So, this is not the story anyone could have expected to show up on the newswire.
In a Variety exclusive (always a good sign), model and actress Greice Santo (probably most famous for a recurring role on Jane the Virgin) revealed accusations of an indecent proposal made by Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz:
The model, Greice Santo, who had a recurring role in “Jane the Virgin,” alleges that she was twice lured to the hotel room of Daryl Katz, the Canadian billionaire who owns the Edmonton Oilers, with promises that he could help her acting career. Santo says that although she spurned Katz’s advances, she later received two wire transfers totaling $35,000. In an interview, she said that such behavior is typical in Hollywood.
“This is so common, but most girls and women — they are afraid of coming out,” Santo told Variety. “I feel like me coming out will give courage and inspire so many girls who go through the same thing I go through.”
Well, this is not a great start. But, shockingly, it gets even seedier, as the entire thing is being aired as part of a lawsuit over an alleged extortion plot:
The allegations were first disclosed in a defamation lawsuit filed Monday in New York by Santo’s husband, R.J. Cipriani, against a crisis consulting firm hired to represent Katz. Cipriani, a professional gambler and FBI informant, alleges that Glenn Bunting, president of G.F. Bunting & Co., tarnished his reputation in order kill a story about Katz in the New York Post.
Katz’s attorneys have accused Cipriani and Santo of attempting to extort $3 million from Katz as the price for keeping quiet. Katz does not deny meeting with Santo, but has alleged that some elements of her story have been misconstrued.
This is actually not the first similar story to pop up involving this couple. There was this one, where billionaire Stewart Rahr was alleged to have tried to forcibly enter Santo’s hotel room. And then there was the time John Stamos apparently texted a naked picture of himself to Santo.
The Rahr story is from the New York Post, which also factors in as apparently Cipriani was a longtime source for the Post, and the crisis management firm hired by Katz is accused of damaging that relationship:
In addition to airing sordid details from the entertainment world, the lawsuit also spotlights the role of crisis consulting firms, which are often hired to clean up damaging stories for wealthy clients. Cipriani portrays himself as a longtime reliable source for the New York Post. In the suit, he accuses Bunting of damaging his relationship with a New York Post editor by accusing Cipriani of extortion, which Cipriani denies. The Post ultimately did not run a story on Katz.
Just how shady is this crisis management firm? Well, as Variety notes, they were hired by Baylor in the wake of the Art Briles scandal. Briles himself has filed a complaint against the same firm. There really might not be any winners here, although if Santo was indeed the victim of unwanted sexual advances from a billionaire or two, that’s certainly not excusable behavior.
The whole thing is worth the read; it loops in Katz’s movie studio as well, and fills in some more details on Cipriani, who has led an eventful life, if the whole “professional gambler and FBI informant” introduction wasn’t a big enough context clue.
We’ll probably learn more as it heads to court, although it’s just as likely to be settled before we ever get anything close to a real answer.