When I saw how far Mary, Steve and Paul were willing to go I panicked and started running up and down the stairs throwing things together for an escape. I was terrified. I called Jay to tell him I was stopping by. I was afraid they had my phone tapped, so I drove to another town and made a collect call to an out of state friend and told him I was in some trouble and needed a place to stay for a while. After being told it was no problem, I made a quick stop at Jay's before returning to my house to gather more things and make plans. But Jay didn't answer his door. I became nervous thinking someone got to him and immediately left for my house.
I said my good-byes, told my roommates they could sell everything I owned, and left that night. I made another stop at Jay's, spoke with him, and then continued.
The entire trip was terrifying. At a rest stop, I saw another biker and we started talking. Afraid he might be following me, I had to lie about where I was headed. I arrived at my buddy's house quite late to find the family was asleep. I crashed out under the stars and watched the meteor showers. At least that was relaxing.
Tuesday afternoon I was going through the papers, reviewing the death sentence Mary and her friends sent me, when I noticed I had never signed that letter. Figuring I might be able to get away with saying it was a forgery, I decided to go back to New Jersey. There was one problem however; a court appearance was required earlier that morning. That was for the Municipal Court of Lower Township stemming from the arrest I received through the mail. Knowing I missed it, I called a friend in New Jersey and asked to stay at his house until I could call the court to settle the matter of not showing.
On Wednesday, August 14, I went to the Family Court in Cape May, accompanied by Jay Albrecht. He had reviewed the hours of recorded phone conversations and also met with Mary one year ago. He was going to be my expert witness and testify about Mary's mental capacity which he felt was unfit to be a mother, but never did.
Mary must have been shocked when I showed up after she sent that death sentence. She was, without a doubt, confused as to why I was sticking around to die. I pointed out her engagement ring to Jay and told him I had a gut feeling it was Steven Johnson.
The judge began calling out the cases and asked everyone if they wanted a Final Restraining Order. When the judge asked Mary, she said yes. When he asked me, I said no. I found out that if I put a Final Restraining Order against her, there would be no way I could contact Nicole while she was in Mary's custody. Besides, I knew Mary herself wouldn't pull the trigger, so even though my life was in eminent danger, the order would not stop her from carrying out my execution by the hands of another.
On the witness stand she told the court I had threatened to kill her. When asked if I had ever been violent towards her she mentioned June 8, 1987--something which happened over four years ago and never happened again. She knew I would never try to kill her. The judge bought her story and gave her the order.
I told the judge this was just a ploy she was using to break up the relationship between my daughter and me. I mentioned how her phone bill could prove that she had not allowed Nicole to call me in over four months and how I had, on me, taped phone conversations with Mary admitting she would have papers drawn up to prevent me from seeing her and that this was it. I also mentioned I had her on tape saying how she didn't "give a fuck what" his honor said, that she was doing it her way. Mary went into shock.
The judge lectured Mary on the dangers of practicing parental alienation and what it could do to the child. He kept the order, but gave me the right to visit with Nicole for one day out of the week, with a parent, and ordered Mary to place a phone call for Nicole, to me, every Wednesday night between seven and eight. I told him that tomorrow was my birthday and Mary was so mean she would never allow Nicole to call me without a court order. He gave it. I also mentioned how I had plans to spend the weekend with Nicole and my mother in Pennsylvania. He told me I could keep that commitment. I walked out with somewhat of a smile after watching Mary get chewed out.
Mary now knew the phone calls over the past four months were being recorded. On that night, she placed the call for Nicole; only she kept telling Nicole what to say. I have it on tape, her telling the child to say defamatory comments about me. Nicole did that for two minutes and was then told to hang up. I never got to talk to her.
On Thursday, Mary showed Steve the court order. He noticed the judge forgot to write on the order the visit with Nicole over the weekend with my mother.
Mary called my mother and told her I was not allowed to go with them over the weekend. This was significant because first Mary said on August 5, that I could see Nicole if I was with a parent, but now she is only going to give me what she got the court to order. My mother made a promise to Mary that I would not go.
That night, Mary broke the court order and placed the call almost an hour after eight o'clock. I called the Lower Township Police, but they said they could not help and for that I would have to go to the Family Court to get a Writ Of Enforcement to enforce the order. I'm sure Steven told her she could get away with this and they did it just to drive me crazy. It worked. It was my birthday and I became upset thinking I was not getting the call. But it finally came.
When I got on the phone, Mary was bitching at me. She gave the phone to Nicole and kept telling her to repeat, "I called my daddy and my daddy made me wait ten minutes." The same thing that happened the night before happened again and Nicole was forced off the phone after a few minutes.
But it was my birthday, as well as Chris'. It was also Thursday and we were psyched to put on a great show that night. Our roommate Tim played piano for the band and went to Glassboro, but was spending the summer with us. All our friends from Glassboro came over bearing gifts. We partied and they put me in a great mood.
When I awoke on Friday, I called the court to tell them about the mistake the judge made writing the court order and how I needed to come down to see him to clear it up. Nicole had her heart set on all of us going on this trip together. The court told me there was no judge available because they had all gone on vacation and would not be back until September. Then I mentioned how Mary was violating the court order by talking to me and by not calling at the designated times and demanded she be arrested for that. They said a court order was not enforceable and the only thing I could do was file for a Writ Of Enforcement, but that would take about six weeks to get. I was so angry I just hung up.
I figured out the order said one day out of the week. It did not specify which day. I called my mother.
"I can go on the trip with you and Nicole," I said excitedly.
"No, Louis, you cannot. Mary said there was a court order."
"Yes, but it says I can see Nicole one day out of the week. There is 24 hours in a day. A week runs from Sunday to Saturday. I leave with you at ten in the morning on Saturday, that gives me 24 hours or until ten the next morning. That covers this week. Sunday starts a new week. I stay away from Nicole until three o'clock Sunday afternoon and that gives me until three o'clock Monday, when you plan to be back. What do you say?"
"I gave my word to Mary that you wouldn't go. I can't go back on that."
I started screaming at my mother. She had no idea what Mary did to see to it I was killed. We argued back and forth until she said she would call her.
When mom called back she said Mary told her I was absolutely right, but my mother kissed her ass anyway and told her that she made the promise and she would keep me from Nicole. She was afraid that if she allowed me to go on the trip after Mary told her how much she did not want me to, that Mary would not allow her to see Nicole anymore.
My father was to pick Nicole up on this night and spend it with her before my mother picked her up Saturday morning. I went over his house that night, armed with a tape recorder, and saw Nicole.
I was going to get to the bottom of Mary's real intentions. I knew she was engaged and keeping Nicole away from me because of that. Tact would be key in getting the information out of her. When I went outside on the porch to have a cigarette, Nicole followed.
"Daaaddyeee, blow your smoke at the diamonds."
"The diamonds? You mean the stars?"
"Yeah, the diamonds."
"You like to call the stars diamonds?"
I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. She walked right into it without any help from me. I started to question her, "Do you like the diamonds?"
"Yes I do."
"Mommy has a nice diamond on her ring. Don't you think so?"
At that instant, Nicole turned her head away. I asked her again but she would not respond. I knew something was up. I took her head and made her look at me. I asked one more time and she said yes, that it was.
I asked the next question, "Yes it is very nice. Who gave mommy such a nice ring?"
"Nicole turned away and changed the subject, "Look," she said pointing at the sky, "is that an air-o-plane?"
"Yes, it is. It sure is moving fast." I looked at Nicole. "Nicole, honey, you still didn't answer my question. Who gave mommy that nice ring?"
Nicole sat and thought for almost half a minute. She kept her head looking at the ground and answered, "I did."
I acted excited. "You did? Boy, that was really nice of you."
Nicole, thinking I believed her, turned her head up to face me and said, "Yes it was. I also got her a jewelry box."
"You did," I exclaimed showing the same excitement.
"Yes, I did."
"Wow! Where did you get the money to buy such an expensive ring?"
"I had it," she said acting quite relaxed thinking I was still buying her story.
"You did? Where did you get it?"
"At a store."
At this point I was getting sick of the fact that she was keeping up this charade. I decided to call her bluff. "Are you telling me the truth?"
She turned away, "Uh huh."
"Nicole, look at me." She turned to face me. "Are you telling me the truth?" She responded with the same answer.
I could tell in her voice and by the way she was acting, she was lying to me to cover up something. She was obviously scared to tell me the truth, so my next step would be crucial in gaining her confidence. I came up with an idea.
"Nicole, lets play a game."
"Let's play the truth."
She got a frightened look on her face. "How do we play the truth?"
"I ask you a question and you give the answer without lying. It isn't good to lie - especially to me. It will only cause you to become tense."
"And what happens after I tell you the truth?"
I could tell she was worried about what her mother might do if she did not lie. With that in mind, I had to give her an answer that excluded her mother. "Nothing," I told her, "you will just feel better inside and you and I can have an open an honest relationship with each other. It would always feel better being around each other if we did not have to deceive the other. I have always been open and honest with you."
She rolled her eyes up in her head and thought about it for a few seconds. Looking at me, she said, "Okay."
I started with an indirect question. "Nicole, did you give mommy her diamond ring?"
"No." She was a little ashamed to be caught in the lie and turned her head away.
"Nicole, honey," she looked back at me, "did Steven give the ring to mommy?"
Nicole's face turned bright as she gave me the biggest smile I had ever seen her give me since she was three months old. Happily, she exclaimed, "Yes, it was Steven!"
She was so excited to find out I knew about Steven and that she didn't have to lie about him anymore. It was as if a heavy weight had been lifted off her shoulder. She began to glow in her honesty.
"Who is Steven," I asked.
"Steven is mommy's boss."
"Are mommy and Steven going to get married?"
She was so open. The honesty just flowed from her lips, "Yes, but not for a while." I was so proud of her.
"You and mommy are going to live with Steve, huh?"
"Ah huh, as soon as we move out of Pop Pop's house." She became even more excited, "Hey, you can buy me that puppy now, when we move in with Steven, I wont be at Pop Pop's house anymore! Remember you said I could have a puppy when I moved out of Pop Pop's?" I had always promised her a puppy she wanted so badly. But she lived in a house Mary's father owned and he wouldn't allow them to keep a dog. Nicole and I always talked about how she would get one as soon as she was no longer living in that house. Now, she was excited to be moving in with Steven because she could get the puppy. Little did she know Steven and her mother were plotting to have me murdered.
Nicole was so happy to have everything out in the open. I no longer had to ask her questions as she started telling me everything about her mother and Steven. I really didn't care. Everything I wanted to know I had already found out.
I brought Nicole inside and we told my father the good news about her learning how to tell the truth. She told him how she was never going to tell her daddy a lie when he asked her a question. My father had no idea what we were talking about. I sat up the tape recorder I brought with me to get that information down. Nicole asked me what it was. I told her a radio so she wouldn't feel guilty. I know, a little fib. When it was ready, I began asking her the same questions as before.
I instructed Nicole to tell her grandpa what she told me outside. She began to talk while I recorded the conversation. My father could care less to hear about anything that had to do with Mary. He could no longer stand the stiff and didn't want to get involved with anything concerning her. Rather, he just gave me a hard time about what Nicole was saying and kept asking me what I was trying to prove. When I told him he just said, "So what?"
The tape came out very faint. I had to get a better recording.
I had brought the phone answering machine I had been recording all my conversations with. I figured Mary would not expect me to carry it on my motorcycle all the way to my father's house. When the machine was set up, I got my mother on the phone.
I had Nicole tell mom the story and it came out great. My mother had the same "so what" attitude about the information as my father had. All she was concerned about was making arrangements with my father to pick up Nicole on the next morning. I tried to explain to her it was this fiancÚ who was helping Mary defraud me out of my child. All she cared about was taking Nicole to Pennsylvania the next day.
I got my mother on the phone alone and told her I was going to Pennsylvania with or without a court order and there was nothing she could do if I showed up. Mom just started yelling about how Nicole would tell her mother and I would get in trouble. I pointed out that those court orders were not enforceable without a Writ Of Enforcement and it was my ass anyway. She kept raving that she was going to cancel the trip. I yelled right back, calling her weak and an ass-kisser because the only reason she did not want Mary to find out was because she knew Mary was vicious enough not to let her see Nicole again. I was getting sick of listening to my mother's fear about Mary and told her she would have to go to court to file for her own visitation rights because when I won mine, I wasn't going to let her have my daughter on my days and Mary was definitely not going to give up her weekends with Nicole. With the order she would no longer have to be afraid of Mary keeping her from Nicole. All she said was she was sick and couldn't do that. The conversation was going nowhere and my mother kept defending Mary's right to do what she wanted. Pure bullshit. It was time to open mom's eyes.
My mother's new found friends in the Mafia were the only things that could get me out of this mess. I told the old lady that Mary and her bosses had taken the necessary measures to see that I am killed no later than the day of the visitation trial. My mother told me I was paranoid. I mentioned I had proof and wanted to come over to show it to her. She said Frank wouldn't help me because since I found out about him last year she had wanted me to talk to him and I wouldn't. I had no interest in meeting a killer and would always come up with an excuse to blow it off. She always said Frank had a lot of power and could get me a job doing anything I wanted. My excuse was that I didn't want a regular job because I was still in school. She could never fathom how much that meant to me. Finally, she agreed to see me if I let Frank get me a job.
Mom was a pain in the ass the moment I arrived at her place. All summer she kept bugging me to let Frank get me a job - never understanding why I would not do that. Her only answer was that I was being selfish and not looking out for Nicole. She still did not get the fact that I wanted to get my Ph.D. to teach college and that would enable me to do much more for Nicole than I could hanging wallpaper everyday, nine to five, for the rest of my life. I wanted to do more with my life to help make others better. I told mom to quiet down and listen to me prove that Mary was not as innocent as she thought.
This was serious shit. I showed her the letter and told her it was a forgery, that I never wrote it, and that Mary and them were going to say I did. My mother read it. When she got to the bad part she stopped and looked up at me with eyes that said, "You asshole, you're a dead man."
"Tell me the truth," she asked of me all chocked up, "did you write this?"
"No." I could not admit I wrote it.
After asking me the same question a few more times and me denying it, she said in a disgusted tone, "Let me tell you something, they have ways of finding out if this came from the same typewriter and that is probably why the other letters were included." Shit, Robert DeSimone, the gangster lawyer also had a copy of my printouts. "And don't ever lie to me again. You showed me this letter after you sent it to her a year ago." That's right. My mother was at the door the morning they took me to the hospital. She was the one who asked the question that got the answer that I was sick and tired of stepping on buttons to make Donald Trump a goddamned hero. She knew from that point what I was living with. I figured I could trust her with knowing the truth as to how I got Mary to agree to my terms.
I started to cry. I wanted to live. When I wrote that letter I had nothing to live for and I wanted to die and would have went through with it if Mary hadn't accepted the terms. But now I was in school and having a wonderful relationship with Nicole until her mother cut me off. Knowing what kind of environment Nicole was growing up in, I knew she needed me now more than ever before. My mother realized just how serious this was. She hugged me, started to cry, and told me that there was no way she was going to let them kill me.
"You talk to Frank," she said, "he is a very powerful man and he will be able to take care of them for you. But you'll have to listen to him and do whatever he tells you to do."
"If Donald Trump or Nicky Scarfo finds out about this they'll put a contract out on me."
"You're crazy, Donald Trump is afraid people are going to kill him. And Frank is always telling off Nicky Scarfo."
"Look, if any of those gangsters, with billions to lose, find out about this, I am a dead man."
"Don't worry, I'm not going to let anyone kill you." She repeated herself, "Frank is a very powerful man and he has a lot of friends. He will be able to take care of this for you." Then she asked me a question, "Do you know a man named [so and so?]"
"No. Why? Who is he?"
"Oh, no reason. He is just someone in the casino business who knows you were having trouble at work."
What was she getting at? The name was someone like Harvey Freeman (from one of Trump's novels), but I can't be sure that was the name, or if this particular Freeman was involved with the casino business. I did know one thing and that was that the higher-ups were watching me. I wished I could get mom to see that. We let it drop. The phone rang and surprise, it was Frank.
Frank just happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to stop in at 11:30. From the moment he walked through the door I could sense the bad vibes. We met and he started telling my mother about his dinner with his friends.
I don't know if he was just showing off or trying to scare me, but he was emphasizing the talk about the people he was with. They were from New York City and all had Italian names like Guido, Vito, and Vinny. He told her about how they were all throwing the twenty-dollar bills in the staffs pockets and turned to me and said, "If you want good service, you got to pay for it." He wasn't fooling me. I don't even think that was his intention. But I did know one thing and that was that the twenty dollar tip thing was something gangsters always did to let the staff know who they were so they could have them kissing, licking, and wiping their asses.
During the summer I saw a few gangster movies. Two really impressed me. One was the true story about a gangster's life. It was called Goodfellas. I could identify many of the characters in that film with some of the people I worked with. It also reminded me of Frank and the way he acted and reinforced my belief that the Boys were watching me very closely. The other was The Untouchables. I had always refused to watch this movie because I thought the untouchables were the bad guys, so watching that would help to further foster my belief that the mob was "untouchable". But when I saw that movie, I gained the greatest admiration for Eliot Ness and he instantly became one of my heroes. This movie gave me the hope I needed to follow through with my plans of bringing them down.
My mother and I had agreed not to tell Frank about the letter until I tried one more trick to get Mary to back down. Rather, we talked about how I was having trouble and needed a job. It was either give in, or take off.
Frank started by telling me about his family. He said how his wife was a surgeon who tries to kill herself and takes him for $5,000 a month. He also sends one of his daughters to boarding school in England, another popular thing gangsters do. All this spending was before he paid his mortgage. And he tells my mother he sells pay phones for a living. I'm slowly catching on.
Then I got the lecture about how important his kids were. He said there was nothing or no one in the world who could keep him from his kids. He mentioned he used to run a nightclub in Philadelphia, which had every mobster always coming in. (I'm catching on a little more.) Even with that he had his kids brought to him each night so he could kiss them goodnight. Then he laid the big one on me and told me that even two indictments for murder didn't keep him from seeing his kids. (OK, now I get it.) He said he never went to jail because he was innocent. Yeah, right. He didn't go to prison because he either paid off the judge or did something to the witnesses, not so that he could see his kids, but so he wouldn't fry. No wonder his ex-wife tries to kill herself. It must be insane living with the fact that you know your children's father was a murderer and Mafia gangster. That was probably what drove Mary's mother crazy as well.
He asked me what I would do if he handed me an envelope with $50,000 in it. His answer was to give it to his kids, but I could tell he was getting the point across that if I listened to him I could be a very rich man. Giving envelopes filled with money was another thing the gangsters did for each other.
Frank told me he was a very powerful man with many friends. He knew every union boss (like big surprise) in the tri-state area and could have me a job doing what ever I wanted with one phone call. If I wanted, I could be a long shoreman making $40,000 a year to sit around and play cards. Or he could get me a job anywhere in the country I wanted to live. And if I did all this, he guaranteed I would have custody of Nicole within one year. When I mentioned who Mary worked for and how the courts were with giving custody to the mothers, he said as long as I did what he said, it could be done and not to worry about it.
I became excited. There was no way Nicole could live with Mary and Steve after I knew they were both capable of murder. I had to do what was in the best interest of Nicole. If it meant giving up college and working for the Mafia to get her in a more decent environment, I would do it. But I wasn't naive. I knew Frank would probably payoff the judge, or hurt Steve Johnson to scare Mary and him into giving up custody. At that moment I didn't care, they were trying to have me killed. I decided to follow Frank and discussed what kind of job I would be interested in.
After he left, my mother and I talked some more. It was obvious that Steve was going to have to pay in order to get them to back down. I was still scared to let Frank find out about the letter. If he knew what a fuck-up I was he might not be able to help. Again, my mother told me how powerful Frank was and asked if I heard him say that. I told her yes, but I was having seconds thoughts of being able to trust Frank and without someone getting hurt. My mom said she would do what she could to see that it was taken care of without Steven ending up in the hospital for a month.
Feeling a bit relieved, I left to go back to my father's house. Nicole was expecting to wake up next to me in the morning and I didn't want to disappoint her.
The next morning I ran the plan by Nicole. We talked and I asked her if she would like it if I saw her every day. Nicole was excited over the idea and said she would love it. I told her I was going to do what was necessary and the first thing would be to bring her mommy to court and ask the judge to let me see her every day. I told her I would move closer to her house if I had to. Then it was time to bring her to my mother's house for their trip. My father and I got her ready and brought her over.
At mom's house, after my father left, the scene got ugly as we disputed about me going with them. I argued how Mary was trying to kill me and bringing her to court wasn't going to help. Right then, Nicole looked at me and said, "My mommy is taking you to court." It was obvious Mary was trying to pit her against me. The fight turned very ugly. I stormed out of the house and drove home. It was too bad, because earlier that morning everything was great as we took Nicole to a bike shop to get her a helmet for the bicycle I gave her for her 3rd birthday. Why do things have to start out good and go sour? Answer: Mary Ingemar.
I saw Nicole again on Monday when she stopped by with my mother on her way back to her house. The landlord made us get rid of Wolfgang, the puppy, but I asked the girl we gave him to if she could bring him over for Nicole to play with and she was more than happy to. I have such great friends. Nicole visited with me and my roommates, played with the dogs, and then had to go back to her house. I went with them but had to get out of the car when they were about a mile from the house. I still had a great ride there.
During the week I was having second thoughts about having the Mafia help me out of this jam. In their eyes, I was already a fuck-up and this would just piss them off even more. I knew those guys too well, they would take care of the problem to shut up Mary and the lawyers and then have me whacked for being such a fuck-up in the first place. It was time to use my last ace in the hole.
I went to see Jay to asked him for a favor. He lived a couple of miles down the street from D'Amato's new office, so I asked him to deliver an edited version of the phone conversations to them. I had hours taped, so I edited about 90 minutes of the conversations where she talked about how she was purposely trying to keep Nicole and me apart. His instructions were to drop it off with Steven Johnson and inform him that if they gave me the visitation rights I sought, I would make sure Nicole never heard any of the tapes. Jay was able to talk to Paul D'Amato himself and I later got an answer to forget it.
Why should they have taken my offer? They knew that by the middle of September I was a dead man anyway. The fear inside of me grew knowing I could never show up for that trial. Mary had won. She had permanently separated Nicole from her father.