Porn Stars

How the mob sent a scary, shocking message to a British press lord

According to Chanes, who was indicted along with Martino in 2003, and later agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, his friend, usually the suave businessman, reverted back to his "other personality, acting like 'Richie from the Bronx,' " which is what the wiseguys called Martino before he became a millionaire. "He's a fucking asshole," Martino said as they left the hotel. "If he thinks he'll publish magazines in the States, he's wrong."

Two weeks later, back in New York, Chanes and Martino learned that Philip Bailey, Desmond's top aide, was coming to town in a few days in search of publishing opportunities. Martino allegedly told Chanes to find out where Bailey would be staying, who he'd be meeting with, and when he was departing. When Chanes relayed the information, his partner allegedly told him: "I'm gonna send a car to get him. . . . I'm gonna give him a message for his boss . . . "

Bailey, who had warned Desmond before the trip that the American customers weren't getting their money's worth for their ads, spent most of a week in the city, meeting with publishers. The day before his departure, he received a call from a woman who said she was with one of the publishing firms he'd met with, and that they would like to send a limousine in the morning to take him to Kennedy for his flight home. It was a gesture of "American hospitality," the woman said.

At 7:15 a.m. on October 24, Bailey met the limo in front of the hotel. A smartly dressed driver loaded his luggage in the trunk and Bailey got in the backseat. Two blocks from the hotel, the limo stopped at a light. Looking to his left, Bailey saw a swarthy, heavyset man in a brown bomber jacket leaning against a wall. "That guy looks strange," Bailey told the driver. "That guy's moving toward us. . . . He's got a gun." The driver said nothing. Behind the man with the gun was another heavyset individual, this one holding a device that resembled an electric shaver. Bailey tried to flee but couldn't because the doors were locked. But when the men grabbed the handles, the locks popped open, and they piled in beside him. The gunman pistol-whipped Bailey, who screamed in pain. "Shut the fuck up, you British bastard," the driver told him. Bailey was struck several times more with the gun, the blows landing on his neck, head, and shoulders. He was trying to break free when the man with the shaver-type device applied it to Bailey's testicles. An electric shock made Bailey hit the roof of the car.

The limo hurtled east toward the river. "Do you know why we're here, you British bastard?" one of the men said. Bailey tried to keep his dignity. "If you know I'm British [you know] this approach won't get you anywhere," he said. In response, the gunman produced a box cutter and slashed Bailey several times on the face.

"We're here because of your fucking boss, Desmond," the gunman shouted. "We want our money back. You tell your fucking boss, it's a small pond. . . . If your boss sets foot here, he's a dead man. A fucking dead man." He punctuated the threat with another zap to Bailey's groin from the stun gun. The beating and curses continued. The driver then told him, "We're gonna let you go; do you know how fucking lucky you are? Tell your boss, you're the message." The two men in the back proceeded to grab Bailey's wallet, taking $70 and his Visa card. With the car still moving, they pushed the businessman out the door. Bailey went flying into the street.

As Bailey was lying there, the car screeched to a stop and then backed up toward him. Bailey thought he was about to be run over. Instead, the car stopped and the gunman got out, tossing Bailey's suitcase on top of him. He walked over to where Bailey lay sprawled and then stomped on his face. "Tell your boss he's a dead man," he said.

Bleeding and with his suitcase spilling open beside him, Bailey tried to flag down passing cars. No one stopped. He limped down East 61st Street to a nearby animal hospital, where a veterinarian cleaned him up. He called two top executives at Penthouse in New York. Bailey was "crying" and "hysterical," the executives said later. They called one of Penthouse owner Guccione's bodyguards to pick him up at the animal hospital and take him to JFK. But Bailey was so injured that British Airways refused to let him board the plane, and the bodyguard brought him back to Guccione's huge East Side townhouse.

There, he was tended to by Guccione's late wife, Kathy Keeton, an ex-dancer who helped manage the porn king's affairs. A former Guccione aide named John Evans visited Bailey at the townhouse later that day, where he found him "pretty bad." Bailey had sustained facial injuries and appeared to be in shock.

Bailey convalesced at Guccione's townhouse for several days. He called Desmond in England, telling his boss about the beating and the threats, that the attackers had said Desmond was "a dead man." He also filed a police report, but while he thought he knew who was behind the beating, he never mentioned his suspicions. Guccione asked him about it, however, and Bailey told him how the dial-a-porn ads had been placed in "bogus" publications. Guccione reportedly responded that he was sorry, and that he hadn't been aware of the problem.

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