in this city and you’re basically telling them the truth, even though it’s going to hurt sometimes,” she says. He tells her he’s going to talk to me some more now and will call her back later.
I note that David should have his own reality show.
“Shit yeah, dude, and then they’ll be calling me and saying, ‘David said you had bad breath and aren’t going to be making a dime in this city,’ and I’d be like whaaaaaaat?”
Reich tells her he’s going to talk to me some more now and will call her back later.
“I didn’t end up being the guy I thought I was going to be,” he says. “Because I was lazy, and I did like living the good life, and I didn’t want to work for it… I just had thirteen staples in my feet because they split open from diabetes, and I have a white blood cell problem, so it doesn’t heal my feet. They’re all wrapped up and bleeding as we speak. But I’m not a pussy, and I’m not scared of anyone. The good news about my life is I turned it around… If I was still out and about, and never gotten sober, I would be in jail with the rest of them. Or dead.”
[NOTE: I was recently contacted by the owner of a top Hollywood modeling agency who, on behalf of two of his models, has filed sexual harassment reports against Reich with the LAPD and the FBI. Due to the ongoing investigation, I won't identify the agency or the models, but here is what one of the models has to say about Reich:
"His rule was, in his world, everything was looking and not touching, and that you did not have to get sexual. But, to become an adult and a woman, you needed to be sexual with other men... He once had me try on bathing suits in front of him, telling me he was going to get me on Brooke Burke's show wearing swimming suits with her. And he made me change in front of him, and then he would also masturbate in front of me claiming that that was his world, and it was all looking and no touching. And then, the last time I went over to his apartment, he kind of scared me off talking about his power, and his guns and everything. And then he told me to go into the bedroom and take my clothes off. And then he, I mean, did it. He forced me to open my legs, and then he performed oral sex on me. And then he made me do the same thing to him. And then, basically, he kicked me out. I didn't talk to him after that because I realized he was a bad person. He would say things, and brainwash you into thinking things. I wanted to leave before he told me to go into the bedroom, but he really frightened me. He said that he wouldn't ever hurt someone, but - if he had to - he would shoot to kill basically."
The modeling agency owner interjects, "He did bring in a third older girl who made her feel more comfortable, who told her, "Oh, this is all part of it. Don't worry. We all do it."
The model substantiates this: "He told me to come over, and I would meet all these Hollywood people. Nobody showed up. It was just me, this other girl and David. And he said, 'Now we're going to introduce her to what we do.' And so she started touching him, and he was touching her in front of me. I was basically watching and he tried to make me think that that was normal. I knew it wasn't normal, but I thought it was like a one time thing that happened, and it would never happen again. But, by this time, he had said so many things to brainwash me, I mean - my God! He took me to acting classes and said that I was going to be in movies. But one or two days after that, he did all that stuff to me."]...
*Excerpted from a spiked Six Degrees of Paris Hilton Chapter