Skip to comments.Edwards' mistress has close ties to Ocala (Her crooked father electrocuted horses!)
Posted on 08/13/2008 6:19:27 PM PDT by Slump Tester
OCALA - Before she was former Sen. John Edwards' mistress, before she was Rielle Hunter, before she was the face splashed on national television networks, she was the teenager Lisa Druck of Ocala and a horse lover. In a story already spawning countless tabloid headlines, here is another twist - Hunter's life became sordid long before she slipped into bed with the former presidential candidate.
Hunter's father, James D. Druck, a successful Ocala lawyer representing insurance companies during the 1980s, was implicated in a scam that involved a local man, Tommy "The Sandman" Burns, who electrocuted horses so that their owners could collect the insurance money.
One of Burns' first victims was the show horse Lisa Druck rode, Henry the Hawk.
Burns said in a 1992 Sports Illustrated interview that James Druck showed him how to electrocute Lisa's horse using a stripped extension cord plugged into a wall socket.
Burns said Druck showed him the execution scam so Druck could collect the $150,000 he had in insurance on his daughter's horse.
Burns' arrest in 1991 drew national attention.
Druck died of cancer in the Tampa area at some point in 1992.
There are many blanks in accounts of Hunter's early life, but a few of those blanks can now be filled in.
Hunter was born Lisa Jo Druck in Fort Lauderdale on March 20, 1964. By the time she was a teenager in the late 1970s, the family had moved to Ocala, where her father started his law practice.
She attended St. Johns Lutheran High School in Ocala, although she apparently did not graduate.
Susan Ergle, now a literature teacher at St. John Middle School, remembers attending classes with Druck 27 years ago.
"She was pretty wild," Ergle remembered. "I didn't hang out with her that much, I was more of a goody-two-shoes.
"She was always hanging with the upperclassmen, going to parties," Ergle said.
Two of James Druck's law partners after he arrived in Ocala were Dan Hicks and Irwin Weiner, both of whom still practice law here. Hicks said he knew little about his former law partner's private life and Weiner did not return telephone calls for this story.
By 1982, James Druck and his wife, Gwen, bought Eagle Nest Farm on County Road 225-A and moved there. During that same year the couple divorced after nearly 21 years of marriage. In addition to Lisa, they had three other daughters: Roxanne Rae, Jennifer Ann and Melissa Sue. As part of the divorce settlement, James Druck got custody of the two minor children, Melissa Sue and Jennifer Ann. When the couple divorced in Marion County court, Lisa Druck was 17 years old. She would turn 18 in two months.
Later in 1982, James Druck married for a second time, but the marriage was annulled after only 22 days.
By the time Lisa Druck's horse died, Burns had already earned the nickname "Sandman," a term horse owners gave him because when he showed up at horse shows, invariably a horse would mysteriously die.
Burns and accomplice Harlow Arlie, both of the Chicago area, were both held at the Alachua County jail after their arrest in Newberry, according to stories published about the crime by The Gainesville Sun.
Burns' choice of execution method was electrocution because many veterinarians would wrongly determine the cause of death to be colic. That became a problem for Burns in 1991 when one horse owner couldn't get their animal insured for colic. The owner asked Burns to break the horse's leg instead.
So, on the night of Feb. 2, 1991, Burns held the horse while his accomplice Arlie swung a crowbar into one of the animal's rear legs. The horse ran into the night screaming, falling onto its broken, dangling leg. The animal was euthanized when a veterinarian was called by the owner, newspaper accounts reported.
Police caught the two men and both were sentenced in Alachua County Circuit Court. Both men pleaded guilty or no contest to animal cruelty and insurance fraud charges and received jail sentences, according to Sun file stories.
After leaving Ocala, Hunter went to the University of Tampa but left in 1984. In 1987, she surfaced in New York in connection with a circle of hard-partying friends, including the novelist Jay McInerney.
In an interview published in a 2005 issue of Breathe magazine, the writer said he modeled one the characters in his third novel after Druck.
Druck left New York and moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, and by 1991 married Beverly Hills lawyer Alexander Hunter. By 1994, she had legally changed her name to Rielle Hunter. Six years later, the couple was divorced.
In 2006, during a New York fund-raiser for Edwards' presidential bid, Hunter introduced herself to Edwards' staff as a producer and briefly met the candidate.
One month later, Hunter had a $100,000, six-month contract to produce videos for the Internet chronicling the Edwards campaign.
Sun staff writer Amy Reinink contributed to this report.
Yeah this story is big in the Orlando area media circles. She is just as big a scumbag as Edwards. The worst of the worst...but we already knew that when she started screwing a married man with kids whose wife is dying with cancer.
Which of Edwards’ “two Americas” does this lowlife bunch belong to?
Birds of a feather..
The protagonist of McInerney’s book “the Story of My Life” is a coke-addled New York party girl whose father killed her horse for the insurance money. Never make friends with a fiction writer if you want your life kept private.
What’s in a name?
Burns - kills horses by electrocuting/burning them
Druck - sounds like DRECK
Silky Pony - hangs around with horse killers
figures a lawyer
hope he’s gotten his karma
Makes me want to vomit....
Ridiculous, I know - doable, and practical from a criminal state of mind at the time, but a huge WTF?!
This Burns guy was involved with the conman who would get rich widows in the horse country near Chicago to invest in his worthless horses, then getting 'the Sandman' to deal with the horses. He tried this with the extremely wealthy Helen Brach, widow of the Brach candy co. founder. She caught on to him and wasw going to testify against him and disappeared, it was believed fatally.
Wouldn’t a guy nick-named Silky Pony, want to stay far away from anyone involved in horse-killing ?
It is a remaking of an actual crime spree referred to by me above. It was used as a plot on 'Law and Order'.
FWIW, it doesn’t seem fair to blame a teenage girl because her father was a crook.
That said, it certainly doesn’t seem she has great moral values.
Alison Poole makes the news :) and of course in the book everything she did was an act of rebellion against her father. Wonder where the psycoanalysis takes her now .
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