“Read it,” Feldman said. “It’s you.”
Jason says, “I immediately checked into the Gansevoort Hotel and began partying. Had a couple of girls come over because I figured I wouldn’t be doing that for a while. When the cops came, I thought, ‘Well, at least I’m wearing my $2,800 rabbit-fur-lined sweater from Jeffrey’s, because who wants to look like a guy in a sweatshirt?’ When they snapped on the handcuffs, all I remember thinking was how I thought NY Confidential would last for 25 years.”
Almost six months later, Jason is still in jail. In the beginning, he was confident that his lawyers, Sachs and Bergrin, after all that money and all those free drinks, would bail him out. That did not happen. With none of his regulars, the trust-fund babies and famous artists Itzler considered his friends, rushing to his aid, Jason wound up in front of Judge Budd Goodman at the 100 Centre Street courthouse, penniless and lawyerless, tearfully asking to defend himself, a request that was denied.
“Ask me if I feel like a sap,” Jason says.
Down deep, he always knew that when all was said and done, after everyone had had their fun, he’d be the one to pay for it. With the Bush administration coming down heavy on sexual trafficking—the religious right’s top human-rights issue—Robert Morgenthau’s office is not of a mind to offer deals to loudmouthed brothel owners, not this election year. As a “predicate” felon from his ill-considered Ecstasy importation, Itzler’s facing a four-and-a-half-to-nine-year sentence. Even if he beats that, there is the matter of his busted parole in New Jersey. Sitting in Rikers, playing poker for commissary food, once again Jason has a lot of time on his hands.
One of the things to think about is what happened to all the money that was made at NY Confidential. A common theory, one Itzler advanced in a recent Post story, is that Clark Krimer, who may or may not be cooperating with the D.A., took it all.
“He stole $400,000,” Jason says. “He should be in jail. If anyone laundered money, it’s him.” Asked if it was possible that he, Jason, had managed to spend a good portion of the missing money, Itzler scoffs, saying, “Who could spend all that?”
When it comes down to it, however, Jason says he doesn’t want to think about Krimer or the fact that Waldroup remains in jail even if he only answered the phones. “I’m staying optimistic,” Jason says, free of bitterness. “It is like I told the girls, if you smile a fake smile, keep smiling it because a fake smile can become a real smile.”
“The problem with NY Confidential was it didn’t go far enough,” Jason says now. “If you really want to put together the elite people, the best-looking women and the coolest guys, you can’t stop with a couple of hours. It has to be a lifetime commitment.” Jason has consulted his prison rabbi, who presided over the recent Passover ceremony during which Itzler got to sit with recently arrested madam Julie Moya (of Julie’s) during the asking of the Four Questions. The rabbi told Jason that as a Jewish pimp who sold women to Jewish men, he was liable for the crime of kedesha. The rabbi did not, however, think this transgression necessarily prevented Jason from becoming a shadchan, or a traditional matchmaker.
“I’m thinking about the future, the next generations,” Jason says from his un-air-conditioned prison dorm. “I think I have a chance to do something good before I die. Who knows, the answer to the question ‘Who is John Galt?’ could be ‘Jason.’ ”
As for Natalia, she is “keeping a low profile.” Last week, she went to see Jason again. Thankfully he didn’t talk too much about getting married inside the prison. Mostly they talked about the strange times they’d been through and how, even if it turned out the way it did, somehow it was worth it.
“I was a young actress who came to New York like a lot of young actresses, and I wound up with the role of a lifetime. I was the Perfect 10. I totally was. It wasn’t the rabbit hole I expected to tumble down, but Jason and I . . . we were happy . . . for a time, really happy.”
Since she received hardly any of her booking money and is pretty broke these days, people ask Natalia if she’s planning on coming back to “work.” The other night, a well-known provider, who said she used to hate Natalia when she was getting those 10/10s, offered to “pimp her out.”