|Steven Saltzman, Lacoste's co-conspirator|
On Retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco
On May 11th FLOATER arrived in Monaco and hit the ground running for another round of Operation Hound Dog.
That evening I joined the Prince for a private one-on-one dinner at the Palace at nine o’clock. I was shown by Palace staff into the parlor, filled with family photographs and sculptures, and handed a Kir Royale.
When the Prince appeared, he seemed to me a deer in headlamps.
He was still not sleeping, he told me, in the “big and lonely” Palace, returning at night to his Monte Carlo apartment.
The way the Prince bounded around among stiffly starched, white-gloved servants reminded me of Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait.
The international media had just revealed that the Prince had an illegitimate son, Alexandre, sired with a black air stewardess from Togo named Nicole Coste. (To me, the Prince blamed this fiasco on “weakness of the flesh.”)
It was thought his Paris lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, had botched the on-going negotiations, and out of frustration Nicole had gone public, possessed, the Prince told me, of an “African chip on her shoulder.” He added that his lawyer Lacoste “f----- up.”
I asked the Prince if he had any other children I should know about for future damage control. He answered no, full knowing there was likely another beyond Alexandre and Jazmin.
Because of the Coste-Lacoste debacle, the Prince gave me permission to try to resolve the Rotolo-Jazmin situation on a human level, out of court—and the media.
The Prince fumed, over Soupe Cremeuse au Cresson, about the letter Jean-Paul Carteron had sent him, and suggested doing away with Carteron’s Monaco World Summit, a private venture thinly disguised by Carteron as quasi-official. “Carteron bought his Legion of Honor,” the Prince told me.
We already suspected that Carteron was using the Monaco World Summit to launder money from Bulgarian arms deals, in his capacity as Honorary Consul of Bulgaria to Monaco and his close relationship with Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeone Saxe-Coburg, who allegedly received a brokerage fee for the import and export of armaments.
I gather the Prince had not had time to change the Palace kitchen chef, nor to instruct the chef to alter his menu, for our food that night was the kind of special dietary meal one prepares for an octogenarian with serious health issues, right down to plum brandy at the end—a tonic for constipation.
Alas, the Palace staff still catered to Prince Rainier’s ghost.
The Prince waited in the lobby of my apartment building, having arrived early, and I rushed over to escort him upstairs for a briefing with FLOATER.
For twenty minutes, FLOATER detailed what he had in mind for the coming week, including a stop in Paris to see Steven Saltzman.
It held the Prince’s complete focus, unusual for him as he usually nodded off, for up to twenty seconds or longer, to a point where I diagnosed Narcolepsy.
That evening, Prince invited me for drinks at his apartment.
I urged the Prince, over Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey, to clean out his stable, start fresh with his own appointees, and do it quickly, and that he’d have only one shot to get it right
FLOATER went Paris to Hound Dog Steven Saltzman, who’d been aggressive and obnoxious over the phone, insisting that his lawyer Thierry Lacoste be present for their meeting. (Aggressive andobnoxious were adjectives one heard over and over again applied to Saltzman.)
Their meeting took place in Lacoste’s office at 10 Rue Labie on May 18th.
Saltzman began by trying to corral FLOATER’s “unauthorized biography of Prince Albert” into his domain on the basis that he controlled (so he said) all possible sources of information on the Prince.
Without his say-so, said Saltzman, nobody of any consequence would speak to FLOATER.
He portrayed himself as Albert’s gatekeeper while also suggesting he held the keys to the principality, with Thierry Lacoste backing him up and egging him on.
Saltzman spoke as if he’d been granted some kind of special authority to handle or co-opt media projects about the Prince, when in fact he possessed no such authority at all.