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Startling claims from a 'Hollywood go-to guy'

Brian Quintana's record of run-ins with celebrities has gone mostly unnoticed. Those he's accused say he's an example of a small group of opportunists who wreak havoc in the lives of famous people.

March 22, 2009|Harriet Ryan

If Brian Quintana, an events planner who bills himself as "the billionaire's Hollywood go-to guy," is to be believed, the last decade and a half of his life has been marked by a series of startlingly abusive relationships with celebrities.

If he is to be believed, actress Stefanie Powers sexually assaulted him, socialite Paris Hilton tried to wreck him professionally and movie producer Jon Peters solicited him to commit murder. If he is to be believed, all three also threatened him with death or grave injury.

Quintana's record of run-ins with the rich and famous has mostly gone unnoticed in Hollywood, where attention spans are shorter than a starlet's micro-mini. His is a cautionary tale of misplaced trust, but whether that warning is directed at the entertainment industry's big names or the little people who minister to them depends on who is telling the story.

Quintana paints himself as a champion of those victimized by celebrity arrogance.

"I for one will not tolerate their abuse," he wrote in an e-mail.

Not surprisingly, those he's accused say he is not to be believed. They contend he is an example of a small but destructive group of opportunists who worm their way into the lives of famous people and wreak havoc.

"Brian Quintana is an individual who made a career out of hanging on to well-known people, creating trouble for them, demanding compensation from them and, when he is about to be cut off, blackmailing them with fabricated allegations," Peters' attorney charged in a January lawsuit against Quintana.

In his most recent legal battle, Quintana filed a suit accusing Peters, a former studio chief whose movies include "Caddy Shack," "Rain Man" and "Ali," of jaw-dropping misconduct, including plotting a homicide, procuring sex for his actors and destroying evidence of rape. Peters denies the allegations and says he hopes to make Quintana's third court faceoff with a celebrity his last.

"The buck stops here. He needs to be exposed," Peters said.

Quintana, 42, initially refused to comment for this story. He answered requests for an interview with an e-mail of quotes on various issues ("I manufacture fame and celebrity. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein when these creatures become monsters."). His lawyer then sent two letters threatening legal action for, among other things, invading his privacy. But a few days before the story was scheduled to run, Quintana said he wanted an interview.

He portrayed himself as the ultimate insider -- "someone who can get almost any Hollywood A-lister on the phone in 30 seconds."

He did not drop names so much as machine-gun them. He spoke of relationships with an array of actors, directors, politicians and philanthropists. Among his claimed connections: Oprah Winfrey ("Are we best friends? No, but there's a kinship"), reality TV star Brody Jenner ("He would always say, 'Why are you always with the cool people?' "), filmmaker Bryan Singer ("I introduced him to Jon Peters") and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A publicist said Winfrey had "no relationship" with Quintana. Jenner's representative said Quintana's claim of a friendship was "completely false." Singer said Quintana played no role in his meeting Peters. Aides to Pelosi said Quintana was an intern in her office during college but denied that he and the congresswoman have the close association he asserts.

"Brian Quintana has no more relationship with the speaker after working for her for a brief period almost 20 years ago as I would with the pope because I am Catholic," said Brian Wolff, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Quintana shrugged off the apparent inconsistencies.

"When you are under the gun, most people in Hollywood except your true friends are going to deny [knowing] you," he said.

Said Quintana's longtime friend, Chuck Fuentes, the Pico Rivera city manager: "His intentions are always in the right place to do something big, something good, something meaningful. Sometimes things just seem to fall apart, and then he goes crossways on people."

The biography Quintana lays out on his website and in court papers touts his humble roots. He grew up in a one-bedroom Boyle Heights home -- shared by 11 relatives, he says -- earned a scholarship to a fancy East Coast prep school and later earned a political science degree at UC Berkeley.

Interning for Pelosi and campaigning for Democrats led to a career as an event planner, a job that offered him a chance to meet an elite crowd. Some were impressed. His website features photos of Quintana smiling alongside the likes of Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush.

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In the Enquirer

Quintana made two unsuccessful runs for the state Legislature in the early 1990s, but his first real public notice came in 1995, when he appeared in the National Enquirer under the headline YOUNG ASSISTANT TELLS ALL, STEFANIE POWERS FORCED ME TO MAKE LOVE TO HER.

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