Who is the real Jeremy Harvey?

Like so many eager lovebirds before them, a blushing bride walked down the softly lit aisle of the Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel’s wedding chapel on February 16 to meet her dashing groom and exchange vows. The elements of the ordinary were all there: bouquets, champagne, rings and vows, but otherwise this union was hardly run of the mill. The bride was an 81-year-old society matron and longtime Char-lottesville-area resident Betty Scripps, worth about $300 million and heiress to the Scripps newspaper fortune. The groom was Scripps’ 62-year-old ex-husband Jeremy Harvey, a Brit who lived in the area during his first marriage to her and stayed on after the divorce, a man whose past is as shady as a weeping willow in direct sunlight.

   Remarriage to an ex can have sentimental overtones, yes, but on the groom’s side of the aisle at the Bellagio, things might have looked closer to “broke and desperate” than “romantic and remorseful.” Just 72 hours earlier, the groom had been living the suburban dream with another, much younger woman in Charlottesville’s Colthurst subdivision off Barracks Road, all the while trailed by the legal and financial woes that await him in the Albemarle County couts.

   Harvey and Scripps married the first time on Valentine’s Day in 1998 after
a whirlwind, month-long courtship. It
was all chauffeured Rolls Royces and suites at the Ritz until they divorced in early 2004. Scripps left Albemarle, where she had an estate, but Harvey stayed around, “downsizing” to the Colthurst place, a rambling white clapboard house bordered by evergreens that dwarfs many of its neighbors. Harvey shared it with his girlfriend and her three children until the day he jetted to Vegas, refreshing the suburban cliché: Behind every freshly painted door, there’s a nasty divorce, an empty bank account, a tragic suicide, or some other soap opera subplot.

Matching picnic basket

  In January, Jeremy Harvey was served two lawsuits brought by former employees of his small investment bank, Quadrant Capital Group, based in Charlottesville. Stan Manoogian, who was the bank’s managing director for seven months last year, has filed suit in Albemarle Circuit Court. Manoogian alleges fraud, breach of contract and slander, and seeks $2.2 million from Harvey. Jim Hoffmann, who was Quadrant’s director for just nine weeks last fall, has filed suit in Albemarle County General District Court. Hoffmann wants $15,000 in wages he says he never saw. The lawsuits follow a stream of gossip and speculation about Harvey’s past that began flowing not long after he set up his business around here.

   Last October, the mother of Harvey’s Colthurst girlfriend anonymously sent Quadrant employees a package containing two newspaper articles from the Channel Islands, a set of British-owned islands in the English Channel. Harvey had lived on one of them, Jersey Island, prior to arriving in this country around 1997. Presumably, his not-mother-in-law disliked and distrusted Harvey from the start, doing everything possible to curtail her daughter’s affair. Her suspicions now seem well founded.

   The articles detail Harvey’s prior history in South Africa, as well as on Jersey Island. He was a schemer, they said, who had been brought to court or had had charges filed against him on 89 separate occasions
in relation to debts totaling $280,000.
All accounts characterize Harvey as the consummate wannabe, scrimping and scrounging to hobnob with the upper crust.

   One of his first schemes unfolded in South Africa. He was allegedly digging holes for pools there, collecting the money, then skipping out on the job. The article referred to the nickname given to Harvey by a South African newspaper—“Mr. Cool”—in cutting reference to his manners as well as his business, Cool Pools. Once settled in Jersey, he had a different scam, a time-management training system called Business Time Ltd. Reportedly, Harvey was threatened with copyright infringement after co-opting training techniques for Business Time without crediting the company that developed them. A pattern of unpaid debts, threatened suits and suspicious behavior was starting to emerge.

   The Jersey articles present compelling evidence of, at worst, con artistry and at best, chronic financial mismanagement that leaves innocent people in its wake. Tall, dapper and distinguished-looking with steely gray hair and a square jaw, Harvey plied friends and associates abroad with charm and polish—the same affects he eventually used to woo his millionairess wife and do business in Char-lottesville and Albemarle County.

   “[Harvey] is incredibly plausible,” says Jim Hoffmann, a jocular man with an impressive sweater collection and fondness for Barbour jackets. He echoes the same sentiment of “plausibility” expressed by Harvey’s former customers and business associates on Jersey Island in the newspaper article.

   “He was very good at getting people to put a bit of money into his schemes,” one former associate is quoted as saying. “He was a high-flying type of guy. His ambition was limitless, and he was always an edgy sort.”

   An American, Hoffmann attributes Harvey’s plausibility to “[the fact] that he’s an Englishman, was married to a wealthy woman…and he had the trappings. He had the new Range Rover and the matching luggage and the matching picnic basket.”

   Even after his divorce from Scripps, Harvey shamelessly traded on the Scripps caché. He maintained various local Scripps connections post-di-vorce, which is when Hoffmann first encountered him, and allegedly dangled them like juicy bait to attract Quadrant employees in Charlottesville.

Ripples in the pond

Combine “Englishness” with money and Americans go weak in the knees. It’s a phenomenon turn-of-the-century novelist Henry James spent a career exploring. It’s partly a fascination with surface flash—something people in Charlottesville certainly respond to. A flashy newcomer—be it a developer or slick politician—breezes in from out of town, wows us with big ideas, then disappears when cash runs low or the big ideas burst. But hey, it was a beautiful ride while it lasted.

   With his accent and continental charm, Harvey seems to take surface flash one step further, dragging clients, employees, and yes, vulnerable women into his snare.

   “One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life,” James wrote. “No State…no sovereign, no court…no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses…”

   Parts of this nation manifest a preoccupation with cloaking what we lack (yes, aristocracy and country gentlemen) with whatever generic brands are available. Harvey chose his latest playground well: Albemarle County has a special, even naive, appetite for all things English. Take a spin out Route 231 through Keswick and it’s a feast of estates with names like Cismont Manor and Chopping Bottom that only wish they could claim Sir Christopher Wren as their architect.

   Literary analogies account for Harvey’s entrée, but they don’t explain his constant scheming. What does? Harvey would not comment for this article. Perhaps his new/former wife understands and forgives him. Locally, not many others do.

   Manoogian and Hoffmann were among the first to fall for Harvey’s schtick. With the Scripps name as his lucky charm, Harvey was more dangerous here than he’d been on the other side of the pond. He was no longer the guy digging the hole for the pool, he was now the guy sunning himself beside the pool. And power always reclines poolside in a chaise-lounge.

   Manoogian and Hoffmann see now where they should have asked more questions.

   “There are moments in time,” says Hoffmann, “when I’m like, ‘How stupid was I?’ But everybody’s had a strange boss. People behave in very strange manners. That’s not necessarily an issue. The issue is the collateral damage from that behavior. The ripples in the pond, so to speak.”

   They want their money, but their lawsuits, Manoogian and Hoffmann say, are about more than that. Quadrant is still ostensibly in business—complete with a descriptive website and a live secretary. Money aside, Manoogian and Hoffmann say they just want Harvey to pack it up and move along. As Scripps’ Eagle Hill estate was recently listed among the luxury homes for sale in The New York Times Magazine, the chances of the recently reunited lovebirds setting up house again in Charlottesville look slim.

Scripps Air Force

Manoogian, a businessman who’s worked everywhere from China to Chile, cuts a pretty sophisticated figure himself. Well traveled with large, somber green eyes, and a meticulously groomed moustache, Manoogian is most comfortable in tailored suits sans necktie.

   “He always made an effort to present himself as a privileged financier,” says Manoogian of his initial impressions of Harvey. The two met at a Washington, D.C. Christmas party in 2001, while Harvey was still married to Scripps. “[Harvey] presented his marriage as the union of two moneyed families… Our meetings were usually held in a suite at the Hay-Adams. When coming up from Palm Beach [to D.C.], he’d refer to his use of the ‘Scripps Air Force.’ And he’d always refer to so and so from a list of social luminaries with whom he’d just had dinner.”

   Sufficiently wowed, Manoogian saw the beginning of a beautiful business friendship when Harvey told him about Quadrant Capital Group. Harvey envisioned a small investment bank that would cater to privately owned family businesses, specializing in selling off those businesses once families decided to cash in. At the time Manoogian had a prior business commitment overseas, but the two kept in touch.

   Hoffmann met Harvey at the Foxfield steeplechase races in the fall of 2004. As with Manoogian, business and pleasure mixed well when Harvey and Hoffmann started chatting over the tailgate. According to Hoffmann, in the ensuing weeks, Harvey eagerly pursued the possibility of working together.

   When Manoogian returned stateside in February 2005, Quadrant had offices in Palm Beach, and the newly single Harvey was looking to open another office closer to home in Charlottesville. The timing, it seemed, was perfect for everyone.

   Harvey then gathered the players—Manoogian, Hoffmann and chief executive officer, Bob Lloyd—amid wood paneling, soft lighting and bottles of fine wine for an official get-to-know-you dinner at the clubby and oh-so-English Boar’s Head Inn. Lloyd declined to comment on the record for this article, but with him, too, Harvey practiced his art of promising one thing and delivering another. He reneged on his initial offer to make Lloyd chief executive officer of Quadrant, eventually signing Lloyd as co-managing director, instead. Lloyd, too, resigned from his position at Quadrant in December.

   Over dinner, Harvey indicated that his recent divorce not only freed up his desirable social calendar, but that the settlement would provide him substantial extra capital to invest in Quadrant. Three million dollars, he allegedly said, had already been invested, and another $15 million was earmarked for the firm. Manoogian and Hoffmann took the $15 million bait.

   Manoogian agreed to a two-year contract as Quadrant’s managing director, and began to move his family to Charlottes-ville, eventually settling in the upscale subdivision of Glenmore.

   

Sixth sense creditor-dodging

Wherever that $3 million investment might have been, it sure wasn’t spent on basic business necessities. When Manoogian arrived for his first day of work at the beginning of May, there were no copiers or fax machines in sight. No computer server, either. Dismissing—or simply missing—the red flag, Manoogian chalked up the deficient equipment to the fact that Harvey, old-world emissary that he is, doesn’t really get the whole technology thing. Manoogian thus spent the first couple months on the nuts and bolts, and coaxing Harvey’s social relationships into business relationships for Quadrant.

   Burying his head in the basics only lasted so long. The second red flag flew high at the end of June when Harvey indicated he was having trouble funding payroll. Quadrant’s payroll was managed out of the Palm Beach office. A payroll company issued the checks and provided health insurance coverage; Harvey was responsible for providing the money to the payroll company.

   At the time, Harvey blamed the cash flow problem on his Colthurst house, newly purchased for $1.3 million. The divorce money was supposedly on its way, and the absent $15 million was explained away as being temporarily tied up with family trusts in the Channel Islands. Having billed himself as independently wealthy from a respected British family, Harvey’s $15 million was supposedly separate from the divorce settlement.

   As Quadrant’s employees were to learn all too soon, payroll excuses and no server were only the first of signs to come that the cash in Harvey’s sterling money clip may have been more akin to Monopoly money than Ben Franklins.

   At the end of one of the hottest summers on record, what had been a temporary lull in Harvey’s suspicious behavior abruptly ended when a part-time employee’s check for $6,000 bounced. New and part-time staffers were not paid by the payroll company, but rather directly out of Harvey’s business account. Manoogian and Hoffmann now found themselves questioning not only Harvey’s business acumen, but his ethics as well.

   Around the same time—early fall—a secretary who wishes to remain anonymous due to her current work situation, had trouble getting Harvey to simply sign her paycheck. Accord-ing to her, all three of her paychecks were late.

   Hardly flush, she says the tardy checks left her $500 in debt. She has chosen not to take Harvey to court simply because, as she says, “I just wanted to leave. I felt that whatever I had gotten was all I had gotten and I was lucky to get that because he wasn’t going to give anything else up.”

   As for Hoffmann, although he had been working with the firm throughout the summer, he didn’t come on as a full-time employee until the end of September. Harvey immediately urged Hoffmann to submit paperwork to the payroll company so that it could handle his salary and insurance. Hoffmann submitted the paperwork in October and November, but it never went through for reasons Quadrant’s employees were soon to find out, but by then only Harvey understood. The missing pay is the $15,000 Hoffmann is seeking in his lawsuit.

   Simply paying his employees wasn’t the only demand on Harvey’s wallet. In organizing Quadrant’s files, his secretary saw her fair share of Harvey’s personal debts, she says: enormous amounts spent on clothing, jewelry, fancy hotels, and in the space of just two months, $30,000 allegedly shelled out for landscaping at the Colthurst mini-mansion.

   Given his flair for evading payment, Harvey’s debtors had no choice but to persist, coming by the office like salmon swimming upstream. A sixth sense for impending check-writing sessions always seemed to guide Harvey out of the office when his debtors came a-calling. Although no one interviewed for this article knows exactly where Harvey went, more often than not, he was nowhere to
be found. At Quadrant, as on Jersey
Island and in South Africa, running out
on debts—literally—was just business
as usual.

   According to the secretary and others, when Harvey’s debtors did catch him at the office, he was blasé.

   Echoing Hoffmann’s and Manoogian’s impressions of Harvey, the secretary describes Harvey’s method with his debt seekers as “very smooth, a lot of people get caught up with the fact that he has that British accent. He can persuade people that things are just wonderful.”

   Who knows which debtors played Harvey’s game, but his employees were nearing the ends of their ropes. Then, at the end of October, the package of Jersey Island newspaper articles arrived, and Harvey’s none-too-glamorous history in the Channel Islands was out in the open.

   Upon reading the articles, Hoffmann des-cribes his reaction: “Damn. That explains a lot.”

Happy Valentine’s Day

The articles were sent by the mother of Harvey’s now ex-girlfriend, who is unnamed in this article out of consideration for her young children. The not-mother-in-law had hired a private investigator to check out her daughter’s boyfriend. The P.I. she employed, David Watkins, was incensed by what he discovered. He was the one to go to the Jersey papers with Harvey’s rap sheet.

   Watkins’ research on “Mr. Cool” measures an inch thick on single spaced computer paper. It’s a masterpiece of a long history of dissemblance.

   The pages upon pages of Watkins’ document abound with testaments from Jersey Islanders, references to swimming pool holes, repossessed cars, Business Time Ltd., and Harvey’s capacity for maintaining, as one person writes, “a champagne lifestyle based upon a beer income.”

   One anecdote, in particular, could have been a slapstick scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels…if it weren’t so distressingly desperate. It goes like this: Harvey was having a standoff with the oil company over what he owed them. (Typical.) The company sent someone to Harvey’s house to collect while Harvey was hosting a dinner party (typical) and Harvey told the man to leave. (Typical.) The man left, but parked his truck so that none of the guests could leave. He refused to move until the bill was paid. (Not so typical.) Cornered, Harvey passed a hat among his guests to collect the funds. You can only hope the guests got at least some good champagne out of the deal.

   Harvey, however, couldn’t pass the hat for 89 debts and $280,000, so he ran all the way to the United States around 1997. There, he turned his ultimate trick, landing a rich, older woman.

   According to an article in Hello! Mag-azine, a celebrity-happy British tabloid obsessed with money and fancy houses, Harvey met Betty Scripps—who is 20 years his senior—at a Washington, D.C. party in January 1998. They waltzed the night away and by dawn Scripps was smitten and blushing like a teenager in love. The notice of their Valentine’s Day wedding appeared in The New York Times one month later.

   Even that announcement is fraudulent. It said Harvey’s family started the Bowater Paper Company in London in the early 19th century. Not exactly. Known today as Rexam, the company has no Harvey names engraved in the cornerstone. Harvey’s dad worked for the company, but he was no founding father.

   For the six years they were married, Harvey and Scripps split their time between Scripps’s 202-acre Eagle Hill estate in Albemarle, and Palm Beach, Florida, where Scripps was a grand dame of the society set.

   “[The Palm Beach scene] is the richest scene in America, bar none,” says Jose Lambiet, who writes a gossip column
for The Palm Beach Post and has cover-
ed Scripps and Harvey for years. “Fam-
ily name matters a lot and while there is
a lot of new money, there are also the staples of the upper crust and [Scripps] is
up there.”

   Like all random people photographed with the rich and famous, with Scripps on his arm—or, rather, Harvey on her arm—Mr. Cool became a gossip column celebrity by association, his name popping up regularly in the society pages of The Palm Beach Post, Women’s Wear Daily, The Washington Post and The Washington Times. The couple was also active philanthropically in Charlottesville, donating $1.6 million to UVA’s Miller Center for the creation of the Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive to house the center’s collections on the presidency.

   By early 2004, however, the passion had fizzled and Scripps was waiting for her divorce from Harvey to be finalized. That year she moved to the Bahamas; Harvey remained in Albemarle County, traded on the shiny trappings of his former life and recruited Manoogian and Hoffmann to work at Quadrant. It’s probably fair to say now that having tasted life at the top, the pain of returning to a plebian lifestyle was simply too much for Harvey to bear.

   Speaking through her lawyer, Scripps had “no comment” on anything regarding her relationship—past or present—with her former/new husband. Harvey, also speaking through a lawyer, had “no comment” on anything.

Going nowhere

Once they had received the Jersey Island articles about Harvey’s shady past, the stakes rose steeply for Manoogian and Hoffmann. Their ethics in question, their professional careers were in danger as well. Fraud was the issue. Without putting what they knew of Harvey on the table, could they legitimately do business with Quadrant clients?

   Quadrant’s lawyers said yes. Legally speaking, the firm was in the clear. However, what Manoogian had now learned about Harvey and what he was to learn in the ensuing weeks, is the basis for his fraud charge: Manoogian entered into a contract with Harvey believing that Harvey and Quadrant were legit. In the end, Manoogian believes that Quadrant was legit; Harvey himself, not so much.

   By the middle of November it was clear Quadrant was on shaky, if not shady, ground. It was then that an employee phoned the payroll company with a routine question about health insurance coverage. Instead of getting a routine answer, he was told Quadrant had no relationship with the company. It had been suspended as a result of outstanding debts. All full-time Quadrant employees had been without health insurance for weeks though they were unaware of that. Harvey, allegedly, had not paid for payroll funds since September, nor had he alerted Quadrant employees that their coverage had been terminated. The payroll company did not return repeated inquiries for confirmation.

   At the beginning of the second week of December, Manoogian, Hoffmann and Lloyd all resigned from Quadrant. As a parting gift, according to Manoogian, his November paycheck for $10,400 bounced.

   “In the end we [the secretaries and the bankers] were all the same,” says Harvey’s former secretary. “Everybody’s out of something. We were all cheated and we believed we were part of something that was going somewhere.”

   That $15 million in start-up capital never materialized. Chances are, it never existed.

The return of Mr. Cool

Call Quadrant today and a cheerful-sounding secretary answers the phone, but Harvey isn’t there. Quadrant’s list of “professionals” includes only Harvey and William Mitchell, the former vice president of Quadrant who was based in Palm Beach. That’s another lie: Mitchell also left the company in December. Harvey’s all alone at Quadrant now, but he may be too busy honeymooning with Scripps to attend to business.

   According to Manoogian and Hoff-mann, before skipping town, Harvey had been spreading rumors that his former employees were fired, not that they resigned within days of each other. Both Manoogian and Hoffmann have written proof of their resignations. This, for Manoogian, is slander. And he’s taking it to court.

   With the debts that await Harvey should Manoogian and Hoffmann win their
lawsuits, and on the seemingly good chance that there’s no $15 million stashed away somewhere, Harvey will need another checkbook and someone else’s AmEx at his disposal. His bride has what he needs.

   Lambiet, the Palm Beach gossip columnist, reported at the beginning of February that Harvey and Scripps planned to remarry on Valentine’s Day, which, had they stayed married in the first place, would have been their eighth anniversary. However, just days later, the wedding was off. The article insinuated the lawsuits facing Harvey in Albemarle County played a roll in the latest breakup.

   Moreover, Lambiet insinuated that the lawsuits and Harvey’s financial straits prompted his overtures to Scripps to begin with. The article quoted Scripps’ would-be matron of honor as saying, “When it comes to Jeremy, Betty is like a 16-year-old girl… But I can’t figure out what she is thinking. And then, I’m sure Harvey was the one pushing for remarriage.”

   It went back and forth for a week and a half—the wedding was on, the wedding was off, the wedding was on again, the wedding was off again—culminating in news of the Vegas elopement. While Harvey may be thanking his lucky stars that Scripps took him back, there may be a family in the Colthurst subdivision that’s not exactly celebrating the news.

   Through his lawyers, Harvey has expressed his intent to file a countersuit to Manoogian’s, but would not specify what the suit would allege, when it would be filed, or whether he would be around to see it through himself.

   While lawyers handling these suits busy themselves with the language of the courts, there is of course another currency—literally—that undergirds this sordid tale. Harvey, Manoogian, Hoffmann and the others unnamed in this cross-continental story were seduced alike. It’s an allure best summed up by Henry James: “Money’s a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.”

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