Listen, I know you have a lot of money. Like, piles of cash that you don’t know what to do with.
But surely, there’s got to be a better way to throw your money away than to keep trying to haul me into court.
I suppose you might be thinking, now that you’ve managed to have your attorneys wipe your Wikipedia page of the disturbing record of your sexual behavior, that your story has faded into the background and you can plague me with this deposition nonsense without consequences.
Think again, Braveheart Boy.
I found out the other day that you’ve appealed a judge’s decision after he agreed with me that I shouldn’t have to testify in your pathetic legal action against your former fifth wife. In 2007, our writer interviewed that wife and now you’re trying to drag us into court, saying that merely talking to her violated the conditions of some no-doubt sadistic gag order you had her under.
But we both know why you really want to get me under oath. You have never gotten over our 2006 article that outed your years-long sexual relationship with one of your daughters, which culminated in the bizarre “wedding” you had with her in Westminster Abbey.
I’m guessing that by now you’ve managed to get yourself back into the good graces of your hedge fund buddies who maybe didn’t hear that little tale the first time around. And with Wikipedia scrubbed, you must figure it’s time for a little payback in the form of some old-fashioned gratuitous lawyer-harassment.
While we await the outcome of your appeal, why don’t we just reacquaint readers with what landed you in court to begin with.
It all started — for us, anyway — when a reporter named Kelly Cramer visited the federal courthouse in Miami and leafed through a docket. She wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just keeping an eye out for something out of the ordinary, when she stumbled on a document showing that a woman named Linda Schutt was suing her own father (um, that would be you, Bruce).
Wondering what kind of family squabble it could be about, Kelly asked for the case file and started digging. She soon realized she’d hit on the biggest vein of journalistic ore in her career. That Florida federal case turned out to be just one of five going on in jurisdictions around the country, including Mississippi, Connecticut, New York, and California. Soon, she was pulling paperwork from every one of those lawsuits, and, oh, what those documents revealed.
Here’s what Kelly found in those court documents, and in the voluminous research she did in interviews with people you had known and worked with.
Over the years, as a high-flying financial player at places like Bear Stearns and then later managing your own hedge fund, you had not only amassed a fortune, but you had reproduced prodigiously, having six children by three different women, and then marrying a fourth. Then, in 1990, there was that great shock: You learned about Linda. Gorgeous, talented, eager-to-meet-you and all-grown-up Linda.
See, back in 1968, you’d had a short fling with a woman named Myra Westphall, a woman you hadn’t heard from in decades. What you apparently didn’t realize was that your short affair had left Myra pregnant, and that she’d given up the child for adoption. That little girl, Linda, grew up and, naturally, once she’d become an adult, wondered about her birth parents.
Myra, after Linda tracked her down, in turn put Linda in touch with you. That must have been some surprise to find you had a previously unknown 21-year-old daughter taking classes as a sophomore at San Diego State, Bruce. In fact, you did the prudent thing and asked Linda to take a paternity test, just to make sure she was actually your child. After the test came back positive, showing with 99.7 percent certainty that she was your daughter, you enthusiastically took her into the family, made her part of lavish family holidays, set up a trust fund for her, and even paid for her to finish college.
Then, eight years later, it was time for Braveheart.
In her video deposition, Linda herself tells the seduction story in chilling detail. She had finished college and was almost finished with a PhD in psychology when she visited you in your palatial Westchester County estate. I’ll let Kelly Cramer take over here for this next part…
….According to Linda’s testimony, that night in 1998, McMahan’s fourth wife, Cynthia, was at a spa, and a housekeeper was somewhere on the premises. “He opened a bottle of wine. He poured me a glass of wine, and we drank together.” While they leafed over his writings, he began to tell her of his sexual relationships with past women. He preferred them slender with wide cheekbones. “He told me he liked to buy furs for women and have sex with women on mink coats.”
McMahan, who was then around his 59th birthday, asked his daughter, 29, to move to his bedroom and watch the first 30 minutes of the movie Braveheart. He wanted her to see the love story and clandestine wedding that unfolds in the opening act of Mel Gibson’s film because, Linda testified, it reminded him of his relationship with her.
Then McMahan really started to lay it on thick. Linda testified he told her he believed they’d been married in a previous life. Earlier in the evening, she remembered, he had pointed out that her legs were a “very sexy version” of his own.
“He asked me what it would be like to kiss me.”
Later that night, he found out.
On his bed, he kissed her and ran his hand over her body, on top of and inside her clothes, she testified. The petting session lasted two hours, she recalled. When Linda said she was tired, McMahan suggested they sleep in separate bedrooms. After Linda returned to California, her father asked if she was OK. She said she felt confused.
Their first episode of actual sexual intercourse wouldn’t take place for several months. For that encounter, McMahan arranged a fairly dramatic setting — a hotel suite in London after a transatlantic flight.
Adding to the strangeness of this tale is that just about the time you started sleeping with your daughter, Bruce, she had begun dating seriously another man she had met in San Diego, a man named Sargent Schutt, who was originally from Mississippi (a seemingly trivial detail that later turned out to have a huge significance).
According to Linda’s testimony, while her relationship with Schutt deepened, her boyfriend was oblivious to the fact that she was carrying on an affair with her own father, one that included salacious e-mails which eventually became a part of the court record.
There was this e-mail, for example, that you sent on September 10, 1998, after you and your daughter had bought each other matching dildos: “I unpacked the toys and checked them out. The thing excites me just looking at it. I promise you have never seen anything like it. Interestingly ‘it’ is actually smaller than I am! But what moves! I should have been so lucky. They are now packed into their own bag and I am going to make sure we have enough AA batteries to last for the duration.”
That dildo purchase would certainly come back to haunt you, wouldn’t it? But we don’t want to get ahead of the tale.
Linda testified that even after she and Schutt had gotten engaged, and her wedding neared, you were still porking her with that bigger-than-your-vibrator tool of yours through the end of the summer of 1999 and “up until” the day of her October 1999 wedding. Finally, with her trip up the aisle about to happen, she cut you off.
You weren’t happy about it, she said.
There was that strange toast you gave at her Sausalito wedding, for example: “This is the beginning of the end,” you said, attempting to quote Winston Churchill. Linda said you never explained that one, and it clearly bothered her.
You moved on from the sexual relationship, but still wanted to keep Linda close, giving her a plum job as CEO of one of your nonprofits. Four years later, she was pulling in a hefty $10,000-a-month salary.
But at that point, in 2002, she announced at a family dinner that she planned to have children with Schutt, and you reacted angrily, telling her that children with Schutt was “not part of the plan.” Then you kicked her out of her job.
That’s when Linda and Schutt moved back to Mississippi, and a year later, her health began to fall apart. She’d inherited from you something called Reiter’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, and it was giving her cataracts and attacking her heart.
Although she hadn’t spoken to you since that dinner when you fired her, you reached out to your ill daughter, sending private jets to transport her to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. When she responded to treatment and began to recover, you insisted that she convalesce at your condo on Fisher Island, just off Miami, which is one of the most expensive zip codes in America. There, Linda could enjoy the spa at a posh retreat you had built to entertain your rich clients.
Linda testified that when she agreed to go to Fisher Island, she made it clear to you that it would be a “strictly normal father-and-daughter relationship.” You agreed, and even gave her another high-paid position in one of your firms.
But soon enough, you made your move. By April of 2004, she testified, you were sleeping with her again, and this time, you wanted to cut Sargent Schutt, her legal husband, out of the picture for good. You were eager to take the next step and planned another trip to London that June.
“We traveled to London for some business, and during that trip, Bruce took me to the Westminster Abbey and we exchanged vows,” Linda testified.
Yes, vows. In Westminster Abbey, where the kings and queens of England are crowned.
We know this bizarre event actually happened, because photographs of you and Linda outside the famous building made their way into the court record, and in those photos, you both prominently showed off the expensive Cartier wedding rings you had bought for the occasion. Especially poignant is the photo that’s just a close-up of your hand on hers, to show off the rings — the one that the two of you titled “Says it ALL.”
Soon after the June 2004 “wedding,” the two of you started referring to each other as “H” and “W” in your e-mails, cute shorthand for “husband” and “wife.” There was this one, for example, dated six days after the ceremony: “Miss you W. Think nasty things about you all the time.” Linda answered: “Mmm yeah, nasty is so good. You must have read my mind. What else can we say, we’re H & W — that’s the beauty.”
Now “married” to your daughter, you wanted her to push Schutt away, didn’t you? Linda testified that you convinced her you’d only pay her the “big bucks” if she got Schutt to sign a “postnuptial” agreement.
He did, and the poor sap wrote in a letter to Linda, “May you have all the money in the entire world to yourself.” He knew that you’d screwed him over, Bruce. But he would get his revenge, wouldn’t he?
Meanwhile, as you insisted that your daughter dedicate herself to you, you were trying to do the same for her, and that meant getting out of your fifth marriage to a woman named Elena, a Ukrainian bartender you had met on a cruise ship. You filed for divorce in January 2005, about six months after the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
But Elena was no dummy. She knew what was going on. And that’s when things started to fall apart, didn’t they?
Elena, suspecting there was something going on with you and your daughter, had found copies of the Westminster Abbey photos and other evidence on your home computer that she put into an affidavit and filed in your divorce.
Elena had you by the short hairs.
Panicked, you went to Linda and asked her to file a sworn statement denying that she was having an incestuous relationship with you.
And here’s probably the most incredible, ballsy moment in this entire sordid tale: Linda refused. Rather than lie, she told you to forget ever getting a sworn statement from her that supported your untruths.
She also refused to continue sleeping with you. At some point, she testified, she realized that the sick sexual relationship, the money you were lavishing on her, the travels abroad, the head trips you were laying on her about past lives, and all the rest — all of it had to stop. “This was a difficult if not unbearable time of my life as I continued to be abused and subservient to McMahan’s sexual demands while at the same time knowing that I had lost any semblance of my marriage with Sargent,” Linda said in a sworn statement.
Oh, you were in deep shit. Of course you must have known just how much more evidence there was of your years-long, deviant behavior with your daughter sitting in her computer hard drive. You knew you had to get your hands on it.
So you sued her for possession of her computer, the one you had given her as an employee of one of your firms. (You couldn’t actually say the real reason you wanted your hands on the machine, so you sued her for stealing “trade secrets.” Cute.)
And that’s when the legal shit-storm really started.
Just think about the audacity of it. You were suing your daughter after fucking her for years.
What a genius.
Linda sued you right back, and that son-in-law you thought you had cut out of the picture? He sued, too. And that’s where things really got interesting.
See, Sargent Schutt, as a resident of Mississippi, sued under a state law that doesn’t exist in many other places in the country. He sued you for “alienation of affection”: In other words, he was holding you liable for screwing up his marriage.
You can’t do that in New York, or in California, or in Florida. But in Mississippi? Well, they have a different set of ideas down there about stealing away a man’s woman. (Just to make things interesting, you turned around and sued Linda and Schutt and Schutt’s dad, claiming they were just trying to extort you.)
Schutt was no dummy. He collected some very interesting evidence about you, didn’t he?
After one of Linda’s trips back home to Mississippi from Fisher Island where she’d been screwing you, Schutt looked in her luggage and found one of those vibrators you seemed to enjoy so much.
Schutt put it in a plastic bag, and then later sent it to a lab for testing. By that time, Linda was also suing you, so she was happy to cooperate with him, and gave a cheek swab to help the lab make its test.
And what a test. See, Bruce, when you’re doing this kind of journalism, you do your best to get documentation on things, interview people for their perspective on the facts, and do what you can to draw conclusions on hard data. But when you’re talking about something like incest, things can get dicey. I mean, sure, Linda said under oath many times that you were screwing her, and that you enjoyed dildos and stuff, but how do we really know that you two were doing the nasty?
In this case, Bruce, we know. Oh, boy, do we know.
See, with Linda’s cheek swab sample, the lab was able to confirm that the sticky residue on the sex toy Schutt had found in her luggage contained examples of her skin cells. (Ew, right?) But there were other cells there, too. So what did the lab do?
It did a paternity test. That’s right, the lab was able to show with almost total certainty (99.9891 percent!) that the sperm cells on the vibrator were those of Linda’s biological father.
That’s you, buddy.
So, by the time Kelly Cramer wandered into the Miami federal court to have a look-see in 2006, there was an algae-bloom of scum-filled documents padding court files from one end of the country to the other. You were suing Linda. She was suing you. Her husband, Sargent, was suing you, and you were suing him and his dad. You were even suing Linda’s new boyfriend in California, the one she had taken up with after she and Schutt split permanently.
And now the whole thing was going to come out in a story in our newspaper, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, as well as in its sister-publication, The Village Voice.
So what did you do? What rich people always do. You tried to silence everyone with your cash.
With just days to go before our story was to be published, you wrote checks for millions of dollars to settle all of the lawsuits and get them sealed from public view as quickly as you could. (You also hired an L.A. public relations firm in an attempt to intimidate us, and even tried to haul us into court to have legal materials pulled down from the website, but we don’t scare easy, bub.)
Now, I had to admit, it was pretty smart sealing those court cases. See, I knew full well how other news organizations handle these kinds of things. Even though you were a super-rich Westchester County resident who managed hedge funds and had spent several years shtupping your own daughter and had even “married” her in Westminster Abbey, The New York Times, I knew, would never touch this story if they couldn’t pull the court files on their own. And sure enough, they never have. (Kelly Cramer tells me, however, that you were never able to convince the federal judge in Connecticut to seal the case there, and Times reporters can to this day use Pacer to download some of the original documents in all their sexy glory — they just might look up Civil No. 3:05-CV-01456, if they had any interest.)
The New York Post, God bless ’em, did put together a righteous write-up of its own, relying on our reporting, but then the Post had at least one reporter who knew all about you, and convinced editors there that you were every bit the scumbag our story made you out to be.
If the Times stayed silent, newspapers and magazines from Greece to Australia inundated us with requests for the Westminster Abbey photos and other documents.
The heat got so bad for you, we heard that you were spending a lot of time in Dubai. (Looks like you’ve also changed your name, slightly. Born David Bruce McMahan, you went by D. Bruce McMahan until we wrote about you. Now you’re David B. McMahan, apparently.)
But we weren’t done with you. Eventually, that fifth wife, Elena, wanted to tell her own tale.
At the time of our 2006 story, “Daddy’s Girl,” you had reconciled with her (temporarily), and she didn’t want to cooperate. But a year later, she’d changed her mind.
Kelly Cramer and one of our photographers got together with Elena and took a trip up to your Pelham estate, and the result was our 2007 story, “Daddy’s Dog.” (Note to Wikipedia: this story appeared in the Voice, not BPB.)
Elena explained to Kelly that you restricted her to certain parts of the estate, and so Elena was unable to show us the legendary bedroom where you’d seduced Linda with Braveheart.
Elena also told Kelly how you regularly threatened to have her deported or to take away the two young children you’d had with her.
The woman was terrified.
Today, Elena is telling the court that she never talked to Kelly Cramer or was photographed by the Voice at all — that she never showed anyone your precious estate.
No doubt, this is a frightened woman’s attempt to save herself and her children from whatever evil you have planned for her. My feelings certainly aren’t hurt that Elena is now saying in court that the Voice made up its story out of whole cloth. It isn’t true, but knowing the way you are, I don’t blame Elena one bit for trying any and all legal strategies to fend off your litigious attacks.
Still, you can’t help working all the angles, and you’ve used Elena’s denials about the Voice story to try to haul me into court to defend the Voice‘s honor.
Nice try, moneybags.
The court saw through your little stratagem, but you’re appealing the judge’s decision to quash my subpoena because, well, why not? You have more money than you know what to do with.
That couldn’t be more obvious seeing how much money you spent scrubbing Wikipedia. For months after our original story came out, you had your goons launch daily attacks at the website, using sock puppets and other methods to intimidate the online encyclopedia into removing any mention of what was in our stories.
For a long time, there was only the barest evidence of what we’d written, a link to Kelly’s story at the bottom of your page, which was otherwise a press-release-sounding happy page about your companies.
Today, there’s no page at all. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, you don’t even exist.
Now that’s the raw power of money for you.
Still, our original stories are maintained at both The Village Voice and New Times Broward-Palm Beach, and both websites also link to the original court exhibits, some of which I’ve also linked to in this piece.
If The New York Times and other news organizations will continue to ignore your sordid tale, and Wikipedia will be intimidated out of mentioning it, at least here at the Voice, you’ll always be in our thoughts, Daddy.
UPDATE: Wikipedia’s reason for not wanting a McMahan page? According to one of their minions, I’m a “hack.”
The last time, while they were under constant attack by McMahan’s lawyers, they pulled down references to our articles because, they said, The Village Voice was not a legitimate source of information for biographies of living people.
Say what? I tracked down the Wikipedia minion who had written that, who turned out to be an electrical engineer in England. He sent me some long explanations about the nature of journalism and what information is reliable. But eventually, I got him to admit that Wikipedia was wiping the McMahan page simply through fear. They were afraid of being sued by McMahan, but it was easier to say that the Voice wasn’t a legitimate source. You can imagine that my respect for Wikipedia took a nosedive at that point.
This time, we get a Wikipedia minion saying that McMahan isn’t “notable” and that I’m a hack. You can almost smell the fear, can’t you?
Not notable? Well, OK, Wikipedia, how’s this for notable. It turns out that moneybags McMahan put on a show earlier this year with his new $3 million race car, and unveiled it with the help of 2010’s Playmate of the year, Hope Dworacyk. Notable enough for you?
I don’t know. Hedge fund kabillionaire, noted “philanthropist,” race car dreamer, Westchester County bigwig, and…oh, he married his own daughter in Westminster Abbey. Is that really not notable enough?
UPDATE 2: And now it’s down. Well, we learn once again that Wikipedia is afraid of McMahan (which is fine, we don’t expect others to take on these kinds of stories), but that they will continue to slime the Voice as their reason for taking down information about him.
For the benefit of Wikipedia editors, who still may not understand this situation, the Voice is doing things the old-fashioned way here. We are reporting what court documents revealed about a relationship between a very notable super-rich old guy who abused his grown daughter for years. Those facts are contained in court documents which are available here and elsewhere. Normally, that is the bedrock of what Wikipedia considers legitimate sourcing. In this case, however, McMahan’s money talks.
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2010