Feldman's Park Avenue penthouse apartment became a regular venue for Sylk's SoHo Model meetings.
In early April Sylk used the apartment to host a business meeting he was taking with Richard Renda and
Laurie Schechter. Renda was the executive producer of Totally Cool Broadcast News, a video and
internet company that covered the fashion industry. Schechter, Renda's frequent collaborator, was a
fashion fixture in her own right, being a well-known Editor who formerly worked at Vogue.
With Baker's contract in hand Sylk called up Ed Feldman and filled him in on Baum Multimedia. If
anything Feldman was more enthusiastic about the project than before. The thought of models and internet
concubines working side by side caused Feldman's lecherous mind to race. He immediately offered to
front the money Sylk needed to get SoHo Models off the ground. Although never intending to back him
financially, Feldman probably had the money to do it. With the loan shark interest rates he charged over
the years to modeling agencies (seven points off the top and two more points after 30 days) Feldman had
sufficient funds in the bank. He also had made money from a liquor distribution company he owned in
Philadelphia. It was this business, in fact, that supplied the capital to keep L'Image afloat in the 80s.
Feldman set up a meeting with Robert J. Hantman. An attorney whose Bleeker Street firm, Hantman &
Associates, specializes in fashion industry litigation. "Robert and I want to be partner agents together,"
says Sylk breezily. "I've got the big mouth, he's the incredible lawyer, and we both have really good
connections." Hantman disavows any partnership with Sylk. "I never received a penny from Jason. I
was never retained by him," says Hantman nervously. "I don't' get background checks on people who
are coming to speak to me." In the meeting Hantman assured Feldman and Sylk that he could recruit 5 of
the top bookers in town provided Feldman guaranteed them a $175,000 salary. He also said said he could
persuade 10 top models to defect from their present agencies to SoHo Models. Hantman, of course,
refuses to discuss any of this citing "attorney-client privilege." But if Sylk didn't in fact retain him it's
a difficult position to take. What he does say is that he cut off all contact with Sylk when he found out
about Baum Multimedia. "It creates a bad reflection on the modeling business," says Hantman. "This is
the worst possible thing because it really undermines the legitimate agencies that do exist. It's
outrageous. Unfortunately other people will get the idea that this type of behavior is common."
"After Jason sold them on the deal he gave each of them an ounce of marijuana to sweeten them up and
sent them on their merry way," says Lee Kalt. "They were both into it. The next week Jason gave Mark
Baker a $20,000 check signed by Bruce Glasser." Baker admits he received the check. And although he
didn't have to provide any consultation work in return he says Sylk got his money's worth. "He knew
nobody," says Baker incredulously. "I realized he was pimping my name a bit, as he was doing with Peter
Beard, to get in the door everywhere." He also concedes that while the con man Jason Sylk was overly
eccentric he thought there was a definite chance the SoHo Models project could work: "It was obvious he
didn't know anything about the modeling business, but he had so much energy I figured you couldn't ignore
somebody like this. One way or the other he was going to make something happen." Baker also made good
on his promise to introduce Sylk to some of the more elusive stars in the social firmament which included
hotel impresario: Ian Schrager. When Baker made the introduction however, Schrager's female dinner
companion recognized Sylk from the South Beach party scene and blurted out that he was a "jerk." Sylk
downplays the embarrassing encounter: "Baker's face dropped and my face dropped. But then I sent a
bottle of Cristal over to the table and the girl loves me, and everything was fine. It was a funny drama."
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