A Morgan Stanley investment banker accused of financing the soccer-mom-turned-Manhattan madam has been suspended from his job pending an investigation as he claims he was not the only banker who had worked with her.
Anna Gristina was arrested last month after a five-year investigation which alleges she has been running a multimillion-dollar brothel from a Manhattan apartment for the last 15 years.
David Walker, a broker for Morgan Stanley, was allegedly in talks with Gristina over plans to set up an online prostitution business, and the pair were meeting at the time she was arrested, according to police. He denies anything other than a personal relationship with her, calling her the ‘mom-next-door’.
He has now been placed on administrative leave until an investigation is concluded, according to a source.
David Walker, a Morgan Stanley broker pictured at the door to his apartment on Wednesday, says he had no business dealings with Gristina
‘I’m surprised at having to answer these questions,’ he said. ‘She was the mom-next-door.’
THE BOASTINGS OF A MANHATTAN MADAM
Secretly recorded conversations used by police in the investigation against Anna Gristina, 44, hear her boasting about her ‘well-connected friends’ and hinting as to how she has avoided being arrested for the last 15 years.
The Daily News reported Gristina revealed she had contacts in the NYPD, the DEA, the FBI and ICE, who would tip her off when suspicion was brewing.
In one of the taped conversations, she recounts an incident in 2008: ‘My guy in the FBI called my partner in my land development business and said, “You’d better tell your Scottish friend it’s time to leave the country. And for quite a while”.
‘I had 15 minutes to pack my bags and grab my dog and get out of town.’
She fled to Canada, where she has a property, and stayed there until she was sure it was safe to return.
‘My best friend is friends with the chief director of the FBI for the entire country,’ she boasted.
‘She looked up my green card, my passport number. I’m not on any federal list. And I’m not on any state list.’
Mr Walker added that other Morgan Stanley employees knew Gristina, saying: ‘She had plenty of other people at Morgan Stanley, I don’t know why they’re talking about me.’
But he insisted his relationship with her was strictly personal and said: ‘I never had any business dealings with her.’
He did not say whether or not he was under investigation by his employers or the authorities.
Morgan Stanley is waiting until the investigation is over before taking any further action against Mr Walker.
Another high-end hooker who claims she worked for Gristina has come out of the woodwork to reveal details of the type of operation allegedly run from the Upper East Side apartment.
The woman, who would only give her name as Lizzie, told the Daily News that the prostitution ring attracted everyone from club owners to royalty from all over the world and that women had to both look great, act professionally and lady like and be intelligent.
She said: ‘I’m not a typical escort. I don’t have big implants, I don’t dress like a prostitute. I don’t do drugs, I don’t even smoke.’
Gristina screened all potential clients and chose only the best – though no one ever saw her or came into direct contact with her.
‘Anna is very selective about the girls she has working for her,’ Lizzie told the Daily News. ‘But we never saw Anna.’
The only thing low rent about the operation was that all the money made – which she insisted had to be paid in cash – was kept in the microwave of the apartment the business allegedly operated from.
Racy pictures of Gristina emerged yesterday which show the 44-year-old posing half naked with her buff and bare-chested third husband.
The photo of the British-born mother-of-four posing seductively with husband Kelvin Gorr is a far cry from the plump and matronly figure she posed in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The photo, which was posted on a high school reunion website and Facebook, shows her husband draping a protective arm across his older wife.
‘I’m a CEO, its takes a lot of work’, she wrote to one friend, according to the New York Daily News.
On her LinkedIn profile she cites her profession as an Internet marketer, which seems to be the front she used to most people to cover up her seedy double life.
But friends at home in Scotland believed she was running a temp agency for secretaries, it has emerged.
A close friend from Edinburgh said: ‘When she married [second husband] Dario, she brought him over for a visit and we all thought “She’s fallen on her feet there.”
‘We thought she was doing okay but we had no idea she was earning so much. She just said it was a temping agency for secretaries and things like that.
‘She must have been leading a double life. If it’s true, she has fooled everyone, even her closest friends.’
Meanwhile, high-ranking members of the NYPD, Morgan Stanley and other powerful figures from the political, legal and entertainment worlds are scrambling to cover their tracks before any more information on the alleged brothel comes to light.
It emerged on Tuesday the 44-year-old has many powerful friends and contacts who have helped to protect her – and themselves – in the last 15 years, which is the length of time her prostitution empire has allegedly been up and running.
The high life she led on the Upper East Side could scarcely contrast more with her upbringing in Scotland. According to a relative in Edinburgh, Gristina struggled to cope with the knowledge that she was adopted and disliked her adoptive mother, Annie.
When she was 15, she was left bereft by the death of her adoptive father, jobbing gardener John Tennant, from lung cancer at the age of 57.
A ‘rebellious child’, she ran away from her mother, who was a maid, and the family’s bungalow on the edge of Kirkliston, in Edinburgh. Some years later, she abandoned the country altogether for the U.S. – without even a word to her family.
Claims: Irma Nici said she worked for Gristina for six months in 2002 and confirmed she had well-placed law-enforcement sources tipping her off about planned stings
The relative, who did not want to be named, said: ‘She was adopted aged four months, and during her childhood was incredibly close to her adoptive father.
‘But her father’s death was a traumatic blow to her. She was lost after he died. She felt pretty much on her own.
‘She didn’t have a very good relationship with her adopted mother. There was a clash of personalities, you could say.
‘She left home when she was about 16 years old, and spent some time in Edinburgh and in Glasgow and then she upped and left to start a new life in the States.’
Gristina ‘wouldn’t toe the line or do as she was told’ and was ‘quite a mixed-up child, often very secretive,’ said the relative, adding: ‘She wasn’t particularly glamorous as a teenager. She was quite a good looking girl, but no beauty queen.’
Gristina, the youngest of six children but the only one who was adopted, carried a ‘chip on her shoulder’, especially after her older siblings left home, and tried several times to trace her biological parents. Her adoptive mother died in 1995.
The relative said: ‘I know for a fact that if her dad was here, if he was alive, he would be the first on the plane to stand by her side. I would like to be there for her. I don’t care what she has done. She is still part of our family.’
Since the scandal came to light on Tuesday, NYPD sergeant Richard Wall has already been ordered to appear before the Internal Affairs Bureau with his memo book logging his work for the past five years, according to the New York Post.
He was allegedly seen making repeated trips to the Manhattan apartment that is believed to have housed ‘Madam’ Gristina’s brothel.
Past call girls and sources close to the illicit business are now coming out of the woodwork to provide further details of the ’empire’ Gristina has allegedly been able to run undetected until now.
A source told the Post she employed Penthouse and Playboy models to service millionaire and billionaire clients including hedge funders, CEOs and real-estate moguls.
Intimate photos: According to friends, Gristina met third husband Kelvin Gorr dancing at a club near Monticello in the Catskills and swept him off his feet
High-class escort Irma Nici – who famously claimed to have slept with David Beckham and Eliot Spitzer – told the Post she worked for Gristina for six months in 2002 and confirmed she had well-placed law-enforcement sources tipping her off about undercover stings and investigations.
The call girl, from Bosnia, told the paper: ‘She always did say she had someone giving her a heads up. When the Fleur d’Elite brothel was busted, she was laughing because she had inside information.
‘Everyone was scared when the other agencies went down. But not her.’
Yesterday, Gristina’s attorney was asked about his client’s ‘little black book’ and who may be in there. But he told Good Day New York he never asked her about a so-called black book and ‘it doesn’t exist, as far as I’m concerned’.
Peter J. Gleason said: ‘It’s irrelevant to me if there’s a black book or not.
‘She’s not admitting to anything, except that she is a loving, kind mother who was ripped away from her four children.
‘She’s a kid who came from Scotland with just the clothes on her back and made her way in this country. She lived the American dream.’
He also said the prosecution has not yet shared with the defense team any information or allegations of any activity involving minors or police protection, according to the Post.
Gristina’s current husband also denies any allegations against his wife and revealed the children are devastated by recent events.
Though he wouldn’t address the criminal charges, he said: ‘But there has never been any violence, any drugs or any underage girls. Never.’
He said the couple’s nine-year-old son Nicholas thought his mother was dead and wrote a letter to her ‘in heaven’ but since being told the truth is ‘feeling better’.
One of Gorr’s brothers is a detective in Sullivan County, and his other is a cop in Liberty, New York.
Steamy: Gristina proudly showed off pictures of her younger hunky husband posing half naked with her on a school reunion website
Meanwhile, her alleged accomplice in the business Jaynie Baker, 30, from Brooklyn, is still wanted by police for questioning after they were tipped off she may have been sending customers to Gristina’s brothel.
The pretty blonde claims to work for New York dating company VIP Life, which legitimately supplies wealthy clients with well-to-do ladies who are looking for love.
She has reportedly fled to Los Angeles.
Anna’s daughter Noelanie from her first marriage is said to be devastated by her mother’s arrest
Her Facebook page says she co-hosted a fundraiser for a Texas-based animal shelter called Shelby Shelter with Gristina last year at a West Village night club.
The 30-year-old acts as a contractor who refers men to VIP Life, for which she receives a finder’s fee. The agency only lists men who are serious about long-term relationships and shuns women who are only interested in men for their money.
Founder of VIP Life Lisa Clampitt told DNAInfo Baker was a ‘sweet young woman’ who would never be involved in anything illegal.
But sources told the Post Baker was Gristina’s way out and that she wanted to turn her illegal prostitution business into something more legitimate, pairing rich men with high-class escorts, models who were to be the ‘gold standard of escort services’.
The source said: ‘It was all about her moving on with her life. She wanted out.’
It also emerged she only accepted cash for her girls so as not to leave any paper trail. Some high-end escorts cost $2,000 per hour. To take the girls away for a weekend cost $25,000.
Sources said Gristina took a 40 per cent cut of all earnings, making herself more than $10million over 15 years. At one stage she had more than 50 girls working for her.
Her girls were known to be the best of the best and ‘worth every penny’ of the high price they commanded.
Carefully selected so they didn’t look like hookers and could participate in an intellectual conversation, she banned drinking, drugs and strippers.
The mother-of-four was also said to detest the idea of under-age prostitution, according to the New York Post, though it has been alleged that at least one minor was involved.
She had to be placed under protective custody at Riker’s Island prison because the other women heard she had exploited underage girls.
Suspect: Miss Baker, 30, is wanted by police for questioning as they believe she may have been involved in the prostitution ring
Accomplice: Miss Baker’s profile on the VIP Life’s website, for which she finds eligible wealthy bachelors in exchange for a fee
More details of the double life ‘madam’ Gristina was living paint two very different pictures – one of an animal-loving, charitable, suburban soccer mom, and the other of a shrewd high-end madam and professional business woman.
Neighbours at her sprawling two-story farmhouse in rural Monroe – where she lives with her third husband Kelvin Gorr, their son Nicholas, six pot-bellied pigs and two pitbulls – called her a typical soccer mom who loved animals.
They said the family kept to themselves and led an unassuming life. The 44-year-old is thought to have carried out most of her work from home.
One neighbour said: ‘I am shocked to hear she has been involved in this kind of activity.
‘She just seemed like a normal mom who would wear jeans and a flannel shirt, though she had that strange obsession with pigs, I knew she was involved in a lot of charity work with local farms and shelters.
‘We knew she had some business in New York and would go there for meetings from time to time, but she always said she hated going to the city and would rush back to be with her family and animals.’
At the time of her arrest she was in the midst of coordinating a major rescue of 59 pigs from Florida, Lana Hollenback, of the Tennessee-based Forgotten Angels Rescue & Education Center told DNAInfo.
Happier times: The ‘madam’s third wedding in Las Vegas to Kelvin Gorr approximately ten years ago
Fake France: The couple posed for their wedding photographs in front of a replica Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, right, and with her friends and bridesmaids Lana and Lisa, left
Soon after she arrived in the U.S. the-then Miss Tennant married her first husband Fernando Pak, to whom she had two daughters Suzanna and Noelanie. She was divorced by the time she was 24.
Her second husband, Italian-born engineer Dario Gristina – whose name she still uses – was arrested in 1998 for soliciting a prostitute in Manhattan.
It was the same year the couple divorced, according to the New York Daily News. They have one son, Stefano.
Mr Gristina is now a Conservative Republican Candidate for NYS Assembly and said he was surprised when he heard the news about his ex-wife.
According to friends, she met current husband Kelvin Gorr, a realtor, while at a club in the Catskills, where she is said to have swept him off his feet.
They had a rushed Las Vegas marriage and pictures on her Friends Reunited website show the couple standing in front of a replica Eiffel Tower – he in a black tux and she in a flowing white gown.
They have one son together, Nicholas, nine.
Family affair: Gristina, far right, with her two daughters from her first marriage Noelanie and Suzanna with their step dad Kelvin Gorr
Toyboy: Third husband Kelvin Gorr with their son Nicholas. Sources of the couple say she wooed him after meeting in a bar and they married in Las Vegas
Extended family: Daughter Noelanie from her first marriage to Fernando Pak and son Stefano from her second marriage to Dario Gristina
Gristina was ordered to remain in custody and bail kept at $2million yesterday by a Manhattan judge who deemed her to be a high-flight risk.
It came after prosecutors suggested they would be likely attempt to stop embarrassing revelations about themselves coming to light, rather let justice run its course.
Gristina was just five months old when she was adopted in 1968 by an older couple, Scottish gardener John Tennant and his wife, Annie, a maid, who already had five children.
She grew up in a tiny village close to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh called Kirkliston which was nicknamed Cheesetwon.
When she left for the U.S. after high school, she is believed to have cut ties with her family.
Sister-in-law Gwen Tennant told the New York Daily News: ‘I’m not surprised to hear she is involved in this. We really have nothing to do with her any more.
‘She moved away and never bothered.’
Gristina attended Queensferry High school and boasted to old high school friends she was ‘building an empire’.
The court also heard that British-born Gristina, known in the industry as ‘Anna Scotland’, had a fund specially set up to help her flee justice.
The 44-year-old, who appeared wearing handcuffs, managed only a weak smile to her husband in the gallery as she made a ten-minute appearance in Manhattan’s Supreme Court yesterday, and blew him a kiss as she was led back to the cells.
She also appeared anxious and tried to hide her face from photographers, according to DNAInfo.
Wearing a herringbone pattern black and white jacket and black trousers, her blonde hair was unkempt and she looked more like a librarian than a wealthy vice madam.
She has pleaded not guilty to one count of prostitution in the third degree and will now face a trial.
Husband of ten years Kelvin Gorr told the New York Daily News as he left court yesterday: ‘We are just a great family… and my wife means everything to me. I feel heartbroken.’
During the hearing Gristina’s lawyer Richard Siracusa sought to have the $2million she would have to post if she wanted bail lowered in exchange for her wearing an ankle bracelet.
So far she has not posted the huge sum and is being held in the notorious Riker’s Island prison in New York.
Discussions: The ‘Manhattan Madam’ talks to her lawyers in the New York criminal court yesterday as she was ordered to be held on charges of promoting prostitution
Business: The East 78th Street Manhattan apartment she had allegedly been running a brothel from for the last 15 years
Mr Siracusa said: ‘My client has extremely high bail. She has no record, she has four children…she has a home for rescued animals.
‘For someone who came into court charged with one count of criminal prostitution this is far in excess of what would be necessary to keep her coming back to court.
‘The District Attorney has her passport…The $1m to $2m bail puts her in a special category as some one who is a heinous criminal and that carried over when she goes into the jails.
‘It is not an easy existence there.’
Peter Gleason, left, co-attorney for Anna Gristina who is charged with promoting prostitution, is joined by private investigator Vincent Parco
Charles Linehan, prosecuting for the Manhattan District Attorney, told the court that ‘the risk of flight is very high here’ and that nothing had changed from Gristina’s last court appearance in February.
He said: ‘She has high-worth individuals she counts among her friends and clients that we believe have an interest in not having this case go forward and are in a position to help her flee the jurisdiction.
‘We have evidence she has money squirreled away so that in the event of this happening she could use to flee the jurisdiction. The risk of flight is very high here.’
He added that during a previous police investigation – apparently a reference to the 2008 prostitution bust which snared former New York governor Eliot Spitzer – she had fled to Montreal where she has an apartment.
Kristin Davis, a New York madam who supplied Spitzer with prostitutes, has alleged it was the former governor himself who tipped off someone working for Gristina’s business, Fleur d’Elite, about a sting on escort agencies – prompting the British woman to flee temporarily to Canada.
Linehan explained it was thought she would do the same ‘at the moment’ she was discovered, although she had been arrested before being able to do so.
Judge Juan Merhcan agreed there was a ‘significant’ risk of her fleeing and ordered she remain in custody.
He said: ‘It seems that $2million bail and $1million cash is appropriate given the risk of flight so I am not going to modify the bail.’
Gristina, a suburban soccer mom who moved to New York 20 years ago from her native Edinburgh, was arrested after a five-year investigation during which undercover police taped more than 100 hours of audio where she bragged about her high-end clients, how she had contacts in law enforcement who would tip her off and even how she used underage girls for some of the trysts, according to explosive court documents.
The five-year-long investigation was run by a Manhattan district attorney’s office unit that pursues cases against police and other uniformed city workers, according to a transcript of her February 23 arraignment.
Neighbours say a steady stream of young women – usually of Eastern European descent – would come and go from the second-floor apartment, as did a number of suited business men.
Jailed: Gristina is being held at Rikers Island prison on $2million bond and is considered a flight risk because she has a British passport and a home in Canada
Gristina boasted she had ‘business contacts world-wide’ which are thought to include powerful politicians, top-law enforcement, influential lawyers, bankers, entertainment execs and Fortune 500 businessmen, according to the New York Post.
The DA also said Gristina had not reported any income to the government in a number of years so she will likely be charged with tax evasion as well.
Second husband: Dario Gristina, a Conservative Republican Candidate for NYS Assembly, said he divorced Anna years ago and knew nothing of the allegations
When she was arrested on February 22, she was meeting with an unnamed investment banker at his Morgan Stanley office for a meeting to try to raise money to finance what prosecutors believe may be an online start-up that would match prostitutes with wealthy men.
Investigator Parco claimed she had been trying to set up a legitimate dating website aimed at rich clients.
Minors were involved in some of the encounters Gristina arranged, the prosecutor said.
He cited information from at least one eyewitness account – a confidential informant who was one of Gristina’s prostitutes. Defence lawyers dismissed reports that she had provided underage girls as ‘disgusting’.
According to the Daily News, the escort service offered clients a three-tiered pricing system.
Costs ranged from $1,000 for the ‘Dream Model girls’, $1,500 for ‘Calendar Girls, fashion models and budding actors’, and $2,000 and up for the ‘Ultimate Elite Model’ category.
Mohammed Azad, 32, who owns a restaurant in the building where Gristina allegedly operated her brothel, told the Post: ‘I see people in and out coming over here, sometimes many in one day. I always see young fashionable women, always under 30. They don’t live here.’
Her ex-husband Dario Gristina, a Conservative Republican Candidate for NYS Assembly, told the Daily News: ‘We divorced a long time ago, I am surprised.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111536/Anna-Gristina-David-Walker-defends-Manhattan-madam-accused-selling-girls-rich-famous.html#ixzz1oYR20iKH