Inna's group was tusovka -- a happening. "She had it in her blood to be a party person," says Frances Grill. "She liked rounding up girls to go to clubs at 2 a.m." Restaurant and club owners began to lure her and the Almosts with free meals in exchange for their filling a table or two.
De Silva was eventually fired by Click and, discouraged and near-broke, started collecting fees for promoting dinner parties on slow nights at restaurants like Grolier and Jour et Nuit and clubs like Au Bar. Inna's pack included a few real models she'd worked with. Buzzing around them was a swarm of more accessible Almosts. A circle of admirers "was solidified by these dinners," says the Eastern Bloc-born businessman. "She would call the Russians and we would go."
De Silva admits she made introductions. "The girls that might not be great for Vogue were great for something else," she says. "They look good in someone's arms." Despite what many who know her claim, however, she says she never got paid for making introductions. "I know who I am," she tells me one afternoon, sprawled in the back of a stretch limousine someone else is paying for. "I give a lot, and I've been very disappointed with a lot of girls. They're very ungrateful. I introduce them to sugar daddies. I help them get their lives together. I've learned now: Do it and expect nothing. They live on Fifth Avenue, and I'm walking around with $300." De Silva sighs heavily.
"I know it sounds naïve," she says, but "I can feel for these girls. I can guess the trauma they went through. A provincial girl, born in the middle of nowhere in the ex-USSR, before she gets to the first big city, she goes through 100 guys. To get to Moscow, 300 guys. To get to the West, 500. They're links in a chain. You meet ten, three promise something, but you go through 50 before one comes through. Russian girls are so greedy because they're badly damaged. You meet them, and you can see the anger inside.
"I remember watching girls at the bar move to the banquettes and three weeks later, they'd have their first Chanel bag," De Silva continues, hastening to add: "Not the ones I was inviting, of course." But they were watching, and keeping score. "Russians are so competitive. Whose boyfriend gives them more? 'You got a bag? I got a car!' "
The men they meet, of course, are playing hard, too. "They think they're running a game on us," says a young investment banker. "They hang out; they shake their titties. They're only after money, so we flash some, we fuck 'em, and we dump 'em. We trade 'em like stocks. We teach 'em American capitalism at its best."
And in New York, who doesn't play? As another investment banker points out, "These girls see New York women playing the same game under the veil of high refinement. New York society girls call them hookers and hate them. But what is the difference, except that the Russians admit it?"
Inga Banasewycz, then 19, met her aging sugar daddy, Orhan Sadik-Khan, at a dinner in 1990 at Tavern on the Green. In the lawsuit Banasewycz would file against Sadik-Khan, she said that their relationship was "purely sexual." Sadik-Khan's "appetite for sex was insatiable," and he sought "control over every aspect" of her life so she would be available to him "whenever he wanted her."
Sadik-Khan took Banasewycz with him to Russia, where, her best friend, Evgenia Gvordetskaya, says, she helped him do business. Her own suffered. Banasewycz couldn't control her weight, so the modeling jobs dried up. And when she tried studying drama at NYU, Sadik-Khan "became upset and controlling," Gvordetskaya says. "He didn't let her do anything, basically." The couple broke up briefly in September 1995 but reconciled shortly thereafter, and Sadik-Khan evidently relaxed his grip on her. He even put up the "couple of hundred thousand" that earned Inga her credit (under another name, Inga Galiullina) as an executive producer of an independent movie, Fool's Paradise, according to its writer-director-producer, Richard Zakka.
In February 1997, Sadik-Khan rented Inga an apartment at the Galleria, insisting, she claimed in her suit, that she remain home at all times so he could have sex on demand. She charged he sneaked in and penetrated her while she slept, would pretend to be an infant and suckle at her breasts for three hours at a time, begged her to procure other women for group sex, flew home from vacations just to have sex with her, took hundreds of nude photos of her, asked her to describe sex with other men, and insisted that she have "wild" sex with him in his wife's bed in Greenwich. Sadik-Khan begged her to have a baby, she asserted, promising her $1 million if she did, and repeatedly told her that he "wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, and that if she remained with him, she would be financially secure for life." Yet when she twice got pregnant, she claims he demanded she have abortions. And finally, when she again begged to work, she says he promised her $500,000 if she wouldn't.
Sadik-Khan's lawyer declined, on behalf of his client, to comment.
"What she did is pure extortion," says a Russian model. "She lived a free life; he was supporting her. She didn't want a career. These girls don't work nine to five. It's not their thing."