Vicki Morgan (August 9, 1952 – July 7, 1983) was a model and a high-profile murder victim.
Born Victoria Lynn Morgan in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Morgan was a stunningly beautiful girl who went to Hollywood in search of fame. She found work as an usher at Grauman's Chinese Theater and it was there that the teenager met 54-year-old Reagan-financier Alfred S. Bloomingdale, a married multi-millionaire from the famous New York City department store family.
Morgan soon became Bloomingdale's mistress, benefitting from his generosity. Her social circle also included wealthy superannuated playboy Bernie Cornfeld. On Bloomingdale's dime, she lived a lavish lifestyle that lasted until 1982 when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. With Bloomingdale on his deathbed and his usual flow of funds to the now 30-year-old Morgan no longer coming, her financial situation quickly turned desperate. To protect herself, she hired the famous Hollywood palimony attorney Marvin Mitchelson to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit for financial compensation as his mistress. The pre-trial media coverage of the initial complaint revealed sordid details of the couple's deviant sexual relationship that grabbed headlines nationwide, causing considerable embarrassment amongst the Washington D.C. elite. However, when Morgan learned that Mitchelson had dinner and a meeting at the White House with Nancy and Ronald Reagan, she lost trust in Mitchelson. Morgan fired Mitchelson and hired attorney Joel Steinberg. Morgan was left without income. Later court documents and news stories revealed that after she began selling off the jewelry and the expensive car purchased for her by Bloomingdale, Morgan was preparing to write a tell-all book which was reportedly going to name a number of wealthy and powerful politicians and businessmen who had participated in her sadistic sex rituals.
Morgan moved from her expensive Los Angeles apartment to a more modest San Fernando Valley condominium, renting a room to a 32-year-old homosexual acquaintance named Marvin Pancoast. Three weeks later, Pancoast walked into a police station and confessed to murdering Morgan. Investigation found Morgan dead, apparently beaten to death with a baseball bat.
There have been many conspiracy theories as to why she was murdered. Pancoast's explanation — that he was tired of hearing Vicki Morgan complain that she was tired and worried — scarcely seems a motive for a brutal bludgeon murder; Pancoast had no history of violent behavior. After Morgan's death, publisher Larry Flynt offered to purchase copies of video tapes showing a number of high-ranking people in the Reagan administration in sexual trysts from Beverly Hills attorney Robert Steinberg. Steinberg later failed to produce the videos and claimed they had been stolen from him. In a television interview for KNBC filmed after his incarceration, Pancoast (dying of AIDS) recanted his confession, but station management aired only a portion of Pancoast's denial of guilt, feeling his explanation was too explosive. Adding to the conspiracy fodder was the fact that Pancoast had worked at the theatrical agency CAA at the same time as agent Morgan Mason (son of James Mason and Pamela Mason), who by the time of Vicki Morgan's lawsuit was working for the White House, and that Bloomingdale was close friends with the Reagans. Nancy Reagan was one of Betsy Bloomingdale's best friends.
The Vicki Morgan story received considerable print coverage and in 1985 author Gordon Basichis wrote Beautiful Bad Girl: The Vicki Morgan Story. In 1990, Dominick Dunne, the prominent Vanity Fair journalist, author of several books about crimes involving the rich and famous and someone whose own 22-year-old daughter Dominique had been murdered, came out with a fictional portrayal of Vicki Morgan in his book, An Inconvenient Woman.
"Sex life" was a redundancy for Vicki Morgan.
Her life was sex.
Even as a willowy teenager, she exuded a sensuality that led men to dismiss reason and do things they shouldn't.
Her first lover was a young man who left her pregnant at age 16.
This sort of thing was still a family scandal in 1968 in her hometown of Montclair, Calif., so Vicki was spirited away to St. Anne's, a Catholic maternity home for girls in Los Angeles.
Morgan's parents, Delbert and Connie, met in Britain during World War II. Delbert Morgan was a lonely sergeant in the American Air Force, and Connie was a tall, thin native of Norfolk, England.
They married, and Delbert moved his new wife to Colorado Springs. They had two daughters, Barbara, born in 1946, and Victoria Lynn, born Aug. 9, 1952.
Delbert Morgan wasn't much of a father. He left his wife for another woman before Vickie could walk or talk.
Connie soon met and married Ralph Laney, a kind-hearted factory worker. In 1956, the family joined the American rush to southern California.
They bought a ranch house in the brand-new city of Montclair, amid the endless Los Angeles suburbs of the Inland Empire.
Connie and Ralph Laney had sons of their own before Ralph died of a heart attack in 1961. Connie, forced to find work, began a long career as a cafeteria worker in Montclair schools.
Vicki, 9 when Laney died, proved to be an indifferent student, and she participated in few school activities, according to biographers Joyce Milton and Ann Louise Bardach.
But she was a pretty girl who grew to a coltish 5-foot-10. Everyone began saying that Vicki looked like a model, so Connie Laney scraped together tuition to the Studio Seven Academy, a charm school in Covina.
Vicki did a few modeling jobs at the local mall, Montclair Plaza, until the bulge in her belly got her sent away to the Catholic home.
Vicki, still just 16, gave birth on Jan. 7, 1969, to Todd Morgan. By and large, the boy's care and upbringing would fall on Vicki's mother.
St. Anne's, in Los Angeles
Her life was more than half gone by the time her son was born.
In her final, frantic 14 years, Morgan became a professional mistress—and a headline waiting to happen. If she was going to have sex anyway, she seemed to conclude, it might as well be with someone wealthy.
She bedded both men and women, including a movie star or two, a Moroccan king and a Saudi princess, according to accounts she gave to journalists, biographers and in a court deposition.
She wed three times, but marital status was irrelevant.
She was a fabulously promiscuous nymph of the swingin' '70s. She tried it all, from group lesbianism to S&M to more traditional heterosexual hedonism.
She rarely worked, yet she lived at some of the most luxurious addresses in Los Angeles.
Morgan blanched at the notion that she was a high-priced hooker.
But as one of her lovers put it, she lived a life "of guilty compromise, a dishonorable truce between money and conscience."
Amid her many romantic entanglements, Morgan for 12 years was the mistress of Alfred Bloomingdale, a scion of the department store family, founder of a groundbreaking credit card firm and a member of Ronald Reagan's "kitchen cabinet."
His wife, "Best-Dressed" Betsy Bloomingdale, was Nancy Reagan's closest friend.
The long-lived affair blew up into front-page headlines just months after Reagan was elected. With Alfred Bloomingdale on his deathbed with cancer, Mrs. Bloomingdale cut off Vicki Morgan's monthly love money.
She responded with a palimony suit that, even in those pre-tabloid days, kept the newspapers filled with blue prose and kinky details for months.
Inevitably, Morgan went out in another front-page ball of fire about a year after the scandal broke. She was murdered by a man who desired her, like everyone else.
Earle Lamm nearly flipped his toupee the first time he saw Vicki.
It was just months after her child was born. She was working at a mall boutique, and he was a clothing wholesaler.
Lamm, originally from Chicago, was three times her age. He was born in the 1920s, but his sense of style was pure '70s: aviator glasses, gold chains, bell-bottoms, platform shoes, shirts open to his navel.
And that hairpiece.
Vicki would later claim she didn't notice Lamm's augmented hairdo until she woke up in his bed one morning and saw his shining pate beside her. Across the room, the artificial hair rested comfortably on an artificial head.
But Lamm's bed happened to be located at Sierra Towers, a gleaming 32-story high-rise on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
The Sierra Towers
It was one of L.A.'s hippest addresses.
In the elevator, Vicki was liable to run into such resident celebrities as Joan Collins, Sidney Poitier, George Hamilton, Diahann Carroll or Peter Lawford. (The building still has cache today: Kate Moss, Cher, Lindsay Lohan and Matthew Perry are among current or recent residents.)
Within weeks of their meeting, Earle Lamm asked Vicki Morgan to be his bride. It must have blown her mind.
She was still shy of 17, and he was 47.
But consider her choices: She could stay at home with her mother and baby in sleepy Montclair, work at the mall and date penniless local rat finks like the one who knocked her up.
Or she could marry Lamm, quit her job and live in a fabulous apartment in a fabulous Los Angeles neighborhood.
She had tasted the high life, and she liked it.
She accepted his proposal, and they flew to Las Vegas, where they were married in a 5-minute ceremony at a 24-hour wedding chapel.
Earle Lamm proved to be a sexual handful for his teen bride.
He was a swinger, and he enticed Vicki into joining him.
He had the Humbert Humbert problem—a lust for lithe little Lolitas. Vicki was tall but rather flat-chested, which appealed to him.
He dressed her up like a schoolgirl and took her out for sexual romps that included group gropes and lesbian threesomes.
Vicki went along to get along.
When she was a good bad girl, Lamm treated her sweetly and lavished her with gifts. She said he made her feel special, for the first time in her life.
But when she protested one of his sexual schemes, he could turn abusive.
Lamm was not crazy about Vicki's son, who interfered with his Lolita fantasy. The boy spent most of his time at his grandmother's, and this became a wedge in their relationship.
Vicki began going solo to nightclubs. One night he stalked her and caught her leaving a club with a young man. He beat her on the street while her new friend ran off.
The relationship became part of a pattern in her life.
The two biographies of Morgan refer to her various marriages as having been good "in the beginning."
The phrase referred not to years, but to months—or even weeks.
Vicki Morgan was the sort of person who lived her life in fast-forward. Intimate relationships came and went quickly.
Except for one.
How does a newlywed teenager become the mistress of a middle-aged fat cat?
This is one of the curiosities of the relationship between Vicki Morgan and Alfred Bloomingdale.
Half a dozen versions of their first meeting have been conjured up, most by Vicki herself. The consistent detail is that they met in the vicinity of the Old World Restaurant, a prototype health food café on Sunset Boulevard.
In one account, Vicki said she was walking near the restaurant when Bloomingdale stopped her with a very peculiar pickup line.
"Excuse me," he said, "but you look like a tennis player. I have a daughter about your age, and she's looking for a tennis partner."
Vicki said she reluctantly gave him her phone number so Lisa Bloomingdale could call her for a tennis appointment.
She claimed that as they were saying goodbye that day after a five-minute chat, Bloomingdale pressed into her palm a check for $8,000. He told her it was a spontaneous gift for a lovely girl who had brightened his day.
Vicki went home and showed the check to her husband.
Earle Lamm said the check was more likely a down payment on future favors from a dirty old man.
He was right.
Vicki never did hear from Lisa Bloomingdale. But Alfred began a telephone barrage, calling as often as 20 times a day for three weeks before she finally agreed to have lunch with him.
They met at the Old World. The affair was off and running.
Alfred Bloomingdale probably wouldn't have flinched at giving an $8,000 good-faith payment to a prospective mistress.
His money was old, and he had lots of it.
His ancestors came to the United States and settled in New York well before the Civil War.
His grandfather, Lyman, founded Bloomingdale's department store, and Alfred was born into unimaginable wealth in 1916.
He was from German Jewish stock, but Alfred had hound dog in his blood.
His Uncle Sam ran the department store as Alfred was growing up because his father, Hiram, was busy chasing skirts.
Alfred grew to be a big, strong young man. He attended exclusive private schools in the city, including Riverdale Country Day School, then enrolled at Brown University, where he was a football lineman and fraternity bon vivant.
He dropped out before graduating and used family money to dabble in the theater business. For five years, while still in his 20s, Alfred plowed cash into a series of Broadway flops.
But he finally found success with song-and-dance revues, including "High Kickers" and a 1943 revival of the "Ziegfeld Follies" that starred Milton Berle.
Young Bloomingdale followed in his father's footsteps as a man about town. He married a showgirl in 1941, but it lasted about as long as a good cigar.
Like everyone in his family, Alfred was a loyal Tammany Hall Democrat, and he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1944.
He bought a home in Los Angeles after the war, hoping to adapt his Broadway experience to motion pictures.
It was in L.A. that Bloomingdale met Betsy Newling, the daughter of a dentist with high-society aspirations. Alfred fell for her, and they were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1946.
Betsy Newling Bloomingdale
The couple bought a mansion in Bel Air and started a family that would eventually include three children—not including Vicki Morgan.
In 1950, Bloomingdale was persuaded to invest in the personal credit business, a new concept gaining ground among the wealthy of the world.
Carrying cash could be a burden. Why not sign for the charge, as one might at a hotel dining room or a private club?
He founded Dine and Sign, then cobbled together 22 Manhattan restaurants that agreed to accept payment in plastic.
His firm soon merged with another credit card startup, Diners Club, and Bloomingdale spent the next 20 years building the business, eventually introducing his card in 130 countries. He became known as the father of the credit card when he predicted that cash would some day become obsolete.
But the Diners Club name positioned it as a niche card, for use in restaurants. The firm had difficulty keeping up with American Express and other cards used for more broad purchases.
In 1969, Bloomingdale stepped aside as chairman of Diners Club.
At that point he had more money than he could ever spend. And retirement gave him ample time for new pursuits, including a certain honey-blond teenager.
Bloomingdale was known as a blunt, aggressive businessman, and he wasted no time telling Vicki what was expected of her.
Alfred arrived with a hooker named Samantha at their second Old World lunch. After they finished alfalfa-sprout salads, the threesome drove to a modest house on Sunset Plaza Drive.
En route, Samantha prepared Vicki with a girl-to-girl talk about Bloomingdale's "special needs" in the bedroom. He got off watching lesbian S&M sex, and he often joined in with whips and belts.
"He won't hurt you much," she said.
Vicki shrugged. She was sexually shock-proof after a few months with Earle Lamm.
Bloomingdale, Vicki and Samantha were greeted at the house by Mistress Kay, a rather brawny woman in black leather who lived there as a dominatrix-in-waiting.
In no time, Vicki was naked and trussed.
Throughout a long afternoon, the women exchanged roles—sadist, masochist, innocent victim, dominating oppressor—under the direction of Master Alfred's kinky baton.
Years later, Vicki would recall Alfred's stone-cold pillow talk after the session ended: "C'mon, let's go take a shower."\
Bloomingdale, at age 53, found the lust of his life in young Vicki Morgan.
They scheduled S&M romps at the Sunset Plaza house at least three times a week, but even that wasn't enough.
One problem: She lived with her husband. So Bloomingdale made a move of remarkable hubris, phoning Earle Lamm to offer to buy Vicki away from him.
Lamm visited a lawyer to discuss an alienation of affection lawsuit. But in the end he acquiesced to Bloomingdale. If there was an exchange of money, it was never made public.
Bloomingdale first placed Vicki in a luxury apartment in West Hollywood and later in a mini-mansion in the Hollywood Hills.
For a time after Lamm was banished, Alfred and Vicki continued their S&M sessions with Mistress Kay on Sunset Plaza.
But Vicki informed Alfred that she did not find Mistress Kay sexually appealing. So Alfred turned over his little black book of hookers, and Vicki took control of their sexual planning, weeding out those she didn't like.
She said Bloomingdale paid as much as $2,500 each to prostitutes for S&M sessions. She later told a biographer that she hired 15 hookers for his 54th birthday, on April 15, 1970.
Vicki apparently was not as enthusiastic as Alfred about S&M. Together and separately, they took therapy with Dr. J. Victor Monke, L.A.'s analyst to the stars.
He diagnosed the millionaire with "Marquis de Sade Syndrome," and she later said she worked diligently to break him of his sexual kinks—the 15-hooker birthday present notwithstanding.
Money & Power
Any photograph makes it clear what Bloomingdale saw in Vicki Morgan.
But what did she see in him?
Yes, he was rich. But middle-age paunch had settled in, and his bold features were not particularly handsome.
Certainly, Vicki would have been impressed by his power and status. But she would later say that Bloomingdale treated her well. He did not condescend to her, treating her as an intellectual equal.
He flattered her with praise and bought gifts without being asked—including tuition to the Lee Strasburg Institute, the famed acting school.
The Lee Strasburg Institute
The Lee Strasburg Institute
Vicki was also awed by Bloomingdale's energy as he jetted back and forth across the continent to monitor his various businesses and homes.
Vicki began to travel with him—to New York, Washington, even Europe. They often spent time in Fort Lauderdale, where he was developing a resort, and at La Costa, the exclusive country club near San Diego.
She was paid well for her time and provided with a beautiful home, a Mercedes and housekeepers. Her monthly "allowance" steadily increased, from $1,000 to $5,000 to $10,000.
Vicki began to regard herself as wealthy, not merely the kept woman of a wealthy man.
She dined at fine restaurants, shopped on Rodeo Drive and became a customer at Ménage a Trois, L.A.'s most chic hair salon, even though she knew that Betsy Bloomingdale traveled in that same small orbit.
One day in 1973, Vicki and Alfred were canoodling in his car outside the salon when Betsy walked by and caught them.
To allay divorce, Bloomingdale promised to end the relationship. Betsy began keeping close tabs on his travel and expenses, and Vicki Morgan suddenly found herself without a sugar daddy.
The party was over, but Vicki was not the sort of mistress to slink away quietly.
She filed a lawsuit, claiming Bloomingdale had breached their oral contract promising support. The case went nowhere, but the modest publicity the lawsuit received added public humiliation to Betsy's private rage.
Vicki spent the 1970s in bed—with Alfred, when he managed to sneak away from Betsy, and with sundry others when he did not.
Her life changed when the monthly checks from Bloomingdale ceased. She was forced to move to more austere accommodations, and she took a series of roommates, many of them gay men, to help pay expenses.
She got breast implants, believing this would make her more marketable as a model in the event that she had to earn a living.
She also began to consume increased amounts of drugs, including cocaine, Valium and Quaaludes.
In 1974, she spent time at Grayhall, the Beverly Hills mansion of Bernie Cornfield, the rich businessman and enthusiastic hedonist. Grayhall was said to rival Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion for unrestrained pleasures of the flesh.
In 1975, she surprised her friends by marrying a handsome young actor, John David Carson—her first serious relationship with someone of her own age.
The following year, Vicki was summoned to Morocco for a mysterious offer of a modeling job. She later said it was a ruse to get her into bed with the Moroccan ruler, King Hassan II.
King Hassan II
King Hassan II
It was a classic Vicki Morgan story—like the happenstance meeting with Alfred Bloomingdale and the $8,000 check.
No one could explain how and why she had caught the eye of Hassan. But she said she traveled to Morocco twice on sexual assignment and was rewarded with $25,000 and the services of a "maid for life."
The maid, named Fatima, showed up at the Vicki's door just as John David Carson was walking out.
At about the same time, Vicki claimed she spent nine months as Cary Grant's lover. It was another Vicki classic: She couldn't prove it happened, but no one could prove it didn't.
When Carson left, Alfred reasserted himself in Vicki's life. She set two conditions: no more hookers and no more group sex. Alfred agreed and set her up in a house near Stone Canyon Reservoir, where she lived for most of a year with her son, Todd.
But in 1978 she managed to squeeze in a third marriage, to Robert Shulman, a wealthy real estate developer.
They were old friends and lovers from Cornfield's Grayhall. They bumped into one another at Christmastime and impetuously decided to fly to Las Vegas and get married that same night.
But Shulman learned that a healthy relationship with Vicki was impossible with the specter of Alfred Bloomingdale looming.
Bloomingdale offered to buy Shulman out of the marriage for $1 million. Aghast, Shulman walked away, and Bloomingdale won Vicki back by default.
Alfred Bloomingdale, younger
Alfred Bloomingdale, younger
In the language of self-help, Alfred and Vicki seemed to be codependency prototypes. He reinserted himself into her life each time she seemed prepared to break away. And she was always willing to open the door to him, the consummate enabler.
The hold she had on him was made obvious by the one love note Alfred wrote to Vicki, during the Shulman drama. A very needy Bloomingdale implored her to join him for a getaway tryst in San Diego:
I planned and fought for this trip for weeks against all odds....It was so we could be together and straighten out a few things. This trip is the most important thing in my life at this time. I only live for you...I'm old and I need you. I will come by tomorrow at 10:00...Don't disappoint me. I love you and it's our only chance to be together for any length of time. Last week I only saw you about 1 hour all told. It's always a rush. It's my fault but please forgive me. And forgive me for yesterday. I'll explain more in La Costa. Please, please love me and go with me.
I love you,
PS: This is the 1st letter I've written in 25 years.
Princess & Pancoast
After yet another reconciliation with Alfred, Vicki Morgan made a temporary detour to what may have been her most peculiar romance.
She had become acquainted with a Saudi princess through her "maid-for-life," Fatima, who also worked at the princess' Beverly Hills mansion.
Princess Jawaher bint Saud, known as J, was the gay daughter of King Faisal, the Saudi monarch who was assassinated in 1975.
Vicki told biographers that J seemed to feel an immediate attraction to her the first time they met—like Bloomingdale and so many others.
They carried on an affair that culminated with a cruise to Hawaii aboard a luxury yacht. Vicki described the trip as a sex-and-drugs bacchanal.
The partying got so out of hand that the prudish captain of the leased ship ended the cruise prematurely.
Vicki was a wreck when she returned home, and friends convinced her to take a timeout after a decade of decadence.
In October 1979, she checked into the Thalians Community Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. She was diagnosed with drug dependency and depression.
At Thalians she was befriended by another patient, a gay, 29-year-old native Californian. He suffered from various mental pathologies, including schizophrenia. He had attempted suicide at least twice, and he had developed a dangerous habit of having anonymous sex in washrooms or wherever.
A college dropout, the man had spent 10 years doing menial work in public relations and talent agencies.
He had delusions of grandeur. While working at the William Morris Agency, he stole the home phone numbers of scores of celebrity clients and created a fantasy world in which famous people were his close friends.
Doctors at Thalians judged that the man was good for Vickie Morgan, and vice versa. They cheered one another up. They became new best friends.
But the doctors were wrong.
The man's name was Marvin Pancoast. A couple of years later, he would murder his new best friend.
Political Rise & Fall
As his mistress was trying to restore equilibrium to her life, Alfred Bloomingdale was enjoying a heady new role as a friend of Ronald Reagan.
The Bloomingdales, who had gone Republican in the mid-1960s, met the Reagans through mutual friends. Nancy Reagan and Betsy became best friends, and the Bloomingdales had supported Reagan's political ascendancy.
After Reagan was elected president, Bloomingdale joined a handful of other business magnates in his "kitchen cabinet," a circle of advisors who helped frame the early years of the neo-conservative era.
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan
Reagan named Bloomingdale to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The Bloomingdales stayed at the White House often during Reagan's first months in office, and they accompanied Nancy to the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in July 1981.
But Alfred Bloomingdale would have little time to enjoy his new status.
Days after Alfred's return from England, nagging discomfort in his throat was diagnosed as throat cancer. His prognosis was bleak.
Alfred resolved to maintain a relationship with Vicki. She visited him at the hospital, and the lovers managed occasional meetings between treatments.
He had renewed his support of his mistress at some point before the diagnosis, paying as much as $18,000 a month.
Out of guilt or love, he made an extraordinary decision on Feb. 12, 1982. He dictated two letters that spelled out continued support for Vicki "in the event of my incapacitation or absence."
One letter specified that Vicki should receive 50 percent of Alfred's interest in a Showbiz Pizza deal that was in the works. The other promised her monthly payments of $10,000 for two years.
It was a brave move in that the letters amounted to Bloomingdale's public acknowledgement of his long affair with Vicki.
But the letters would also further humiliate Betsy Bloomingdale. With this evidence, she couldn't deny that her husband had a lover.
As Alfred lay dying, Betsy Bloomingdale learned of his monthly $10,000 payments to Vicki and the letters promising future support.
Betsy stopped the payments in June 1982, and she cancelled the Showbiz Pizza deal that would have benefited the mistress.
Vicki visited Marvin Mitchelson, California's famous palimony attorney, and on July 8, 1982, she filed a $5 million breach-of-contract suit against Alfred.
Had Bloomingdale been a mere fat cat, the scandal might have been confined to the tabloid gossip columns in New York and Los Angeles. But his new status as a First Friend propelled the story to the news pages of the nation's most buttoned-down publications.
A New York Times headline was typical: "Friend of Reagans Is Named In $5 Million Suit for Support." Added Time magazine, "The tawdry tale has proved a minor embarrassment for the White House."
The story was made even sexier by a 234-page deposition by Vicki Morgan that included details of Bloomingdale's S&M issues.
Betsy Bloomingdale admitted the affair but characterized Vicki Morgan as a well-compensated prostitute who was due no future support.
On Aug. 23, Alfred Bloomingdale died at age 66, leaving his wife and children to clean up the mess he left behind.
And what a mess it was.
A few days after the funeral, Vicki—apparently inspired by narcotics—telephoned a Los Angeles newspaper to disparage Bloomingdale's widow.
"She buried him...like a dog," Vicki Morgan said. "This woman only thinks of one person...Betsy, Betsy, Betsy."
On Sept. 26, Judge Christian Markey dismissed Vicki Morgan's lawsuit, writing that she was "no more than a well-paid mistress." He said any agreement between them was invalid because it involved sex for hire.
Vicki was devastated—and busted.
To help pay the rent, she had taken a new roommate, her friend Marvin Pancoast from the Cedars-Sinai mental health center.
They moved together from luxury digs that Alfred had rented in Beverly Hills to a decidedly downscale condo on Colfax Avenue in Studio City.
The condo that Vicki and Marvin moved into in Studio City
The condo that Vicki and Marvin moved into in Studio City
The two had a complicated relationship.
Pancoast, 29, was an emotional masochist, and Vicki was happy to oblige with abuse. She treated him like a servant, even though Pancoast, who had a wealthy mother, was paying most of the bills.
But the star-struck Pancoast admired his roommate's proximity to the rich and famous. He kept a scrapbook of clippings about her Bloomingdale lawsuit.
And although he was gay, Pancoast developed a deep affection for Vicki. She thoughtlessly paraded a procession of lovers through their condo, including both men and women. (One of her sexual partners was a writer named Gordon Basichis, who was supposed to be ghostwriting her memoirs.)
Pancoast, with a history of mental illness dating to his adolescence, probably did not have the constitution to survive such an atmosphere.
He finally cracked in the summer of 1983.
Vicki and Marvin were being evicted for nonpayment of rent from the Studio City condo. She left it up to him to find a new place for them to live, then rejected each of his suggestions with a dismissive wave of her hand.
As eviction day approached, Vicki could not be bothered with packing. Pancoast did that, too.
Even when her mother, Connie Laney, showed up with a friend to help on the evening before eviction day, Vicki lay in bed, refusing to lift a finger while Pancoast and the women worked.
Late that night, after her mother left, Vicki ranted at Marvin for failing to find them a place to live.
Pancoast was exhausted and overwhelmed.
After Vicki went back to bed, he found himself rifling through boxes piled in the garage until he came upon a wooden baseball bat.
Sometime after midnight on July 7, 1983, Pancoast pushed open the door to Vicki Morgan's bedroom and beat her to death with the bat.
Vicki Morgan's impossibly complicated life ended one month and two days before her 31st birthday.
After the murder, Pancoast went for a walk, turning up at the North Hollywood police station at 3:20 a.m.
He approached the desk officer, Keith Wong, and said, "I just killed someone."
In his various confessions, Pancoast said Vicki treated him like a "little slave boy" with incessant demands and criticisms.
"I couldn't take it anymore," he said. "I just had to shut her up."
The murder allowed the media to reprise the Bloomingdale sex saga.
Marvin Pancoast in court
Marvin Pancoast in court
Robert Steinberg, one of Pancoast's lawyers, managed to ratchet up the sensationalism by claiming that Vicki's personal affects included videotapes of sex parties attended by men at the highest levels of American politics.
Steinberg said he had viewed portions of the tapes and had them in his possession. But when the media and authorities began pressing for proof, Steinberg announced that tapes had been stolen.
In end, that tangent of the scandal evaporated. The sex tapes were dismissed as a hoax, and Steinberg was charged with making a false report.
Pancoast's guilt, meanwhile, was a foregone conclusion. His sanity was not.
Under California law, the issues were considered separately.
A jury convicted him of murder nearly a year to the day after he beat Morgan to death. In something of a surprise, it then ruled—after four additional days of deliberations—that he was sane when he killed his roommate.
Pancoast was sentenced to 26 years in prison. But he would serve only a fraction of that. He died of AIDS in a prison infirmary in 1991.
Not long after the conviction, a California jury awarded $200,000 to Vicki Morgan's estate. Her lawyer and longtime friend, Michael Dave, had pressed an appeal of the dismissal of her breach-of-contract lawsuit.
The money went to Vicki's son, Todd Morgan, now 37, who is believed to be living in Southern California.
The lawsuit award did not cramp "Best-Dressed" Betsy Bloomingdale's lifestyle. She still lives in the Bel Air mansion, where she dotes on her grandchildren. She is still a leading society doyenne in Los Angeles. And she is still Nancy Reagan's best friend.
Less than 24 hours after Vicki was laid to rest last week—in a hurriedly arranged service paid for by a mystery benefactor—Robert Steinberg, a Los Angeles lawyer with no official connection to Vicki or her accused murderer, Marvin Pancoast, claimed to be in possession of videotapes that were potentially highly embarrassing to the Reagan White House. According to Steinberg, the tapes—which he later said were stolen from his office—showed Vicki and three other women having sex with Bloomingdale, a Congressman, two top-level presidential appointees and several cronies of Ronald Reagan. There were also reports of other incriminating videotapes and written documents picked up by the Los Angeles Police Department at the murder site, though the LAPD would neither confirm nor deny the existence of such "evidence." Palimony pioneer Marvin Mitchelson, who filed Morgan's 1982 suit against Bloomingdale, claimed he had learned that a White House adviser had confirmed the existence of the LAPD tapes, and that they reportedly compromised a Reagan Cabinet member.
This was not the first time the Reagan White House had been embarrassed by Vicki. The erstwhile model first gained notoriety last summer when she hit Bloomingdale, a member of Reagan's "Kitchen Cabinet," with a $5 million palimony suit, the bulk of which was thrown out of court by a judge who called the relationship "no more than that of a wealthy, older, married paramour and a young, well-paid mistress." Morgan's lurid allegations about Bloomingdale's sadomasochistic romps spattered her own reputation even as they provided grist for Beverly Hills gossipmongers: She testified to watching a "drooling" Bloomingdale flog naked women until they wept.
Why did she put up with such grotesque behavior? According to several acquaintances who knew her then, Vicki had one cardinal obsession. "She was absolutely money-mad," said Paul Caruso, a Beverly Hills lawyer who represented her in a 1977 damage suit—which was dropped—against Bloomingdale, 36 years her senior. "That's the only reason she wanted this suit filed. If that makes her sound like a high-class call girl, that's what it sounds like to me." The monthly allowance checks from her elderly lover, which ranged up to $18,000, seem to have been spent as soon as she could endorse them. She lived rent-free in a series of posh houses but "had nothing to show for all that money," according to Caruso.
Morgan's naiveté in financial matters was legendary. According to Mitchelson, she once spent $100,000 remodeling a house she was only renting. A close friend remembers Vicki as a spendthrift who traveled first-class, shopped at Neiman-Marcus, and lavished presents on her friends and family. And some of her lucre, apparently, went for recreational drugs, including cocaine.
Vicki found it impossible to adjust her spending habits when socialite Betsy Bloomingdale halted her hospitalized husband's support checks to Morgan in June 1982. Bloomingdale succumbed to cancer two months later, at 66. "He made Vicki's decisions for her," says a Morgan friend. "She was like his little child."
Ironically, it was money—or the lack of it—that linked Morgan to the man who confessed to her killing. Pancoast, 33, says he met her in 1979 when both were patients at a community mental health center at a Los Angeles hospital. (Bloomingdale was footing the bill for Vicki, who was battling depression.) He moved into her condo last month because both he and Vicki were out of work and struggling to meet expenses.
Pancoast, who left a job as a duplicating machine operator at the William Morris Agency in February, told reporters that he offered to support Vicki and her 14-year-old son, Todd, while she worked on a book about her liaison with Bloomingdale. But Pancoast's three-week stay with her (they were never lovers) was "pure hell," he said. She acted like the Queen of Sheba, he claimed, needling and commanding him to fetch and cook. "She never did anything," said Pancoast, who called himself Vicki's "little slave." "The only time she moved was when she was manipulating somebody."
On the day she died, Vicki complained that she didn't want to move into a Burbank condo the two had rented. She felt it was beneath her. Later, after she and Pancoast had settled in to watch the evening news, she insisted that he get out of bed, dress and drive to a store for potato chips.
After Pancoast returned, Vicki couldn't sleep. She reminisced endlessly about Alfred and better days, while Pancoast rubbed her feet with baby lotion and massaged her in an attempt to shut her up. Eventually, Pan-coast said, he dozed off, only to awaken to find Vicki chewing gum and smoking. A few minutes later he remembered Todd's baseball bat, in the car. "I went out and got it," Pancoast said. "I started hitting her. She raised up in the bed, but I just kept hitting her again and again and again."
Though many acquaintances see Vicki as a victim of her own greed and Machiavellian impulses, a close friend maintains that she became Pancoast's victim because of her proclivity for helping. "Vicki had an enormous heart," she says. "He stayed in touch with her because he would start to break down and she would always have the time to listen."
In the eyes of one professional man to whom she revealed her deepest thoughts and feelings, Vicki's turbulent life owed much to the fact that her father, an Air Force veteran, divorced her mother, Constance Laney, shortly after Vicki was born in Colorado Springs. Constance remarried and gave birth to a son, but her second husband died when Vicki was 9. Eventually mother and children settled in the L.A. suburb of Montclair, where Constance worked in the cafeteria of the school that Vicki later attended.
The absence of a paternal figure "colored Vicki's life," says a person who knew her very well for years. "She was seeking a father [which is] why she would have a relationship with a much older man like Bloomingdale."
Lack of education also plagued her. Pregnant at 16, she dropped out of Chaffee High School and gave birth to Todd out of wedlock. Her son's upbringing seems to have been as confusing as Vicki's. "In her way, she tried to be very loyal to him," says a friend. Still, according to Caruso, she left the boy in her mother's care when he was an infant and "dumped him on her mother frequently in order to go on trips with Bloomingdale." Constance also once tried to obtain legal custody of her grandson, but apparently was unsuccessful. Todd, described by a neighbor as "a punk rocker with a Mohawk haircut dyed green," was with her the night Morgan was killed.
Throughout Vicki's life, men seem to have been a source of solace, income and, ultimately, dissatisfaction. Her first husband was clothing wholesaler Earle Lamm, then 47, whom she wed in Las Vegas in 1970. She met Bloomingdale soon afterward. In a sworn deposition given for her 1982 lawsuit, Vicki said that when he asked her to be his mistress, she replied, "Okay, but I'm married." Bloomingdale, who knew what he wanted, told her to find out how much money it would take to persuade Lamm to divorce her.
During periods of estrangement from Bloomingdale, Vicki wed and shed two more men—John David Carson, an actor, and Robert H. Schulman, a wealthy real estate developer. For six months in 1974 she found room on her dance card for financier Bernard Cornfeld, a legendary womanizer and a friend of Bloomingdale's. Vicki lived in Cornfeld's Beverly Hills home and accepted his largesse. "Vicki never worked a day in her life," says Cornfeld, who remembers her fondly. Bloomingdale, however, seems to have dominated her existence from the moment he met her.
Vicki's last year was a melancholy one. The scandal surrounding her palimony suit took its toll: "She was terribly upset by the way she was portrayed in court," says Michael Dave, the last of her many lawyers. "She was a branded woman—a pariah." Unwittingly, Vicki may have provided the most fitting coda to her own story in the heat of her bid for Bloomingdale's money. "It really is an ugly mess," she said of I'affaire Alfred, "more than anyone will ever know."
"The audio tapes began to tell deep dark secrets of members of the Reagan
administration as well as Reagan himself. Vicki had no chance to survive after
she put on (audio) tape what she knew."
"It really is an ugly mess, more than anyone will ever really know..."
— Victoria Lynn Morgan August 13, 1982
2... Who Really Killed Vicki Morgan ... ?
The bottom line on Victoria Lynn Morgan can be summed up as:
The Girl Who Knew Too Much!
Those six words provide the most powerful of all motives for her murder on
July 7, 1983, in a rented condominium at 4171-D Colfax Avenue, Studio City,
California, from which she was about to be evicted for non-payment of rent.
The condo was located just 12 miles from a luxurious home at 1611 Tower Grove
Road, Beverly Hills. Morgan had paid the rent for the house in an exclusive
area of Beverly Hills out of the generous allowance provided her by department
store heir and Diner's Club founder Alfred Bloomingdale. It is a murder San
Fernando Valley residents still talk about several years after a self-admitted
homosexual, Marvin Pancoast, walked into the North Hollywood Division of the
Los Angeles Police Department and said that he had "...just killed someone."
But had he?
Pancoast was, after all, "mentally disturbed" and had spent some time in a
mental hospital. It was there that he first met Vicki Morgan. She had checked
herself into the facility "for therapy and observation for depression."
According to friends and relatives, including his long-suffering mother,
Pancoast was very easily brainwashed.
The "someone" Pancoast confessed to killing turned out to be Vicki Morgan, the
30-year-old daughter of a U.S. Air Force recruiter, Delbert Morgan, and a
British mother, Constance. While Vicki was still an infant, Morgan deserted
the family, leaving Constance, Vicki and two other children virtually
After living off welfare checks and odd jobs for four years, Constance married
Ralph Laney, a tool and die maker from Montclair, California. The bedroom
community of lower middle-class families in the foothills of the San Gabriel
Mountains lies 50 miles due east from Baghdad-on-thePacific.
Several years later, Laney keeled over and died of a heart attack just one
month after his life insurance policy had lapsed! Vicki, by then, was a
blossoming 13-year-old who was left with little supervision while her mother
went to work to support her brood. At 16, Vicki became pregnant and bore a
son, Todd, around her 17th birthday. The child was fathered by Vicki's high
school sweetheart, now a doctor in Santa Barbara. She later married him in
order to give the child a name.
When Todd was about a year old, Vicki decided her life was going nowhere and
decided totry her luck in Hollywood. She left Todd to be raised by her long-
suffering mother, his father contributing to the child's support.
So started the trail of the destruction and early death of Victoria Lynn
Vicki first met Alfred Bloomingdale in a Sunset Strip coffee shop, The Old
World, a hangout at that time for Hollywood roues looking for some action with
nubile aspiring actresses who used to hang out at the outdoor tables because
of their proximity to many agents and casting offices.
Vicki was killing time over a cup of coffee between appointments for potential
modeling assignments when Bloomingdale struck up a conversation. Following the
usual small talk, he convinced the still naive childwoman from Montclair that
he could, with his connections, land her some modeling and acting assignments.
This was the sort of conversation heard many times a day at The Old World.
Nevertheless, Vicki, who had been making the rounds for several months, gave
Bloomingdale her telephone number, believing she would never hear from him
But hear she did and, as he promised, Bloomingdale had made anappointment for
her with famed producer Mervyn LeRoy. Over a breakfast meeting, LeRoy had
agreed to see Vicki to see if he could further her career. After the meeting,
LeRoy realized that she was too inexperienced for him to do anything for her.
All that came out of the meeting was that Vicki met Cary Grant, a business
associate of the producer. That introduction resulted in a short-lived affair
with Grant at his Beverly Hills home and in Malibu, and a few hundred dollars
in Vicki's pocket.
A few weeks after she stopped seeing Grant, Vicki agreed to become
Bloomingdale"s mistress. It was then she began receiving checks of $10,000 to
$18,000 per month. These came from several different companies controlled by
Bloomingdale. He made it quite dear to Vicki that the money was in return for
her full-time companionship and for "therapy" for what Vicki later learned to
call his "Marquis de Sade" complex. The Morgan-Bloomingdale relationship
reached a point where Vicki even accompanied Bloomingdale on extensive
overseas business trips. She often followed him in secret when his socialite
wife, Betsy, a close friend of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, was along. While Betsy
was, as usual, shopping, Bloomingdale and Morgan found plenty of time for
their trysts in London, Paris, and in a hotel near the Vatican in Rome.
Bloomingdale's initial sexual attraction grew into genuine affection for Vicki
and her willingness to accommodate his sado-masochistic desires. One might say
that $10,000 to $18,000 per month will finance an awful lot of desire.
Vicki's first sexual encounter with Bloomingdale involved two prostitutes who
were called in by Alfred. Once there, they proceeded to beat the hell out of
each other and Bloomingdale. All this was in Vicki's presence so that the
aging Lothario could get a hard on and mount his new and voluptuous toy.
Bloomingdale had been a very early supporter of Ronald Reagan, even before
Reagan became Governor of California. He was also a member of Reagan's
"Kitchen Cabinet," a club made up of wealthy and influential Southern
California businessmen and political leaders.
During the 1980 Presidential campaign, Bloomingdale installed his mistress as
a Republican campaign assistant. He saw to it that she acted as driver and
guide for the then Vice Presidential candidate, George Bush, during his three
campaign swings into California. She once told her "palimony"' lawyer, Marvin
Mitchelson, that she overheard and was told secrets which would make Watergate
look like pre-school.
With the help of Vicki and her friends, Bloomingdale was able to service the
often bizarre sexual appetites of the rich and famous throughout the world,
especially when they came to the City of the Angels.
One player in the high stakes fun and games in the house Bloomingdale owned in
the Hollywood Hills was Marvin Pancoast. Unbeknownst to Vicki or Pancoast at
the time, Bloomingdale had the house equipped with state-of-the-art video
cameras in every room and hidden behind false walls. Even the three johns were
"wired" behind two way mirrors. Pancoast was becoming known in the theatrical
agency where he worked in the mail room and around Hollywood as quite a
character. Vicki and Pancoast, at the request of Bloomingdale, would often
"share" a high ranking member of the late Administration. Pancoast would then,
shall we say, give a "blow by blow" account to his friends or anyone else
willing to listen.
Anyone who was important in the pre-Administration and the administration of
Ronald Reagan and who wanted divertissement called on Alfred, regardless of
what his particular fetish might be. At the start, it appeared that
Bloomingdale just wanted to indulge his fantasies while maintaining some
control over the political climate in America, using Vicki's and Marvin's
genitalia for the purpose. Everything that took place in the Hollywood Hills
house was recorded on video tape. It was these tapes which eventually figured
in the destruction of Vicki Morgan.
As Confucius is said to have written centuries ago, The penis is the axis upon
which the world revolves. It is obvious that Alfred Bloomingdale believed in
that adage wholeheartedly. He was, at the time, becoming very concerned about
the life insurance policy that these tapes would represent for Vicki if
anything happened to him. But Vicki's sophistication in survival tactics was
non-existent and she never prepared for such an eventuality by stashing the
tapes where they would serve as her life insurance policy. But, by this time,
the relationship between Victoria Lynn Morgan and Alfred Bloomingdale had
developed into a love story of epic proportions.
Once she became Alfred Bloomingdale's mistress of record, Vicki's life changed
radically; she lived in the fast lane which only those with inborn
sophistication and street smarts could survive. Vicki had neither, merely an
educated sexual appetite in order to pay the bills. She had come a long way,
nevertheless, from the working class neighborhood of Montclair. She had
learned early in life how to use her voluptuous body and bedroom charms to get
what she wanted.
Over the long haul, Vicki was being turned off by Bloomingdale's ever-
increasing appetite for Sado-Masochism. She was also tired of, and bored with
beating him with thongs, straps, whips and anything else that came to hand.
Sometime around 1974, Vicki was in one of her "I hate Al" moods and moved into
the Beverly Hills harem of financier Bernie Kornfeld, whom she had met while
with Alfred. The diminutive Kornfeld installed Vicki in a bedroom connected to
his via a secret passageway. She soon became tired of being just another of
Kornfeld's toys, as well. She escaped from his clutches and drove to New York
in one of the financier's cars and with one of his credit cards, and several
of Alfred's which he had given to her.
In New York, Morgan took on modeling assignments from the topdrawer Ford
agency, where she had been introduced by Kornfeld several years before. She
stayed away from Alfred.
Vicki worked with another beautiful model who is now Mrs. Cristina Ferrare
Thomopolous, formerly Cristina De Lorean (and, before that, as Cristina
Ferrare while under contract to 20th Century-Fox). Both were flown to far-
flung modeling assignments — of a sort — in a Kornfeld jet piloted by William
Hetrick. It was on one of these assignments that Morgan met and had an affair
with the King of Morocco, and became one of his palace favorites because of
her ability to please him sexually. He "rewarded" Vicki with many thousands of
dollars in jewelry.
(Hetrick, the pilot, is the same William Hetrick who, in 1982, was charged
along with auto manufacturer John Z. De Lorean (then Cristina's husband) in a
bungled FBI "sting" operation for dealing in cocaine. De Lorean plead "Not
Guilty" and was acquitted.
(De Lorean's acquittal came after the Federal Court Jury had viewed video
tapes of De Lorean receiving a suitcase full of the nose candy in a hotel room
near the Los Angeles International Airport. Hetrick, charged in the same case,
plead "Guilty," cooperated in the prosecution, so called, of De Lorean, and
went to jail for several years!)
A Federal Agent provided another glimpse of Vicki Morgan during another of her
many separations from Bloomingdale. The agent asserted he met her at the now
defunct Rotunda Restaurant on Washington's Capitol Hill. This was an elegant
spa with a clientele of Congressmen and Senators where many of them could be
observed by a practiced eye walking out with briefcases with which they had
not arrived. It also served as the hangout for government officials of all
ranks, call girls, and many mobsters of note.
It was the agent's job to hang around the watering hole because it was
considered at the time as a Big Bird intelligence nest. Vicki, our agent
friend recalled, seemed to be a warm and friendly person, and she was part of
a "sexpionage" ring operating out of the restaurant. It was never definitely
established whether or not Bloomingdale put Vicki up to this to further
several of his Machiavellian schemes. It is firmly believed that he did. The
agent noted that one day while browsing in the Woodward and Lathrop department
store, he bumped into Vicki just as she was planting a kiss on the cheek of
one Alexei Goodarzi who presided over the Rotunda as maitre d'. Vicki then
introduced a second, distinguished looking man as "my father". The agent
subsequently learned that he was Alfred Bloomingdale and that he often
introduced Vicki as "my daughter
It was alleged in many circles that Goodarzi was a high ranking Washington
pimp, a procurer and a dual agent of the Shah of Iran's secret police, the
dreaded SAVAK, as well as the CIA. You could say it was sort of a fox-
Three years after he first met Vicki Morgan and Alfred Bloomingdale,
Goodarzi's body was found behind the wheel of his new Porsche, his brains
decorating the dashboard because of three well-placed bullet holes in the back
of his head. The Iranian's "trick book" and other potential blackmail material
were later found in his apartment, but his killer, or killers, were never
found; perhaps, as some have said, on purpose.
"The Goodarzi Connection," as it came to be known, demonstrates that Vicki
Morgan was getting in knee-deep with high stakes players whose death might
only be a telephone call away. Many have said her position at the time was not
unlike that of Judith Campbell Exner, a onetime Hollywood and New York party
girl. Exner carried on a clandestine affair with the late John F. Kennedy in
and out of the White House bedrooms, at the same time that she was the
mistress of Mafia mobster Sam Giancana. During the same period she was also
servicing Giancana's lieutenant, Johnny Roselli, a long-standing friend of
Alfred Bloomingdale dating from the 1940's.
(Campbell had been introduced to JFK in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. Bloomingdale
had once been an agent for Sinatra during the singer's salad days as a big
band crooner. Because of Bloomingdale's association with Roselli, the FBI had
opened a file on the department store scion in the early 1960's.)
Vicki should have been able to foretell her future at the time of Goodarzi's
death because three of that circle's principals died violent and non-
o John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22,1963;
o Sam Giancana was shot point blank in the head in the kitchen of his Chicago
mansion. (This was just a few days prior to his testifying before a U.S.
Senate Committee probing the joint CIA-Mafia adventure in Cuba in which it was
planned to put out the lights of Fidel Castro once and for all);
o Johnny Roselli's body was found stuffed into a fifty-gallon oil drum
floating in Biscayne Bay near Miami in 1976. (This was shortly after Roselli
had testified, briefly, before a House panel investigation which had re-opened
the JFK assassination).
o Only Exner and Sinatra are alive today.
Following Ronald Reagan's ascendancy to the White House, Bloomingdale was
looking forward to his long-hoped-for Ambassadorship to France. Unfortunately,
it was discovered that his wife, Betsy, had been caught red-handed in 1975
attempting to smuggle tens of thousands of dollars worth of Dior gowns into
the United States by the 'Doctored Invoice Ploy" to cut down on customs duty.
Betsy, who had always been considered a paragon of virtue and a pillar of the
Washington, D.C.-Beverly Hills-Palm Springs society axis, was, in spite of
Alfred's power and connections, sentenced to one year's probation and a stiff
$5,000 fine. The Judge in the case excoriated Betsy Bloomingdale, telling her,
"...you deserve the contempt of this court and of the society which has served
you so well!"
This conviction of Betsy made the Bloomingdales ineligible for such a
sensitive position as an Ambassadorship, even though his affair with Vicki
Morgan could have been overlooked. Nevertheless, Ronald Reagan named his old
California backer to a far more important post: The Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board, an organization that still oversees covert actions, dirty
tricks, and CIA undercover operations of every kind. It is, perhaps, the
single most sensitive intelligence apparatus in the U.S. Government. (This
Commission was hurriedly called into play during the Iranscam scandal in
1986-1987 to help alleviate some of the damage to the Administration, and to
The life of Alfred Bloomingdale, when it is broken down, dissected and
analyzed (and one conjectures about the information and state secrets he must
have shared with Vicki Morgan), reads like an intelligence or crime dossier
you might find in a John Le Carre or Ian Fleming novel. There is one more very
strange connection which came to light for the first time following
Bloomingdale's death, and the revelation is believed to have originated with
Vicki — something she should not have known for her own protection.
When Bloomingdale married the former Betsy Newling in 1946, he changed his
religion from the Jewish faith to Catholicism. He was, it turned out, a member
of the world-wide Knights of Malta. Major figures in both the Reagan
Administration and the Bloomingdale-Morgan affair, in short, in the murder of
Vicki Morgan and the resultant cover-up, are all associated with the Knights
of Malta. Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana, Neil Reagan, the President's
brother, and William Clark, the President's former Secretary of the Interior,
are or were members. Membership was also enjoyed by the late William Casey,
the CIA chief until his death in 1987.
Bloomingdale was also much more than a prominent Catholic layman; he was
nothing less than a Papal Knight. According to Sheldon Davis, his biographer,
"Alfred was a frequent visitor to the Vatican with tremendous influence." It
was not very well known until the Banco Ambrosiano-Vatican Bank-Richard Calvi-
Bishop Marcinkus conspiracy that the Vatican is — or was — the center of a
world-wide intelligence and diplomatic network, and Bloomingdale was at the
very center of that network.
Bloomy, as he was known, was an enigma wrapped inside a riddle.
When Alfred Bloomingdale, who had been ill for years, finally realized that he
did not have long to live, he took steps to provide Vicki with both financial
and — he believed — physical security. They had been together for about twelve
years. He knew that the assets of his estate, including the Bloomingdales
Department Store stock, would be tied up in the family trust. Therefore, he
wrote a letter to Vicki and advised her that she would be paid $10,000 per
month from several companies he controlled outside the Trust. This included
the Marina Bay Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bloomingdale then wrote a letter to William McComas, the general partner of
the hotel property instructing him that Vicki was to receive one half of his
interest in another business, Show Biz Pizza Parlors. "Her name" wrote
Bloomingdale, "should be included in all contracts so that this cannot be
taken away from her in the event of my incapacitation or absence." He was
obviously referring to his impending death from cancer.
Following his death, Vicki prevailed upon palimony attorney Marvin Mitchelson
to file a $5 million suit against the estate of Alfred Bloomingdale which
served to publicize the lurid details of the sado-masochistic tendencies of
her benefactor. Betsy Bloomingdale, upon learning of the secret letters to pay
Vicki a monthly allowance, vigorously opposed the payments and cut them off.
For physical insurance, Bloomingdale is said to have supplied Vicki with the
video tapes from the Hollywood Hills home, several of which revealed major
figures in politics and the Reagan Administration in action with Vicki, Marvin
Pancoast, and other males and females.
Bloomingdale never realized that the possession of the tapes could cut both
ways. In the end, Victoria Lynn Morgan, the 17-year-old from Montclair,
California, who made the big time through a 25c cup of coffee at The Old World
Coffee Shop, became a two-time loser within a very short period.
Several weeks after Bloomingdale's death, Judge Christian E. Markey,
sympathetic to the Reagan Administration and its sycophants, tossed out the
bulk of Vicki's palimony suit, including the letter to McComas. Markey ruled
that Vicki's relationship with Alfred Bloomingdale was "no more than that of a
wealthy, older man, married paramour and young, well-paid mistress." With this
pompous pronouncement from the bench, Markey reduced Vicki Morgan to no more
than a hooker who had been paid by the trick.
And in the early morning hours of July 7, 1983, someone cashed in Morgan's
life insurance policy with a baseball bat. The Louisville Slugger later turned
up with no blood stains and having never been dusted for fingerprints. (When
noise is a factor in detection, a baseball bat is a favorite method of hired
In the pursuit of the killer or killers of Vicki Morgan — and nobody for one
minute believes that Marvin Pancoast killed Vicki Morgan, in spite of his
(later recanted) confession — the trail winds circuitously. It runs through
the garbage dump of America's organized crime and into the back alleys of
sinister covert actions, and even Washington politicos.
The Morgan-Bloomingdale liaison was an affaire d'amour of power and its
absolute corruption. Vicki Morgan was caught in the middle and was too naive
to realize what was happening to her. The girl was taken out of the country,
but the country was never taken out of her, to paraphrase an old cliche.
Following Pancoast's strange and rambling admissions to the desk sergeant at
the North Hollywood Division, LAPD radio car officer Kenneth Henckle was
dispatched to the condo on Colfax Avenue. Henckle found the front door
unlocked, and the living room littered with packing boxes preparatory to
Henckle made his way cautiously upstairs to the master bedroom on the second
floor of the three-story structure. On entering the bedroom through the
partially opened door, he discovered a body wrapped in a bloodstained yellow
shirt and bikini panties, its right arm entangled in the bed sheets, lying on
one side of a king-sized bed.
It was the body of Victoria Lynn Morgan, thirteen years removed from
Montclair, California, now brutally undone by ambition for a life in the fast
Blood, according to Henckle, was everywhere. On the walls, the ceiling, the
floor. The baseball bat of light-colored wood was resting across the body.
Without concerning himself with fingerprints, which might have been on the
bat, Henckle placed it against the wall so he could check the pulse for any
sign of life. There was none, and Henckle advised his Desk Sergeant by walkie-
talkie of the situation as it appeared to him.
The Watch Commander of the Homicide Division, Detective William Welch, left
the questioning of a distraught, confused and rambling Marvin Pancoast to
Detective Jay Rush, and headed for the Colfax condo. It was noted at the time
that Pancoast did not have a spot of blood on him anywhere. This fact was
never brought out during his trial. But, if he had killed Vicki, he could not
have helped but be covered in the substance. No bloody clothes from which he
might have changed were ever found in the condo, either.
When Welch entered the bedroom he, too, noticed the blood everywhere and had
to push aside boxes and cartons to inspect the homicide scene. Welch also
found zipper clothes bags emblazoned with the distinctive logos of world
famous hotels and airlines, as well as couturiers, belongings strewn
everywhere, dresser drawers on the floor, their contents scattered as though
the apartment had been ransacked in a frenetic search for something. If he had
planned to confess, Pancoast would never have gone to the trouble of creating
such chaos over and above the moving arrangements already made.
On a night stand, Welch recounted in his report, there were a quantity of
drugs and pill cases but, as he would testify later on, he left them there.
The so-called experienced homicide investigator did nothing to secure the
probable cause of Morgan's death, twenty or more video cassettes, VCR and
video camera in a cabinet against the wall. As far as Welch was concerned,
they were tapes of movies and labeled as such. (What better place or method to
"hide" anything. In plain sight and, in this case, cassettes marked with movie
titles?) Welch admitted at Pancoast's trial that he did not list, catalog or
scan any of those tapes. When asked what he did with them, Welch replied,
"They were left in the residence!"
Welch did admit that he did take the baseball bat after initialing it with a
marker pen he found on the night table and placed it in a plastic bag he had
also found in the apartment. As many members of the press, and others pointed
out later, it was indeed a strange and unorthodox way to conduct a serious
murder investigation, a "confession" notwithstanding. It appeared to many
people that Welch, in the true tradition of supporting the oligarchical
society and the tenets of the Hollywood community, was trying to sanitize the
scene and wrap up the investigation with the least amount of speculation.
But, in even more remarkable revelations, Welch was asked, "Did you either
personally, or did you request anyone, to check the deceased's residence for
fingerprints? Or the baseball bat? Or have the pills found beside the bed
analyzed for their drug content?" Welch replied, to the astonishment of
everyone, "No. I did not!"
During the time Vicki lived at the Colfax Avenue address, she was considering
the possibility of writing a book with a writer she knew, a Gordon Basichis.
She had met the writer several years earlier and contacted him following a
turn-down by a major talent agency to represent her on a major publishing
Before contacting Basichis, Vicki seriously considered writing Alfred's
Mistress herself following his death in August, 1982. She felt that with her
bankroll dead and buried, she could not afford to pay a writer up to 50% of
any proceeds the book would fetch. She needed the money because Vicki Morgan,
who never realized there would be a tomorrow, did not invest or save one dime
of the monthly allowances she received from Bloomingdale over many years. (She
had asked Alfred to advise her on this many times, but he always put it off.
He obviously wanted to keep Vicki under his thumb and could not if she
developed an outside income.)
Pancoast arranged a meeting for Vicki with a lower echelon agent at the
William Morris Agency, his employer for several years. The agent began
negotiations to represent Morgan in the sale of the book rights, along with
the movie and/or TV sales which might result. Vicki visited the agency three
times, so far along were the negotiations.
But then in September or October of 1982, we learned that a senior executive
of the agency, which already represented General Alexander Haig and ex-
President Gerald R. Ford, along with many important people of their ilk,
received a call from a highly placed client. The executive was told that if
the William Morris Agency represented Vicki Morgan, dire results from
Government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, could ensue.
Pancoast, a homosexual with a long history of psychological problems, first
met Vicki Morgan in 1979 when both were patients at a private Southern
California mental hospital. He worked and helped Vicki gather information and
material for her palimony suit because she couldn't afford to hire private
Following Judge Markey's dismissal of her suit, Vicki, whom many friends
described as "Gucci'd and Giorgio'd to death'" was forced to sell most of her
jewelry and her Mercedes convertible. Pancoast agreed to move in with her in
the condo as a sort of bodyguard, and to split the $1,000 per month rent.
Basichis testified at the trial that Pancoast came in late the night before
Morgan's death and paced back and forth in the third floor bedroom. "This was
not like him," the author testified, "and then at 2 a.m., he was on the
telephone talking to someone. I stayed, made love to Vicki and then we talked
until 7:30 a.m. and recorded some more of her memoirs."
"Before I left," he continued, "'Vicki confided in me that she was afraid of
being murdered. I have a feeling," he told the court, "that someone with
knowledge of the Bloomingdale 'tapes' had approached her, possibly through
Pancoast, with a proposal for blackmail." He did not elaborate any further.
Vicki Morgan was murdered the following night about 2 a.m., according to the
Los Angeles County Coroner. She was, his report said, beaten to death with a
blunt instrument. "I read the confession of Marvin," Basichis continued. "He
(Pancoast) walks into a police station and voluntarily confesses. (It) covered
eight or ten loose-leaf pages. Nobody ever asked him, 'Was anyone with you in
the apartment?" Nobody said, 'Should we go over this again?' It seems strange.
A poor approach to a murder investigation," Basichis told the court. "Why, he
never even had any blood on his clothes and blood was all over the bedroom
according to the police report. He couldn't have helped but get splattered
with Vicki's blood!"
On the surface, it would appear that the LAPD detectives wanted to sweep the
Morgan investigation under the rug, get it into court and disposed of as
quickly as possible. Perhaps they were being pressured by early morning
telephone calls when the news got out of Vicki's death, or someone was
contacted by someone involved in Morgan's death, or by someone who had wanted
her dead. That contact could possibly have been Jay Paul, a suspended LAPD
officer who had been playing footsie with U.S. Intelligence Agents while he
was a member of the LAPD Intelligence Unit. No one ever expected Marvin
Pancoast to recant his confession.
The co-author of yet another book on Victoria Lynn Morgan, Vicki, Anne Louise
Bardach, commented, "This is really a story of police negligence. The scene of
the crime was NOT sealed by the LAPD until 24 hours following the murder. What
kind of police work is that? It's unheard of," she said. "People could just
walk in and walk out. And they did. If there were any "sex tapes' in the
condo, then they could easily have disappeared during those 24 hours."
What Bardach, Basichis or anyone else failed to point out is the fact that
when Pancoast went to the North Hollywood Police Station, "to confess," he had
left the door to the condo unlocked or ajar. This explained the easy access to
the condo by Officer Henckle. However, what has also never been explained, nor
has anyone ever questioned it: how did Pancoast get to the police station,
four miles away, without a car? His old blue Oldsmobile was found where he
parked it when he arrived home earlier in the evening. Did he walk? No, the
time element rules that out. Did he take a taxi? This was never checked by the
media or the police. Did someone in the apartment at the time drive him there
and then take off, perhaps convincing the mentally disturbed Pancoast that he
either killed or contributed to Vicki's death? In other words, brainwash a
disturbed mind under drug induced hypnosis?
We learned from friends of Vicki's and neighbors following her death that
Pancoast went out around midnight on the murder night. When he returned a
short time later, they said, he was accompanied by Basichis and four other
men, the group arriving in two cars. Since the Coroner placed the time of
Vicki's death as early as 2 a.m., possibly before, this development is
intriguing in the extreme. There was at least an hour and a half from the
supposed 2 a.m. death of Vicki until Officer Henckle arrived at 3:30 a.m.
(There was no one in the condo when Henckle arrived).
Who were those other people who arrived with Pancoast, and where were they
while Vicki was having her skull crushed with a Louisville Slugger in the
master bedroom? Did "they" aid and abet Vicki's death for an ulterior motive
such as obtaining possession of the so-called "sex tapes?" Could Pancoast, in
his confused mental state have mentioned the tapes and their value to those in
It would have been a relatively simple matter in that hour and a half for
anyone to have walked upstairs, searched (and ransacked?) the bedroom and gone
through the twenty or so cassettes in Vicki's bedroom, even viewing two or
three or more minutes of each tape to find the incriminating one, and then
leave with one or more cassettes under their arm. It will be recalled that
Detective Welch never mentioned how many tapes there were in his
There is precious little physical evidence, if any, to link Marvin Pancoast to
the death of Vicki Morgan — even though he was found guilty by a jury. His
"confession" was recanted within hours after it was dictated to detectives at
North Hollywood. Further, Pancoast had no motive. In homicide cases all over
the world, police look for a suspect with a motive, then means and the
opportunity. With Pancoast having no motive, the chain was broken at its most
But it is those tapes of alleged orgies which still have many people in high
places very concerned over their eventual fate and who might have them.
Writing in the Rebel, a defunct magazine of the early 1980's, investigative
reporters William Turner (a former FBI agent) and Donald Freed wrote:
"The Police disinterest in the video tapes lasted precisely four days
following Vicki's death. On the night of July 11, a wake was held for Vicki at
the home of Sally Talbert, one of her oldest friends. Michael Dave, Vicki's
personal attorney who had drawn up the Alfred's Mistress contract with Gordon
Basichis for Vicki, was there.
"Around 10 p.m. Dave received a call from LAPD homicide detective Bill Welch,
who was in charge of the murder investigation, so called, of Vicki Morgan. He
and Dave had attended school together.
"Welch wanted to know where the video tapes were that had been in Vicki's
condo. Dave verified with Vicki's mother, Constance Laney, that they were
among Vicki's possessions at her Montclair home. Welch told the attorney to
have Mrs. Laney get them at once and bring them to him.
"Dave argued that it was late and a two-hour round trip to Montclair would be
made in the morning. Listen, Mike, I want you to know that I'm prepared to get
a search warrant tonight and get those tapes,' Welch warned the attorney.
-After much hondling[?] back and forth, it was agreed that Dave would call a
Stanley Weisberg, the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Pancoast
prosecution, who had been putting the heat on Welch. Weisberg, who had gone to
law school with Dave, allowed him to promise to bring in the tapes first thing
in the morning. The attorney complied without viewing them."
What undoubtedly triggered the frantic interest in Vicki's video tape
collection was another attorney, Robert K. Steinberg, and his startling
disclosure that someone had delivered to him two of the tapes two days
previously which showed some of the then Reagan administration at play. But,
later, at Pancoast's preliminary hearing, Welch and Weisberg did a tap dance
around the court room that made it seem as if the tapes were still out at
Montclair where Victoria Lynn Morgan, as a young teenager, first learned the
joy of sex in the back seat of a hot rod.
"When you last saw them (the tapes) they were still in the condo on Colfax
Avenue. Is that correct?" Weisberg asked Welch.
"Yes, sir," was the answer from the witness stand.
And was that apartment and its contents released to some person?" the Deputy
D.A. inquired, rather gingerly.
"Yes, it was," replied Welch, brushing an imaginary speck from his polyester
suit. "To Mrs. Laney as the deceased's executor."
"Have you, at any time since, seen any of those video tapes again?" Weisberg
wanted to know.
"No! I have not!" Welch answered quietly.
Weisberg's intent to keep the tapes from being entered into evidence is
understandable. It was a wise career move. He could have found himself
prosecuting claim jumpers and dog-nappers in the Mojave Desert.
Prior to Pancoast's preliminary hearing, Steinberg, a showboat of the legal
profession of Beverly Hills, held a press conference to announce the existence
of the two tapes in his possession. He said that he and two others, one a
lawyer, the other a Federal employee, had viewed them over the weekend. They
appeared to be a year or two old and showed Bloomingdale and five other men,
one a former U.S. Congressman, and two others holding high posts in the Reagan
Administration. The sex tapes, Steinberg asserted at the press conference,
"...could bring down the present administration!"
A few days later, Steinberg's bombshell was reduced to shrapnel when, faced
with a court order to turn the tapes over to the police and/ or the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, Steinberg alibied that they had been, "stolen from a
gym bag in my office during a press conference."
A mocking Los Angeles press corps turned the tapes into the Maltese Falcon of
the Vicki Morgan case.
Again, in the Rebel, Turner wrote:
"'The Rebel has interviewed a person close to the situation (not Steinberg)
who contends that the tapes DO exist and show three separate sessions: (1)
Vicki Morgan, Alfred Bloomingdale, and an unidentified female; (2) Barry
Goldwater, Jr. (the former Congressman) and Edwin Meese III, one of
Bloomingdale's old time playmates; and (3) unnamed Reagan associates with
various females and Vicki Morgan engaging in oral sex."
Because of the explosive nature of this statement, the tale of the tapes went
largely unreported in' the Los Angeles media, print or electronic. Only the
left wing throwaway with a huge circulation, the LA Weekly, ran an article by
Anne Louise Bardach, (the co-author, with Joyce Milton, of Vicki) which named
names. In a sidebar to the Bardach article, the editors of LA Weekly, further
buttressing the fact that the tapes did (or do) exist, stated:
"'Sources the Weekly would tend to believe are reliable say that Meese almost
certainly appears to be one of the men on such tapes, even given the
difficulty of making a positive identification of someone on a video tape.
"According to a second extremely reliable source, Vicki knew Meese and met
with him both before and after the 1980 Presidential election. Meese, it might
be noted, was a friend of Bloomingdale's who met Vicki through him and,
according to the Weekly's source, saw her several more times after that."
What the fate of those tapes is, or has been, in the intervening years since
Vicki's death, is anyone's guess. However, from the author's informant, they
still do exist. They could be, we are told, being held back by some powerful
individual with megabucks to play with, who purchased the tapes and is
protecting the Administration. They could be being held also, to use as a pawn
in legislation of some benefit to the owner. This is what we have been told by
people privy to the situation.
So, the question still remains, and probably always will, who killed Victoria
Lynn Morgan, the voluptuous young courtesan who emerged from a small, working-
class bedroom community of Southern California and into the bedrooms of some
of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the U.S. and Europe?
It is very doubtful that Marvin Pancoast, now allegedly dying of AIDS in a
California prison, committed the murder; he had no motive and had always been
very protective of Vicki. When he walked into the North Hollywood police
station, there was not a trace of blood on him, even though the murder scene
was a bloody mess. There were no fingerprint checks made of the baseball bat
or the murder scene itself. When one was made several days after the murder,
none were found.
It has also never been learned, even from Pancoast, how he reached the police
station, over four miles from the condo, when his car was later found parked
on Colfax Avenue.
It has never been discovered (except for Basicihis, who said he only returned
to the apartment courtyard to pick up his car and never went into the condo)
who the other people were who arrived at the unit with Pancoast two or more
hours before Vicki Morgan had her lights put out. Pancoast's attorney, Arthur
Barens, was to learn who they might have been in mysterious telephone calls
following Pancoast's arrest and "confession!"
After he had been jailed and settled into a steady routine, and treated by a
psychiatrist employed by Los Angeles County, Marvin Pancoast appeared to be a
The psychiatrist studied Pancoast's medical history and then restored him to a
regime of major tranquilizers — a favorite tool of this branch of the medical
profession. These tranquilizers had a calming effect, according to those at
the L.A. County Jail and the few visitors Pancoast had while in the Hall of
While in the lock-up, Pancoast told Arthur Barens that he had no memory at all
of beating Vicki Morgan to death. Vicki was dead when he came out of his (drug
induced?) stupor at the condo and he had assumed he must be responsible!
He said that the last time he saw Vicki Morgan alive was shortly before
midnight. She was sitting up in bed dressed in a yellow shirt and bikini
panties and watching the Tonight Show. In the middle of the monologue — with
apologies to Johnny Carson — Marvin says he dropped off.
Sometime later, he said, he awoke feeling dizzy and nauseated. He was aware,
he claims, of a sweet, sickish odor in the room, a smell that reminded him of
medicine (chloroform?) or, possibly, very strong nail polish remover.
Still only "half conscious," he told Barens, he saw Vicki's body on the far
side of the huge bed, her head a bloody mess. The hall light was on and there
was, he remembered, water running in the bathroom. (Could this have been the
murderer or murderers washing off tell-tale bloodstains who didn't realize
Pancoast had awakened? Had he been hypnotized while under?)
Disoriented, Pancoast said he quietly staggered down the stairs and out the
front door. It was closed but not locked and he left it that way.
The next thing he remembers is being at the North Hollywood Police station and
cannot explain how he got there.
As with all sensational murder cases, the Vicki Morgan homicide generated a
swirl of rumors which continue on and off even today. An attorney, Robert
Steinberg is believed to have seen one (or more) of the "Bloomingdale Tapes"
but never had total and complete control over their destiny for more than 24
A powerful cabal, we have been told by sources who must remain anonymous,
selected Steinberg to "broker" the tapes to the highest bidder. But when he
went "public" with the press in a fit of show-boating, the cabal which, some
say is, or was, headquartered in Pennsylvania, decided Steinberg "had blown
A "deep cover" Federal Agent, according to William Turner in The Rebel, using
the nom de plume "David Phillip Habersheim," is believed to have pilfered the
tape(s) from Steinberg buttressed by the fact that later on he boasted to
cronies that Steinberg "was an easy victim!"
On the fringes of the conspiracy was a source who originally contacted William
Turner. This "someone" claimed to be an ex-spook from the CIA and talked to
the ex-FBI Special Agent about Morgan's connecton with the renegade CIA agent
The same source also constantly called Arthur Barens and at all hours of the
day and night. The caller poured out, supposedly, an incredibly complex tale
of intrigue, like something out of an early Graham Greene novel. The gist of
the calls was that Vicki Morgan had participated in a sex and espionage ring
with CIA connections while in Washington, D.C. This was operated by Alexei
Goodarzi, the slain maitre 'd of The Rotunda, according to the caller.
On the night of her death, the spook said another ex-spook, who had been
working undercover on the De Lorean drug case (which he called entrapment by
the Government) had received a call ordering him to Vicki's condo to retrieve
some "compromising tapes."
"David Phillip Habersheim?"
Barens said later that he did not know what to do or to make of these
clandestine telephone calls. But the man, to confirm his "bona fides," had
sent Barens a photocopy of a memorandum which he said dated back to the days
of Watergate. The memo, apparently written by John Dean to John Ehrlichman,
which discussed Barens source by name, read, in part, "This guy is trouble!"
It was this which started the attorney believing there was some foundation to
it all, a conspiracy in the Morgan death. But without corroboration none of it
could be used in Pancoast's defense or to allow him to "cop a plea" for his
client. Charles "Ted" Mathews was brought into the case by Barens as co-
counsel about a week following Pancoast's arrest, and also agreed.
Barens said later on that "My client is an innocent man," and then went on to
contend that Vicki Morgan was killed by a "person or persons unknown" who then
ransacked the apartment and left it in the disarray found by Officer Henckle
at 3:30 a.m. All this went on while Pancoast slept, or was drugged into a deep
sleep by chloroform or some other drug available to spooks all over the world.
"David Phillip Habersheim?"
But, did those tapes really exist?
Yes, according to Marvin Pancoast. He said he first heard of the tapes from
Vicki while watching TV one evening in her bedroom. Pancoast said he started
talking about renting some porno tapes. He claims Vicki said that wasn't
necessary. "I've got some stuff here"'
It was then that she went to the black laquer cabinet against the wall, the
same cabinet Detective Welch said contained tapes of "old movies." Pancoast
said Vicki than removed three Betamax cassettes from the twenty or more tapes
on the shelves. According to Pancoast, one of the "porn" tapes featured Vicki
performing with Bloomingdale; another had Bloomingdale with two other women;
and a third, Pancoast claimed, featured Vicki with a prominent, grey haired
member of the (former) Reagan administration.
Barens also received feedback from Marvin Mitchelson with whom Barens had
worked closely for three years. Mitchelson by now had come around to thinking
that the tapes actually existed. He came to his conclusions with some other
oligarchy gossip and from an ex-CIA acquaintance, and also was told that the
White House knew about them.
Vicki Morgan had been travelling recklessly for many years in a very fast lane
for which she was not equipped mentally; neither was her friend, Pancoast. In
her Montclair naivete she did not realize the ramifications to herself and to
those around her. If Vicki Morgan had had any sophistication or street smarts
at all, those Betamax cassettes would have been in a bank vault or some safe
place as a life insurance policy. She should never have had then in her
It is almost certain that "David Phillip Habersheim" was at Vicki's condo as
one of the four arrivals the night the beautiful, voluptuous courtesan
received six or seven healthy whacks to the cranium with an ash blonde
Louisville Slugger baseball bat.
And so might have been Jay Paul, the LAPD detective suspended two years
previously for copying police intelligence files in his garage. He had been
turning over the copies to a private spy organization, Western Goals, headed
by a former member of the John Birch Society, and former Congressman, Larry
McDonald. The latter was one of the unfortunate victims of the shooting down
of Korean Air Flight 007!
Those intelligence files had been ordered destroyed by the (civilian) Los
Angeles Police Commission, made up mostly of ultra-liberal political cronies
of the entrenched Mayor of The City of the "Angels," Thomas Bradley, an ex-
cop. (Bradley was badly beaten in two attempts at the Governorship of
California even though he had been backed politically and financially by most
influential members of the oligarchy).
Those "intelligence" files had been "stored" in Paul's garage for some unknown
reason, ever since the unit had been ordered disbanded, because of the
"invasion of privacy" of the individuals who were the subjects of those files.
Undoubtedly, there were dossiers on Alfred Bloomingdale, Vicki Morgan, Johnny
Roselli and probably even "Phillip Habersheim David" but under his real name
and his nom de plume, and many others in Paul's possession.
However, the slaying of Vicki Morgan will forever remain one of the most
complex and politically charged of all of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries.
Defense Counsel's Hands Tied.
IS IT THE END OF THE BIZARRE VICKI MORGAN SAGA?
Prosecutors at Marvin Pancoast's trial succeeded in what they intended to do
from the outset: they prevented the defense, through an obliging Judge of the
Superior Court, from turning Pancoast's trial for murder into an expose of the
relationship between Vicki Morgan, Alfred Bloomingdale and other prominent
The prosecution claimed there was no conspiracy behind Morgan's sad and shabby
death contrary to the beliefs of many people. The prosecution wanted the trial
of Pancoast to be quick, not to be sensational and, therefore, attempted to
and succeeded in tying the hands of his defense counsel in many facets of the
Beyond Pancoast's repudiated confession, there was no hard evidence presented
against him at his trial. A strong motive was never established if any, a
cornerstone and important link in any murder trial.
Court observers said that the investigation of Vicki Morgan's murder was
"strikingly inept!" The police neglected to seal off the "scene of the crime."
No fingerprints were recovered, even Marvin Pancoast's from the Morgan condo.
Strange, when Pancoast had been living in the condo as long as Vicki.
Deputy District Attorney Stanley Weisberg never interviewed a number of
material witnesses at the time. Weisberg explained, very lamely for a Deputy
D.A., "We had other cases at the time more important than this one!"
Pressure from above ... ? From Washington ... ?
The Jury never bought the defense argument nor Pancoast's claim that someone
else had murdered Morgan and framed him by using hypnosis to convince him that
he had committed the crime!
There is more, much more, to Vicki Morgan's murder than meets the eye — or was
allowed to be brought out at Marvin Pancoast's trial.
WAS MARVIN PANCOAST MERELY A PAWN ... ?
Pancoast's defense counsel, Arthur Barens, really felt his client to be
innocent of Vicki Morgan's brutal slaying. Barens had known Pancoast from the
age of fourteen and recalled in an interview that Pancoast had once tried to
confess to the murders committed by the Manson clan.
A lot of people "in the know", and that includes Barens, believe that Marvin
Pancoast was nothing more than a pawn in the entire Bloomingdale-Morgan affair
— a patsy who took the fall.
This time Pancoast's "confession" was believed — even though he repudiated it
later — and prior to his trial.
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Em Hotep, Peace Be,
Omnia Bona Bonis,
All My Relations.
Adieu, Adios, Aloha.