Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Vicki Morgan

Money & Power

Any photograph makes it clear what Bloomingdale saw in Vicki Morgan.

But what did she see in him?

Yes, he was rich. But middle-age paunch had settled in, and his bold features were not particularly handsome.

Certainly, Vicki would have been impressed by his power and status. But she would later say that Bloomingdale treated her well. He did not condescend to her, treating her as an intellectual equal.

He flattered her with praise and bought gifts without being asked — including tuition to the Lee Strasburg Institute, the famed acting school.

Vicki was also awed by Bloomingdale's energy as he jetted back and forth across the continent to monitor his various businesses and homes.

Vicki began to travel with him — to New York, Washington, even Europe. They often spent time in Fort Lauderdale, where he was developing a resort, and at La Costa, the exclusive country club near San Diego.

She was paid well for her time and provided with a beautiful home, a Mercedes and housekeepers. Her monthly "allowance" steadily increased, from $1,000 to $5,000 to $10,000.

Vicki began to regard herself as wealthy, not merely the kept woman of a wealthy man.

She dined at fine restaurants, shopped on Rodeo Drive and became a customer at Ménage a Trois, L.A.'s most chic hair salon, even though she knew that Betsy Bloomingdale traveled in that same small orbit.

One day in 1973, Vicki and Alfred were canoodling in his car outside the salon when Betsy walked by and caught them.

To allay divorce, Bloomingdale promised to end the relationship. Betsy began keeping close tabs on his travel and expenses, and Vicki Morgan suddenly found herself without a sugar daddy.

The party was over, but Vicki was not the sort of mistress to slink away quietly.

She filed a lawsuit, claiming Bloomingdale had breached their oral contract promising support. The case went nowhere, but the modest publicity the lawsuit received added public humiliation to Betsy's private rage.

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