Specifically, I have discovered that the newspaper chose not to publish that Garvey has accused four ex-boyfriends of domestic violence against her. In each case, her allegations of domestic violence took place after the men had broken off their romantic relationships with her; her charges were dismissed or recanted or not pursued by her or authorities. (Also during this time, Garvey dated CNN talk show host Larry King, but she ended the relationship. She never publicly accused him of inappropriate behavior towards her.) In one situation, after Santa Monica restaurateur Hans Rockenwagner ended a romance with her, Garvey instigated a six-month police probe into his activities only to admit she had lied to authorities. In 1996, the Santa Monica district attorney wound up charging Garvey with five counts of filing false police reports. Even her own lawyer said she had “lost her mind.” Admitting she was suffering from depression and abusing prescription drugs to the point where she threatened suicide, Garvey sought mental health treatment. Later, Rockenwagner sued her for stalking and harassing him and won his case. Another ex-flame, LAPD officer Kelly Chrisman, ended a romance with Garvey only to find himself accused of assaulting her as well as facing an LAPD investigation into Garvey’s claims that he had illegally used police computers to look up confidential law enforcement data on scores of celebrities. Chrisman ended up suing Garvey (who by then had gone back to using her maiden name Truhan) for defamation and invasion of privacy; the case was settled shortly before it was set to go to trial. In a strange twist, that 2003 settlement was announced to the press by Garvey’s then fiance, the prominent and wealthy Los Angeles businessman Robert Lorsch. But after Lorsch broke off his engagement to her, Garvey this year filed a lawsuit against him asking for a temporary restraining order because of alleged domestic violence. The TRO was quickly dismissed. (She sued under the name “Cynthia Truhan.”)
Some of the above has been published in the pages of the LA Times over the years, so I was shocked that Saturday’s article did not even mention in passing any of these pertinent facts. Instead, Garvey was allowed to describe unchallenged her version of events surrounding a struggle that took place outside Meyer’s Malibu home in 1988. In light of Garvey’s legal and emotional problems, her claims against Meyer should have been examined with a great deal of skepticism, if published at all. Not only did the LA Times have three reporters on the Meyer-Garvey story, including Pulitzer prizewinner Chuck Philips, but also its investigative editor Vernon Loeb. But sources tell me that Loeb and reporter Kim Christensen arrogantly explained to a spokesperson at Universal Studios, where Meyer has been president and COO since 1995, that they knew some of this backstory about Garvey but deliberately decided not to publish it. “Words like ‘not important’ or ‘not relevant’ or ‘not germaine’ all were used,” a studio insider told me. “I was shocked.” The reporter and editor also said they would only include the Garvey backstory if Meyer gave them an on-the-record statement, which he refused to do, I’m told. Yet, a reporter for a different media outlet simultaneously received the same 1988 Malibu Sheriff’s report and did cast doubt on Garvey’s truthfulness in his online story, Hollywood Scandal: Was Studio Exec’s History an Issue?, a day earlier. “But Garvey is not a reliable witness: she’s been involved in several domestic abuse claims over the last 20 years, some resulting in litigation,” wrote Fox 411 entertainment writer Roger Friedman last Friday. “She’s also been the subject of two damaging magazine articles that outline her odd behavior. A Los Angeles magazine story called ‘Look Who’s Stalking’ detailed her contentious relationship with a Los Angeles restaurateur. She wound up paying him $25,000 when he sued her for harassment.”
In actuality, the 1988 Malibu sheriff’s report about the Meyer/Garvey altercation was not secret. Its details were printed in March 1992 by Spy magazine. By then, the original police report had mysteriously disappeared from the department files, but I know that Garvey gave a copy to her then boyfriend, who worked at a rival Hollywood talent agency and who leaked the report to Spy in hopes of embarrassing CAA, where Meyer at the time was president, partner and co-founder. For this sheriff’s report to come out now, 18 years later, is suspect at best. I’m told that the Malibu sheriff’s report was sent to both the LA Times and Friedman, who both got in touch with Garvey. I can only surmise it was with the intent of embarrassing Meyer by trying to draw a connection between that 1988 incident and the reason for his friendship and jail visits with Anthony Pellicano, the disgraced P.I. who is at the center of that widening federal wiretap scandal.
I can personally attest that Garvey has now changed some of her version of the Meyer altercation and its aftermath because I interviewed her extensively about it in the early 1990s. Some background: This is far from a new story to me. Actually, I investigated the heck out of it for an ill-fated book I was writing and interviewed Garvey, Meyer, her attorney at the time Mark Gottesman, his attorney at the time Howard Weitzman, and even the assistant district attorney. Over the years, I met both Rockenwagner and Chrisman in Garvey’s home when they were romantically involved with her. It was therefore with immense surprise that I heard and read about what subsequently transpired between her and those boyfriends.
Cyndy Garvey, for those who don’t know her, was the ex-wife of famous Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey. The quintessential American blonde, she came into the public eye through a then famous Sports Illustrated magazine article that presented the golden couple’s marriage as tarnished. After she left the ballplayer, she began a TV career, eventually landing a co-anchor job opposite Regis Pilbin on WABC’s Good Morning, New York. Almost overnight, she became a New York celebrity and a fixture on the social circuit with boyfriend Marvin Hamlish, the composer. But by the mid-1980s she was out of a job, and moved back to Los Angeles with her two daughters. In 1986, she began dating Meyer. I was told the two fell head over heels for one another, and Garvey became part of the agent’s tightknit circle of friends and family. Even though they did not live together, they both lived in Malibu and their lives intertwined. She accompanied the agent to premieres and agency events, she entertained clients with him, and she traveled extensively with him, just like one of “the wives.” Some friends thought they would marry; others did not because they told me Meyer was increasingly upset by Garvey’s frequent temper tantrums.
There would be two versions of what happened in the early morning hours of October 27, 1988. According to Garvey, she and Meyer were still dating when she drove her Mercedes out to his Malibu Cove home about 1 a.m. because she suspected he was cheating on her. Meyer maintained he had already broken off the relationship with Garvey but she couldn’t accept it. He claimed she was stalking him that evening he spent with a woman friend before he left for a scheduled business trip to New York. (They both agree on the woman’s identity: Stephanie Haymes, then the maitre d’ at Le Dome and the daughter of crooner Dick Haymes.) An altercation ensued. Each later accused the other of starting the fight. Garvey said Meyer was furious and shouted, “This relationship’s over when I say it’s over!” Meyer said a jealous Garvey became hysterical and began flailing at him. According to Garvey, Meyer threw her against the side of her car, grabbed her around the throat and hit her several times, causing her to lose consciousness “for a while.” Meyer insists that Garvey was beating on him with her fists and became injured when he tried to restrain her and inadvertently slapped her on the side of the head. Both agree there were three witnesses to the scene: Haymes and two security guards assigned to Meyer’s neighbor, businessman Bilal Baroody. (Yes, this is the same Baroody who had asked for and received a $300,000 loan from Meyer a year earlier. Later, Meyer retained Pellicano to collect the unpaid debt.) Garvey described feeling dazed. Meyer recalled she was hysterical still. It was decided that Baroody’s guard would drive Garvey home in Baroody’s limo, and Meyer would follow in Garvey’s Mercedes and then return back to his house in the limo. Garvey told the LA Times she’d been “knocked out” and “when she came to, she had been driven back to her home in Baroody’s limousine.” But Garvey told me that she was conscious before, during and after the limo ride to her home.
That morning, Garvey filed a complaint for “spousal assault” with the LA County Sheriff’s department in Malibu. The time of the Malibu sheriff’s complaint was recorded as 03:28 a.m., October 27, 1988. In it, the sergeant noted “that the victim’s left eye was swollen and bruised. The left side of her jaw and cheek was (sic) swollen and she appeared to be having trouble talking. Her neck and throat was (sic) red and swollen. I also saw a bruise on her right arm on the triceps area. The victim also complained of pain in her upper and lower back, her neck, ringing in her left ear, and a severe headache.” Whether the fight took place exactly as Garvey described it, or exactly as Meyer described it, was not determined in the report because the officers never spoke to Meyer. But Meyer to this day maintains that all three witnesses supported his account of what took place.
The next day, before flying to New York, Meyer phoned his partner Michael Ovitz to say what had happened. Garvey told me that Ovitz subsequently called her and said, “It would be in the best interest of everyone involved if you did not talk about this.” However, according to the LA Times, “the day after the attack, she said, she was awakened early in the morning by an anonymous caller whose voice she did not recognize. ‘If you pursue this, it would not be good for you.'” But not once did Garvey ever tell me about receiving this or any anonymous phone call. Only Ovitz’s. Meyer, meanwhile, maintains that Ovitz never phoned Garvey but says Garvey phoned Ovitz in the middle of the night. Garvey told me she called Mark Gottesman, a criminal attorney in Santa Monica, about what had happened. With Garvey’s permission, I spoke to Gottesman years ago who told me “she felt intimidated” so he advised her not to take any more calls from Ovitz. Meyer and Garvey spoke briefly about the incident as well; Meyer maintains he told her he couldn’t believe what had happened outside his home. She says she hung up on him.
Gottesman told me he phoned Mike Ovitz who said his partner never assaulted Cyndy, the whole incident was made up, and “Cyndy is a sick person.” But neither Meyer nor Ovitz knew Garvey had filed a police report. “I didn’t know I was in trouble,” Meyer told me years before. “Mike called me to say a sheriff had come to the office. He said to me, ‘I’ve hired Howard Weitzman.’” At the time, Weitzman knew Ovitz well because the lawyer had helped numerous CAA clients get out of scrapes with the law. By his own account to me, Weitzman played hardball with Garvey’s attorney. At the time, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case, Jay Lipman, had still not decided whether to file official charges against the agent. Weitzman lobbied Lipman heavily not to file. What Weitzman was using for ammunition were statements from the three witnesses which he said corroborated Meyer’s account of that night. Meyer told me that only recently did he find out from Weitzman that the lawyer had hired Pellicano to interview those witnesses.
Weitzman told Gottesman what a “troubled, troubled lady” Garvey was, that he thought her injuries appeared self-inflicted, and that he believed Garvey was looking to be bought off. Gottesman told me he denied to Weitzman that money was ever an issue. But both Gottesman and Weitzman understood that if Garvey pressed criminal charges, in the end it would be her, and not Meyer, who would be on trial. Garvey told me she still had hopes of restarting her entertainment career so she decided to back off. “Our deal was I would drop charges if they agreed never to slander me.” she told me. Meyer said he was told only that Lipman saw the reports from the three witnesses and declined to file charges. But once Garvey wouldn’t pursue her criminal complaint against Meyer, the deputy D.A. didn’t file charges. The incident was dropped as if it had never happened.