Berkley had also seen DiCaprio and Ferguson around for years. When DiCaprio was on Growing Pains and Ferguson on Evening Shade, Berkley was a Saved by the Bell cutie. "The last time I saw Jay, I was probably 17," says Berkley. "In L.A., you just see everybody around at events and auditions." However, she declined what seemed a rather odd request. Berkley says, "I told Karen I'm in love with Roger."
But that, apparently, wasn't the end of it. "The next morning on my voice mail," says Berkley, "there was a message from Jay, saying, 'Hey, baby, Karen gave me your number, we're going to dinner later, we want you to come.'" Throughout the day, Berkley says, she also received around seven messages from Tenzer, which she ignored, until finally, around midnight, there was one from Tenzer's assistant saying "Karen needs you immediately," giving Tenzer's cell-phone number, which she dialed.
"The first thing Karen said was, 'Why didn't you call Jay back?'" says Berkley, with quiet outrage. "She said, 'Your presence is requested here.' Her tone was very impatient. And I said, 'What, are you trying to deliver me to these guys, Karen?' And she said, 'Well, you know.'"
"Really upset," Berkley went to Wilson, who was in their living room watching sports. Hearing what had gone on, Wilson (who's from Brooklyn) asked for Tenzer's cell number and got Jay Ferguson on the phone. "I said, 'Look, Jay,'" says Wilson, "'I know you guys are having a great time and the town is your apple -- but not this part of town. I don't know how this got started, but I'm just asking you please not to call my home again, and Elizabeth has asked please that you not call her again. . . . Okay?'"
"And then I heard a lot of profanity," says Berkley.
"There was a two-second pause," Wilson says, "and then it's, 'Fuck you, you fuckin' faggot, fuckin' motherfucker, we'll call whoever we want and if you don't fuckin' like it, why don't you come down here and tell us to our face?'"
"Thus," Wilson says with a sigh, "I put on my shoes and went to the Morgans hotel," where Leo and friends were dining at the restaurant Asia de Cuba.
The back table was full: DiCaprio was there (he had nine rooms booked at the hotel), as were Ferguson, Tenzer, Julia Ormond, Byrne, and about eight other posse members (no David Blaine that night). At the appearance of Wilson, the table fell silent. Wilson demanded of Tenzer why she was calling Berkley so late. "And then Jay Ferguson jumps up and says, 'I'm the one who called you, fuckface, and it's time for you and me to go outside,' " says Wilson. (Ferguson did not return phone calls from New York.)
Wilson went. Ferguson went. And then, according to a sworn statement reportedly given to police by the restaurant's chief of security (who, three weeks later, was no longer employed there), DiCaprio said to the others at the table: "Let's go kick his ass." And the rest of the table, minus Byrne and Ormond, followed.
Wilson claims two hotel security guards stood on either side of DiCaprio, who was smoking a cigarette, as he and Ferguson squared off on the sidewalk outside the entrance. "I'm facing Jay Ferguson, two feet in front of me," says Wilson. "The other guys are yelling at me, 'Fuck you, faggot! Go home, you fuckin' wimp, you're pathetic.' You know, all this."
Tenzer was also outside, according to Wilson, attempting to make peace; she held up her cell phone, saying, "I think this is all my fault. I can explain." Just then, as Wilson was momentarily distracted, someone -- not Ferguson -- punched him in the Adam's apple. He doubled over. And suddenly, the posse "went crazy, saying, 'Oh, no, oh, no, this can't happen!' And they jumped on the guy and threw him back in the hotel. They were protecting him," says Wilson. "And I never saw the kid again."
Wilson's larynx was damaged. His attacker still hasn't been identified. For now, the D.A.'s office isn't talking about the case, but Roger Wilson "was definitely assaulted," says Detective George Wich of the 6th Precinct, who's heading the investigation. "We're taking it seriously."
Karen Tenzer, contacted at her office in L.A., denied any involvement in the curious scenario. "I was just having dinner," she said. "Leonardo DiCaprio is not my client." "I can't answer whether any of Leo's friends called Elizabeth," Cindy Guagenti told me; elsewhere, Guagenti has said, "Leo's friend did call Elizabeth, but it was to invite her to dinner with them."
"That girl" -- meaning Berkley -- one of Leo's friends says lightly, "would have come in a second if we'd wanted her to. Any girl would."
Was there something about being Leo that attracted trouble? Do these sorts of things just happen to you if you're the most sought-after young man in the world?
I was at Ñ on Crosby Street, not looking for Leo, when I thought I saw him. I jumped out of my chair. "That guy doesn't look like Leo," said my friend Greg, pushing me down. "Maybe Leonardo Smith."
It turned out the young man's name was Troy Allen, and he was a recruit from Detroit for a large brokerage firm. He was the same age and height as Leo, had the same paleness, the same loose-limbed, lanky look. The fires of Leomania licked at my brain. "How'd you like to be Leo for a night?" I asked him.