'Millionaire Madam' Anna Gristina Rejects Bail Package From Lawyer
MANHATTAN — Accused "Millionaire Madam" Anna Gristina turned down an offer of bail money from one of her lawyers Monday, saying she'd rather spend additional time behind bars and raise the cash on her own.
After a state appeals court panel dramatically lowered Gristina's $2 million bail last week, her family attorney, Peter Gleason, volunteered to put up his $2.5 million Tribeca condo as collateral, a package presented to the Manhattan DA's office last Friday.
But in a twist, Gristina's criminal lawyer, Norm Pattis said at a hearing Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court that his client, who has spent nearly four months in jail, wanted to raise the $125,000 cash or $250,000 bond on her own instead.
"Much that she appreciated the generosity of Mr. Gleason’s offer, she does not want to be released on that bond package," Pattis told the court during a brief hearing.
"She wants her family to secure the package."
According to a source, the bail package fell through because of "certain conditions Gleason wanted attached to the package" although it was not immediately clear what those were.
Still, Pattis said that he was hoping to have his client released as early as Tuesday.
According to sources, Gristina, who did not appear in court, might either try to raise the cash or use properties from her husband's family or her sister to make bail.
Gleason, a former firefighter, has offered to represent Gristina pro bono and to let her family live in his downtown pad.
"She thanks Mr. Gleason but she asks that he stand down on any efforts on her behalf," Pattis said.
Sources said that Gleason's offer of his condo as collateral before her bail was reduced fell through in part because he wanted Gristina to stay at his apartment.
Gristina's husband, Kelvin Gorr, said the move came as a surprise.
"I just found out myself,” he said, adding that the way the family was going to secure bail was "still up in the air."
Gristina, who lives with her family at a farm in upstate Monroe, NY, has been held at Rikers Island since her arrest on Feb. 23 for allegedly running a multi-million dollar brothel out of a townhouse on the Upper East Side, as first reported by DNAinfo.com New York.
As part of the conditions of her bail, Gristina would have to wear an ankle bracelet likely to cost her between $10 to $15 a day, said her bail bondsman, Ira Judelson.
But Gristina wouldn't be on house arrest, Judelson said.
He and Gristina would work out where she'll be able to travel while wearing the device monitoring her location at all times. Monroe County (where her home is located), as well as her lawyer's offices in Connecticut and court in Manhattan would probably all be within the decided upon boundaries.
Judelson said he had a conversation with assistant district attorney Charles Linehan about working out the parameters of Gristina's travels.
If the DA decides to approve the new package without any objections, Judelson could place the ankle bracelet on Gristina at Rikers or at her home in Monroe, he said.
Judelson said he couldn't be certain when that will take place, but he hopes she'll be released within the next couple of days.
A judge originally set her bail at $2 million after prosecutors said that the Scottish national, who has a British passport and a second home in Canada, was a flight risk.
She tried unsuccessfully four times to have that amount reduced, but Judge Juan Merchan rejected her legal team's arguments each time.
Last week, however, a state appeals court panel decided to lower Gristina's bail on the single count of promoting prostitution dramatically.
Gristina's family has also set up a website to collect donations from the public to help her make bail.
News of her arrest in March stunned the city.
Officials said that they had caught Gristina bragging on surveillance tape about connections to law enforcement and others who would tip her off to an investigation.
She allegedly said that she made millions over the course of 15 years through a network of wealthy clients.
According to court documents, the soccer mom of four, who has a fondness for potbelly pigs, was swept up by investigators from the District Attorney's office after allegedly meeting with a Morgan Stanley banker about expanding her business empire.
She claimed that she believed she was being kidnapped that day, when she was whisked into a car with tinted windows and taken in for interrogation.
There, Gristina said that she was interrogated for hours about five alleged associates including a "wealthy financier" and "prominent international banker," but refused to squeal.
Gristina allegedly ran the brothel on East 78th Street with Jaynie Mae Baker, 30, a matchmaking service recruiter from Brooklyn.
Baker, who also faces a single count of promoting prostitution, has been free on $100,000 bail since her March 13 arrest.