If the book of choice for Upper East Side mothers is the salacious Fifty Shades of Grey — now with its very own New York Times feature — perhaps the Upper East Side story that’s grabbing headlines should be Fifty Shades of Gristina. Anna Gristina, that is, the 44-year-old madam who ran a brothel out of an apartment in that neighborhood, and, as we’ve previously noted, had some notable friends. And the story keeps developing. Now, attention is focused on Gristina’s connections to law enforcement officials, after a red flag went up following a picture in Friday’s New York Post of Gristina with a bodyguard who was a former NYPD second-grade detective. The man, Sylvan “Sly” Francis, also had worked in the Manhattan DA’s office.
The photo was taken in 2001 when Francis was serving as her bodyguard. The Post reports that at the time he was also serving the district attorney. He retired from the NYPD in 2002, according to the Post.
The New York Times City Room said in a post yesterday the photo sent a “shiver of recognition through the ranks of law enforcement:”
Any reasons for the close proximity of Ms. Gristina and the man remained immediately unclear on Friday. And Mr. Francis, on a Facebook page on which he listed himself as having “worked at” the New York Police Department, did nothing to shed light on how he knew Ms. Gristina or why he was seated with her.
“Nice photo of me from back in the day,” was a comment posted on the page along with a link to the tabloid article and its photo. A little while later, a person commented on the posting, writing, “I knew it was you fredo … lol.”
Nice Godfather reference. You broke my heart.
A Post story today explains that the DA’s office had no idea that Francis was connected to Gristina:
“They just found out about this,” said a law-enforcement source.
The source said prosecutors are in “circle-the-wagons” mode as they probe Francis’ relationship with the woman they are accusing of running a 15-year escort service for the rich and famous.
“Now they’re going to go back and look at his record when he was working in the office,” the source said.
Apparently, Francis worked in a different part of the DA’s office than the one investigating Gristina. The Times reports that he worked in the Special Prosecutions bureau.
We’ve sent Facebook message to Francis through a page that lists him as having worked at “Nypd.” We’ll update if we hear back.
Meanwhile, in another element of the Gristina scandal, the Post reports Saturday that a woman who allegedly collaborated with Gristina, 30-year-old Brooklynite Jaynie May Baker, “is negotiating possibly turning herself in as early as next week.”
Baker has been indicted. She has also been on vacation.