In January 2004, we felt that the Hereditary Prince Albert was still unprepared for the role of Sovereign.
That afternoon, we cautioned him that upon the death of his father everyone from everywhere would come out of the woodwork to make power plays.
“Like who,” the Prince challenged. “Hit me.”
“Tamara Rotolo,” I replied. It hit him harder than a slap across the face.
Tamara Rotolo was the American woman with whom the Prince sired an illegitimate daughter.
She had tried to sue him in California for child support, but the judge decreed lack of jurisdiction over the Prince. We’d acquired photographs of the Prince’s daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, born March 4th, 1992, and I presented them to him.
“Where did you get these?” he asked.
Yes, the Prince wanted this situation monitored.
The technique we intended to use: our insertion-oriented Book Model, which could also be applied to others. Simply put, we would pose an operative as a writer—a book author.
We would equip the writer/author with a fully backstopped legend, replete with “book contract” from a reputable publisher.
The subject of the book: Prince Albert of Monaco.
Our investigative “author” would make contact with celebrity magazines such as Paris Match and the Italian Oggi, identify the journalists charged with digging up dirt on the Prince and his family, find out what they knew, what they were working on, and, if possible, determine the identities of their sources, who would then be approached in similar fashion.
Furthermore, our operative could then “leak” information we wished to see published to his new media contacts.
The Prince thought this plan brilliant and authorized us to proceed.
Hence Operation Hound Dog was born.
Within two weeks I set the basics in place: FLOATER would pose as an author contracted to write an unauthorized biography entitled Prince of Sport.
Phase One for FLOATER: fully investigate the Rotolo matter while reaching out to the tabloid press.
FLOATER’s first pretext call was to Bruce McCormick of Cody, Wyoming, who possessed photographs of Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. These photos derived from Christmas cards sent him years earlier by Tamara Rotolo.
(McCormick befriended Rotolo after she ambushed the Prince with daughter in arms during his visit to Wyoming to commemorate Buffalo Bill’s historic meeting with the Prince’s great-great grandfather and namesake Prince Albert 1st, and Rotolo hollered to all who would listen that he was a “deadbeat dad” for not recognizing his child and paying child support.)
McCormick told FLOATER his photographs were for sale, that he’d turned down twenty-five thousand dollars and was looking for better offers. He added that Paris Match paid him twenty thousand dollars for a “comprehensive interview,” and also that a “big name” freelance journalist was working on the Rotolo story.
Next, FLOATER made contact with the reporter charged with the “Prince Albert beat” at Paris Match: intrepid correspondent Romain Clergeat, who agreed to meet our “author” in Paris at FLOATER’s earliest convenience. Clergeat identified himself as the reporter who had interviewed Bruce McCormick.
On June 14th (2004)m I met the Prince in M-Base to facilitate separate SIS and CIA briefings, and to brief the Prince myself on FLOATER’s progress with Operation Hound Dog, which riveted his oft-deficient attention span.
FLOATER had visited Paris and met with Romain Clergeat of Paris Match, from whom he gleaned that publication’s perspective of the Prince, along with Clergeat’s main sources of information on the principality.
FLOATER had next traveled to Rome and met with Michaela Aurti, who covered the Royal Beat for Oggi, and who had been writing about the Grimaldi family for fifteen years.
Now, FLOATER was in the midst of following up the various sources provided him.
The Prince expressed amazement by what Operation Hound Dog had so quickly reaped. He requested that we not only aggressively continue this ruse, but also include some of his close personal friends, who had been divulged as sources.
In March 2005, the Prince asked, What’s the latest on Operation Hound Dog?
I had gone passive on it, inundated by more important matters, but as the Prince was very keen to know what others had to say about him behind his back I intended to recommence.
So n May 11th, FLOATER arrived in Monaco and hit the ground running for another round of Operation Hound Dog.
The international media had just revealed that the Prince had an illegitimate son, Alexandre, sired with a black air stewardess from Togo named Nicole Coste. (To me, the Prince blamed this fiasco on “weakness of the flesh.”)
It was thought his Paris lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, had botched the on-going negotiations, and out of frustration Nicole had gone public, possessed, the Prince told me, of an “African chip on her shoulder.”
He added that his lawyer Lacoste “f----- up.”
I asked the Prince if he had any other children I should know about for future damage control.
He answered no, full knowing there was likely another beyond Alexandre and Jazmin.
So I dispatched FLOATER to Paris to Hound Dog Steven Saltzman, the Prince's "friend," who insisted that his lawyer, Thierry Lacoste (another princely leech), be present for their meeting.
Their meeting took place in Lacoste’s office at 10 Rue Labie on May 18th.
Saltzman began by trying to corral FLOATER’s “unauthorized biography of Prince Albert” into his domain on the basis that he controlled (so he said) all possible sources of information on the Prince.
Without his say-so, said Saltzman, nobody of any consequence would speak to FLOATER.
He portrayed himself as Albert’s gatekeeper while also suggesting he held the keys to the principality, while Thierry Lacoste backed him up and egged him on.
Saltzman spoke as if he’d been granted some kind of special authority to handle or co-opt media projects about the Prince.
Soon after, I regaled the Prince with FLOATER’s latest Operation Hound Dog exploits.
More journalists and sources had been met, providing us with hard information about who leaked what from the Prince’s royal court.
And, of course, FLOATER’s recent meeting in Paris with Steven Saltzman and Thierry Lacoste.
I read FLOATER’s report aloud:
A bizarre situation from the start with Steven Saltzman (SS). He’s loud, rude, aggressive, obnoxious and overbearing. SS played the dominant role while Thierry Lacoste (TL) patiently listened to me and played off SS’s commentary. SS took the meeting as a way of assessing if he, with TL’s assistance, could take control of the project under an “authorized” agreement. “Listen,” said SS loudly, “you can do this two ways. The first is make this an authorized biography for which Thierry will write a legal agreement that gives him full editorial approval, including galley proofs. In return, you get access to extraordinary sources, some of which have never been heard from before. You also get access to the subject of your book.”
“You could have an attorney,” TL interjected, implying that going forward was based upon retaining him for a fee. “Or you can go the unauthorized way, which means you’ll get nothing from me or anyone else who asks the Palace if this has approval.” Trying to ingratiate myself, without committing this project to them, I said I would not travel to Togo to exploit recent news coverage about Nicole Coste and her son.
TL smirked at SS and said, “Well maybe you should.”
It was as if Lacoste wanted to embarrass his "friend," the Prince.
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