By now, the hallmarks of a prominent man’s exposed affair are well known: There’s the dishing mistress, the embarrassing text messages laid bare, the grainy tabloid shot of the politician or CEO in question in a compromising position. For example, look no further than tabloid reports about Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry’s reported affair with a Vegas stripper.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, said Herman Weisberg, a private detective with an unusual specialty: helping high-profile men (think CEOs and politicians you’ve heard of, though he can’t name names) mitigate damage from scorned ex-lovers. Think of him as the “mistress whisperer,” the guy called in by big law firms to fix (or mediate) things when a client’s affair goes sideways.
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Weisberg, who runs the New York firm Sage Intelligence Group, said the biggest mistake that his clients make is that they often know very little about the women (or men) they’re involved with. Sometimes, clients are being threatened by lovers who know exactly how to reach their wives and employers with damaging information — and the only information the guy has about the mistress is a fake name and cell number. “You’re talking about CEOs and guys who do the due diligence on every other transaction in their lives, except the most intimate,” he said.
(By way of caveat, Weisberg insisted that he doesn’t condone affairs — he’s just more concerned about the possible crime that might follow: blackmail or extortion. And, he noted, nasty public scandals hurt more people than just the guy who might lose his public office or his seat on the board.)
Another pitfall is what he terms the GFE, or the “girlfriend experience” — when married guys promise their lovers more than they plan to deliver. “I hear, ‘He told me he was getting a divorce’ or ‘He told me he loved me,’ ” Weisberg said. “Those things can put you in a bad situation when people develop feelings.”
And the last mistake would-be scandal-plagued figures make? They do nothing. “I’ve seen people being extorted for days, and weeks, even years,” he said. “You are never going to be able to buy your way out of it, or give the person enough attention.” Sometimes, the best thing to do is to turn the matter over to the police, he said, but sometimes, an attorney can help.
What also would help, but will never happen, is that married folk wouldn’t sneak around, he conceded. Asked if he was ever shocked by the stupidity of otherwise savvy men, his answer was succinct: “Every minute of every day.”