After the divorce, Ronnie got custody and moved back into her parent's house in Jamaica Estates where
she lived for a year before remarrying Ron Itzler. Itzler was a partner in the prestigious Manhattan law
firm Fishbein, Badillo, Wagner & Itzler. One of the top bankruptcy lawyers in town. Itzler worshipped
Ronnie and raised Jason Sylk like his own son. Which was fortunate since after divorcing Ronnie, Lenny
Sylk was estranged from both his son and the child's mother. Years later, as a symbol of familial solidarity,
Jason would legally change his last name from Sylk to Itzler.
Sylk didn't start out as a flimflam man. He was a nice Jewish kid from a good family. It was only later that
he self-destructed. In his senior high school yearbook photo, he appears clean-cut and geeky, a hopeless
mensch. He looks like a member of the debate team, which is exactly what he was. This wasn't a con job.
Sylk's mother was "a beautiful woman and a very loving parent, and his stepfather was a good person too,"
says one childhood acquaintance. "Jason was a pleasant, ordinary guy. I never met the 'Jason Itzler' that he
later became." Jason L. Itzler actually started out life as Jason L. Sylk. He was born in Philadelphia 1967.
His mother, Ronnie Lubell, who Jason Sylk describes as "a bit of a Jewish mafia princess," was a dark
haired beauty from Jamaica Estates, Queens. Ronnie's father, Nathan "Little Ceasar" Lubell, was the
biggest bookie in the garment center and owned a piece of the Riveria in Las Vegas along with Meyer
Lansky. The younger Sylk's father was at the other end of the social spectrum. Lenny Sylk, was the son
of the Harry Sylk, a prominent Philadelphia millionaire who founded the Sun Ray Drug, a 150-store national
chain. Jason Sylk's first two years were straight out of an Edith Wharton novel. The Sylk family lived in a
restored 120-year-old Main Line mansion that featured an 18-car garage and a helicopter pad. Maids and
butlers attended to domestic chores, while young Jason crawled on Persian carpets worth a small fortune.
But the marriage between Ronnie and Lenny unraveled after less than two years. "Lenny and my mom
fought like crazy," says Sylk of the volatile relationship. "Before they split, they had a crazy fight over me."
In the vernacular of the on-line sex merchant, this is a "live interactive streaming adult video webmaster
operation." A customer pre-purchases a stipulated block of time with their credit card, enters a chat room,
selects a cyber mate, and proceeds to type out instructions: STRIP; SPREAD YOUR LEGS; TOUCH
YOURSELF. The girl on the receiving end reads the instructions on her screen, complies, and taps out a
I'M PUTTING ON BOLERO. It's about as clinical and anonymous as sex can be, which undoubtedly
explains its allure. It also has the potential to be incredibly lucrative. When Sylk ran the numbers for his
Jersey backers, the projected annual gross was $3 million. Tack on twenty more cubicles (which was the
original plan) and the gross doubles.These fantastic figures ultimately proved meaningless. Nobody involved
with this outlandish scheme has seen any profits, and it's doubtful anyone ever will. SoHo Models (Baum
Multimedia to those in the know) is a titanic failure and shows no sign of recovering. In fact, the anemic
cash flow the business does manage to generate diminishes with each passing week. On a mid-summer
Wednesday night, only three of the twenty booths were occupied. Even so, the shift was hopelessly over
staffed. In the course of 90 minutes, not a single credit card number was rung up. Depeche Mode blared
morosely on the jukebox as the models, sprawled languorously on the cheap mattresses like Stepford wives,
stared vacantly at their flat panels. Invitations for companionship, more perfunctory than erotic, were
occasionally composed. But the messages, fired blindly into the digitized ether like misguided flares, failed
to hit their mark. Finally a reply came back: "I WANT YOU TO STICK A BLACK DILDO UP YOUR
ASS." Just another day at SoHo Models.
written by Rene Chun


Sweat Shop"

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