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THE ROBBERY

I had sold my 44th street loft to Yumi and she and her girls moved in with Mamasan in tow.  Soon after that she was robbed and the robbers were brutal.  They held the girls for many hours, but before leaving they told her to warn me that they would be back if I did not pay them $2,000 a week. They really hit pot luck because Korean girls live in the brothels and save all their money. That night Yumi and Jonathon met with me at the West Way Diner to tell me what happened. Yumi still owed me money so I thought maybe she was playing games with me.  She said they were DTs and she was very afraid. I sort of dismissed it and went on with my daily life. 

Raj was our extension man from Toronto. He was doing my hair on 51st and 9th Ave.  Our security guy Leo called over to our other brothel up the block also on 51st St. to let Lucus who was answering phones that a client had arrived.  Leo asked for Lucus and then hung up.

I said, “Leo, where is Lucus? And who the hell answered the phone?”

He said, “I don’t know. Some guy picked up and said Lucus was busy.”

I know that is what cops say when a bust is going down. I called and got the same info. The guy said Lucus was busy and in the bathroom.  M,e Raj and  Patrina my maid walked up to the apt up the block to try to see what the hell was going on.  Two guys with NYPD jackets, chains and hats were walking out of the building.  They spotted me and pulled a gun out and told me to stop.  I started running up 51st to 8th Ave. and grabbed a taxi and told him to head downtown, I thought these guys were cops and they were after me to arrest me.  Patrnina had walked into the building. The apartment door was ajar. It was the first apartment on the right when you walk into the building.  She saw several girls and Lucus lying on the floor.  He was bruised and beaten and the girls were hand cuffed.  Patrina yelled to Raj and they called me on my cell phone.  I was relieved that it was not the cops but very angry that we were robbed. 

Raj went to the hardware store to buy tools to remove the cuffs from everyone.  Thank God no clients were in there.  A year or so earlier a client was killed during a robbery at a place called Scorpio. The apartment was in the same name as our place because Jonathon had got the apt for that madam.  It was at the Radio City Apartments on 44th St. right up from the one I sold Yumi. 

Homicide cops brought us down to the 35th St.  Precinct  and we were interrogated for several hours. Dan Ollen our lawyer came down to try to help us handle the situation.  With all this, I was happy that no one was murdered or injured too badly in our robbery.   I was not going to call the police. Cops are never to be called unless someone’s life is threatened.  I picked up Lucus’ phone that had been stolen by the robbers and the jerk actually answered the phone and told me he wanted $2,000 a week or we would be robbed every few weeks or so.  He said he had pictures of my son Tommy as well that he took them when he robbed our place from the drawer.

I had no intentions of paying this creep but I led him on and we arranged a meeting place.  We met the next day at Starbucks across from our place on 49th St.  I called a client that was very connected and a few hours later eight Italian men were at our place installing cameras and security.  They told my to keep in touch and they would grab the guy and take complete care of him.

I spoke to the robber and he told me he would call me the next day and we would meet to arrange a deal.  I called the Italians and told them everything was a go.  As far as I was concerned everything was coming to a good ending and I was satisfied.  Sitting in the brothel that night the phone rang and I answered it.  The guy on the other line said, “Julie, this is the police.  We know you have been robbed and are being extorted. We know everything, your Korean friend Yumi told us everything.  Walk out your door we are parked in front of your building.”

I told them that I had no intentions of telling them anything.   

Now in my mind an alarm is sounding off, Maybe the robbers were really cops. I told them I would not speak with them.  They said they were internal affairs and that the cops raided 44th St and Yumi said hey this not fair one day you rob me and take much much money and now you want to bust us, this not fair. Yumi knew the sergeant from many previous busts and told him everything that happened and internal affairs were called in right away.  So they told me to come out right now.  I was very stressed out from the whole week of this going on.  The business is great, but at a time like this you gotta wonder. 

I called three of my security people to walk outside and make sure I would be ok, Hell, for all I knew these guys were one and the same as the robbers and were going to do something to me.  I took a deep breath and walked out the door. One of the security guys was my son Tommy.  He was like my other half, always with me and watching to make sure I was ok.  He was very worried for me and wanted to go with me but I said no I would be ok.  2 DTs and my self walked up to the diner on 8th and 51st street.

They wanted to grab these guys because they were not really sure if they were cops or not.  They had been extorting businesses in the neighborhood, terrorizing Hell’s Kitchen and I was just one on their list.  Of course I was the one that the pressure was on.  Now I have the robbers, maybe really bad cops, I have the Italians and internal affairs on my ass knowing that I was running an illegal business.  I was also worried about my sons who worked for me and everyone knew it.  They had threatened to snatch one.  I think I would die if anything happened to them. 

I had to call the Italians and tell them what happened. The cops would be watching me hard now.  They were not too happy about the new developments taking place.   The next day I called Lucus’ stolen phone and got the robber on the phone.  We set up the spot and strangely enough it was a little deli downstairs from Beverly’s apt on 57th and 10th Ave. We were sitting at a little table and he took a gun out and pointed at me under the table and said, “Listen, I know your name and I know where you live and I know who your kids are. If you fuck with me, I will kill you.”  He told me that he was not really a cop but knew a few that hooked him up with scanners and such items useful in assisting his criminal activities.  He told me his father was a Westie back in the days. He said he was a fuck up and his father had basically washed his hands of him so he was doing what he needed to do to get his money. He wanted $2,000 a week for protection. 

I played along We were already pretty protected in many ways and had several cops as clients that did not take money but plenty sessions and gave us tip offs when certain things were happening.  I played along with this jerk because I knew the cops were right outside and we were under total surveillance.  I was under the cop’s thumb right now and I knew what was going to go down.  I said I would pay them every week and with that he was delivered to the cops as soon as he walked out the door. 

I later found out that him and his partner were murderers, robbers and you name it.  His name was Robert Herman and the next day it hit the papers and the news on TV. The badges were fake, but the guns were real.  Yumi and several of his victims were brought in to the precinct to ID them and he is serving 10 years right now.

That was 2003.  It was a hell of a week, but it was all over and I was relieved.  Everything was hidden from Julie’s clients. They would never realize that we were the ones discussed in the media for this robbery.  Business was back to normal and the situation slowly faded into the past.  I think it was the beginning of the end for Julies.          

 

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