*This is an excerpt from Kelly Cramer's article in the "Palm Beach New Times." This story was also depicted on "Law & Order: SVU."
DID MILLIONAIRE TYCOON MARRY BIOLOGICAL DAUGHTER?
A secret sexual relationship with his daughter was not enough.
There had to be a wedding.
And it had to be a grand celebration befitting a Fisher Island multimillionaire who controls billions from Wall Street to Bermuda, from London to Dubai.
So on a sunny June day two years ago, father and daughter exchanged rings at Westminster Abbey.
They couldn't follow convention by inviting friends or family, and they couldn't make an announcement that they'd eloped.
There was no white dress and no officiant.
D. Bruce McMahan, then 65, and his daughter Linda Marie Hodge McMahan Schutt, then 35, pronounced themselves husband and wife on June 23, 2004.
It was their secret.
Except for a few traditional photographs, it was a wholly unconventional and unholy union.
Several shots show off their new Cartier Trinity rings — hers diamond, his three shades of gold. In other frames, they look the happy couple — cheek to cheek, faces glowing, and the Abbey's Little Cloister garden a royal backdrop.
Afterward, she flew home to her legal spouse in Mississippi and he went home to his compound on Fisher Island, a ferry ride from Miami.
From different states, they traded their wedding photos back and forth over e-mail.
He talked about touching up her redeye. She declared her favorite the photo of their hands wearing their new rings, his hand on hers, which they had titled: "Says it ALL." Using codes, they addressed each other in the e-mails as husband and wife.
"They are great pictures," McMahan wrote in one of their daily exchanges. "But they tell a story, so pay attention to what happens to them."
With their secret still safe, McMahan filed to divorce his fifth wife, and Linda moved out of the home she shared with her husband.
McMahan began spending more time at the plush Fisher Island retreat he'd built for his hedge-fund clients. Linda moved into a nearby condo, leaving behind her career as a psychologist.
Linda enjoyed the trappings of life with one of America's richest money managers, racking up a $74,000 bill at Barney's New York.
He enjoyed lavishing her with jewels, a Bentley Continental GT, and a Versace Club membership.
He put her on his corporate payroll. They celebrated regularly with bottles of expensive Opus One wine.
But when Christmas 2004 came along, they resumed roles as father and daughter. They needed to keep up appearances, for the sake of their families and to protect their secret.
Family snapshots show their return to normal. She put her legal husband's rings back on her left hand and moved the Trinity ring to her right hand.
They didn't know it then, but their secret was safe for only a few more days. McMahan was right: The photos do tell quite a story.
What followed was a breakup on an even grander scale than their wedding and a legal battle every bit as obsessive as each has been about the other.
For more than a year, attorneys have been kept busy in Miami, New York, Mississippi, and San Diego with the fallout over the breakup of McMahan and Linda in five lawsuits involving not only father and daughter but also their legal spouses, as well as Linda's current boyfriend and soon-to-be father of her child. Details of McMahan and Linda's extraordinary wedding at Westminster Abbey and their years as lovers come from court documents as well as Linda's videotaped deposition, which New Times has made available on its website, browardpalmbeach.com.
In court papers, McMahan denies that he ever had a sexual affair with his daughter. But he doesn't explain how his and Linda's DNA turned up on a vibrator that Linda's husband uncovered in her luggage. McMahan also hints that Linda may not be his biological daughter, despite a DNA test he paid for showing with 99.7 percent probability that he is her father.
When New Times began gathering court records and calling individuals involved in the lawsuits several weeks ago, McMahan declined to comment for this article. He hired a Los Angeles public relations firm to field New Times queries. He also made three requests to seal court documents in Miami and San Diego that three judges denied.
Then, on September 13, as this article was being prepared for print, all five lawsuits were settled on undisclosed terms. As part of the settlement, a federal judge in San Diego sealed the files of the California lawsuit and took the rare step of wiping out any record that the lawsuit had ever existed.
UPDATE ON THIS BIZARRE TALE: by Susan Edelman @ The NY Post
October 1, 2006 -- The woman who claims she married her multimillionaire father in a bizarre, incestuous romance made lewd come-ons and scandalous remarks to her half-sister - and is waging a "vendetta" against the entire family, the sibling says.
"She would speak to me like she wanted a love affair with me," said Heather McMahan, another daughter of hedge-fund operator Bruce McMahan.
"Everything was sexual with her," Heather said of her younger stepsister Linda McMahan. "There was no intent on her part to actually follow through with any of it. But it was her way of controlling and manipulating."
Heather rose to defend her dad in the wake of explosive accusations of incest by Linda McMahan, 37. Linda, who had been given up for adoption, claims that after tracking down Bruce, her birth father, at age 20, they had a torrid love affair, and even exchanged vows in a ceremony in London.
The charges, in a secretly settled lawsuit, have rocked Wall Street, where Bruce manages billions in assets, and crushed the family.
The McMahans warmly embraced Linda when she showed up as a young adult. But she turned against them in a shocking betrayal, relatives said.
Bruce McMahan, a father of nine, claimed in court papers that Linda was trying to extort $10 million from him to keep her accusations secret. Through a friend, he declined to speak to The Post, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Heather, 44, a sculptor and single mom of four, accused her sister of lying out of resentment and vengeance.
"What's happening here is Linda wanted money," said Heather, who moved from Westchester County, where her father lives and she was raised, to Austin, Texas, after 9/11, and launched an Art for Soldiers Foundation.
"She didn't get it. She's on this vendetta thing, and she wants to destroy not only my father, but probably the entire family name."
Linda's birth mother, Myra Westphall, of Escondido, Calif., who conceived the girl with Bruce after high school, gave her up for adoption because she was single and already had three children.
She said she doesn't believe Linda's tawdry tale.
"I think Linda is capable of creating some pretty fanciful stories," Westphall told The Post.
Heather showed several greeting cards sprinkled with graphic sexual descriptions and innuendo that Linda had sent her from California in the 1990s.
One concluded with a reference to Linda's willingness to perform oral sex on her half-sister.
In another, Linda wrote about a man she was dating: "U know he is sensual just by talking to him and holding his hand (nothing else). I am saving myself for you, HONEY."
Heather said Linda sent her thong underwear and sexy lingerie as gifts.
Heather said she took Linda under her wing when their father introduced her to the family in 1990 and showered her with designer clothes and luxuries in shopping sprees.
"She was my long-lost kid sister, and she came off as an injured little chick. Can you imagine the guilt?" said Heather, whose mother, Jill, died when she was 6.
"I saw she had some sexual issues, but shook it off as something else that Linda had to work through. I didn't take it that seriously," she said.
"She was a very sexual person, like most McMahans tend to be. We have a pretty strong libido - all of us. But Linda's sexuality was her identity. Her primary way of communicating any kind of emotion always had a sexual overtone."
When Linda became engaged in 1998 to a man she met in San Diego, Sargent Schutt, Heather said she spent $20,000 to throw Linda an engagement party at her then-home in Pelham, Westchester County.
"Most of the people at the party were her ex-boyfriends from California. They flew out," Heather said.
Heather, then divorced, said she had gotten serious about a man she was dating, and begged Linda not to make any bawdy jokes or gestures around him.
At the end of the night, she said, Linda lingered long after all the guests, except Heather's boyfriend, had left. Then Linda asked Heather for a kiss goodbye.
"She put her hands on both my cheeks and goes right for my mouth," Heather said. "I pulled back, and she said: 'Wait a minute. If you don't let me kiss you on the lips, how are you going to let me kiss you down there again?' "
Heather said her boyfriend was disgusted. "He left, and I never heard from him again," she said.
"She tried to destroy my relationship with a man because she didn't want anybody else in my life."
Likewise, she argued, Linda fabricated the incestuous trysts with their dad to destroy his marriage to his fifth wife, Elena.
Linda alleged that the seamy affair began in 1998, when her father wooed her over a glass of wine and the movie "Braveheart," which they watched on his bed in his mansion in upstate Putnam.
He said she had a "very sexy version" of his own legs and he wondered what it would be like to kiss her - which was followed by a two-hour makeout session, court papers state.
Months later, on a trip to London, they had sex for the first time in a high-priced hotel, Linda testified. She continued to have sex with her dad for over a year until her wedding to Schutt in October 1999.
Linda, who later divorced Schutt, is now pregnant and living with another man in San Diego. She could not be reached for comment.
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