I first met David Silbergeld in New York. I was working for a co-op developer when David came into our office with his supermodel wife Mel Harris, who would be named one of America's 10 most beautiful women by Harper's Bazaar in 1989.
They bought a huge co-op from my boss and I assumed I would never see them again.
A little over a year later my sister Lindy was living with me and told me she had met this great guy. A divorced man named David. David Silbergeld.
One day I came home to an empty apartment and when I walked into the bedroom I heard my sister whispering from one of the closets.
"Snookie, is that you?" She always called me Snookie and I always called her Bijou. I won't repeat the names we call each other today but one begins with an A and the other one begins with an A.
I opened the door and she was crouched on the floor with her hand over my dog's mouth.
"David called earlier and I screened the call. Somehow he got upstairs even though I didn't buzz him in and he was fooling around with the door knob and you know he was a Navy SEAL and those guys can infiltrate Fort Knox and I know he was trying to get into the apartment and somebody's DOG wouldn't shut the fuck up."
But David was not outside or anywhere else in the building. He never called Lindy again.
By the late 80's his ex-wife Mel was on a show called Thirty Something. Had the internet existed back then I would have read that she and David had only stayed married for a year. And that he had no job and no money. It apparently took her a very short time to figure out why he had married her. And they say models are dumb.
One day I read an article in The New York Post about a small plane flying into Teeterboro Airport in New Jersey with the lights off. The pilot was David Silbergeld.
The Feds arrested him upon touchdown. He had an arsenal of weapons in his waiting car and was carrying cocaine. He went to prison for possession of 610 pounds of cocaine worth $200 million. At the time The New York Times reported it was the largest drug-smuggling bust in the northeastern United States.
One day I got a call from him. He had served his time and wanted me to meet him and some of his friends for dinner. I asked him about it but he didn't want to talk about prison. We had a great meal, a great time and then David disappeared.
I didn't know much about the SEALS until 1997, when the movie G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore, was released. I had no idea they were, along with other Special Forces the Rangers, Green Berets and Delta Force, considered the elite of the military branches. They're the people I want to rescue me if I'm ever caught by pirates off the coast of Somalia. You don't know; I MIGHT GO THERE.
A few years ago I decided to Google David and found this: Silbergeld's fictional SEAL war record, which earned him full disability pay of more than $2,300 per month, along with a prison-earned doctorate from a diploma mill allowed him to become a Pennsylvania community-college history professor and contributor to National Defense magazine. He also set up a business that defrauded the U.S. government through sales of night-vision equipment. At his sentencing he pleaded for leniency — by pointing to his bogus military record.
By now the Internet was helping to close in on all the thousands of fake elite Special Forces that had sprung up around the world. David was being investigated and was subsequently fired from the university in Pennsylvania. He must have known the trail of felonies would now follow him wherever he went. I'm sure he had run out of plans. And ego.
He was found in a town square in Delaware sitting on a bench, a bullet through his brain and the gun dangling from his hand.