Real Estate Tycoon Exposed as ‘Boogeyman of Porn’

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Los Angeles-area actual property magnate Mark Handel was as soon as capable of get state laws specially drafted to go well with his developments, persuade town council to offer his tasks an interest-free six-figure loan, and to domesticate ties with males who would later signify the area within the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

But in accordance with supplies from a forthcoming documentary—which The Daily Beast corroborated by public data analysis and conversations with San Fernando Valley insiders—Handel, now going through federal fraud and money-laundering charges, maintained a parallel profession as one of probably the most infamous and misogynistic figures in hardcore porn: Khan Tusion.

One of the administrators behind the brand new movie revealed to The Daily Beast that he first heard about Handel’s notorious alter ego whereas engaged on a film based mostly on a 2010 homicide within the grownup business.

“People would mention this guy ‘Khan Tusion’—they would call him the ‘boogeyman of porn,’ ‘the Freddie Krueger of porn’,” stated Lucas Heyne, whose prior movie Mope premiered on the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. “He was known for being one of the most verbally abusive and physically abusive porn directors that’s ever existed.”

Handel’s legal professional didn’t reply voicemails or emails for this story, and in a short telephone change with The Daily Beast Handel himself insisted he would communicate solely by his authorized counsel. He didn’t reply to a subsequent name and textual content message detailing all the data on this article.

Heyne and his co-director, Sara Gardephe, advised The Daily Beast Handel has been equally unresponsive to their overtures—although they nonetheless hope he’ll comply with an interview earlier than the movie’s deliberate launch subsequent yr.

Khan Tusion’s movies—which have titles like Rough Sex and Meat Holes—are infamous for his or her scenes of feminine performers getting overwhelmed, spat upon, stepped on, and even choked into unconsciousness. Taglines referred to the ladies he labored with as “jizzmops” and “the nastiest whores who love to be treated like worthless pieces of meat.”

According to stars interviewed for the documentary, titled Pariah after Khan Tusion’s manufacturing firm, the cruelty and degradation that got here from the person behind the digicam wasn’t an act.

“Tons of women were abused by this one guy,” actor Taryn Thomas asserts in a single clip shared with The Daily Beast, recalling how she agreed to what she believed would solely be a tough intercourse scene in Meat Holes 3. “Nobody told me that I was going to go to a porn set and I’m going to be verbally abused, spit on, have somebody’s foot put on my vagina, OK, or anything to that extent. And I’m going to have to think about the things this douchebag said to me for the rest of my life. No, I shouldn’t have had to put up with that, and that wasn’t in the contract.”

A performer who previously used the identify Regan Starr described to The Daily Beast a Khan Tusion-orchestrated encounter so excessive that its distributor decided to drop the title fully. Starr stated that the director advised her solely that she would seem in a “rougher sex scene,” and discouraged her from utilizing a “safe word” that an actor can deploy after they wish to halt filming.

“He was kind of telling me in his own way, that there wasn’t going to be a safe word, because even if I used it they weren’t going to stop,” stated Starr, who grew to become distraught whereas recalling what occurred on set.

In retrospect, Starr stated she didn’t consider Khan Tusion ever advised the male actor contracted for the scene that there was a protected phrase in any respect—and when she shouted it, in growing ache from her counterpart’s blows, Khan Tusion stored recording.

“He motioned to the second cameraman, the motion to keep rolling, keep rolling, keep rolling,” she stated. “His eyes got really big and he got excited. It was like he was in a trance, a pleasure trance kind of thing. I’d never seen anything like it.”

Finally, as Starr broke down in a panic—fearing, she advised The Daily Beast, that she had unwittingly signed up for a snuff movie—the scene lower abruptly brief. It quickly grew to become infamous within the porn world, even as its director denied her model of occasions in industry publications.

What notably disturbed and intrigued Heyne, and his co-director Sara Gardephe, in regards to the brutal, menacing director is that he by no means confirmed his face and appeared to have labored to hide his id.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Lucas Heyne attends the Mope premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Jerod Harris/Getty Images</div>

Lucas Heyne attends the Mope premiere throughout the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Besides the pseudonym, Khan Tusion used a voice distorter on movie and by no means let himself be photographed or proven above the shoulders at business occasions. In the 2001 British documentary Hardcore, the director pressured the filmmaker to maintain the digicam pointed at his torso, as he insisted he had a “different life” as a “pillar of the community” that he wanted to protect. He claimed he made the movies not for cash however to realize a excessive he described as “better than drugs.”

But Heyne and Gardephe found it was an open secret that Khan Tusion was in reality the politically-wired property developer Mark Handel, the brother of standard however controversial radio host Bill Handel. Bill Handel advised The Daily Beast he’s estranged from his brother, and maintained the 2 have had virtually no contact in recent times.

“The thing that first caught my eye was that this guy was just talking to these women for the majority of the videos,” stated Gardephe, who beforehand directed a documentary about incels known as Shy Boys: IRL. “We ended up uncovering a completely insane story.”

In the interview with Thomas, the performer identifies a photograph of Handel as Khan Tusion. And a clear paper path straight connects Handel’s respectable enterprises with Khan Tusion’s empire of humiliation and ache.

Federal data present that the now-defunct logos for Khan Tusion’s signature properties, from his manufacturing home Pariah Pictures all the way down to titles such as Frank Wank and Piss Mops, all belonged to an organization known as MNP Enterprises LLC. California incorporation data present that not solely did Handel register this entity in his personal identify, however even used the identify and Calabasas tackle of his actual property agency, MWH Development, on the submitting.

Insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to talk freely, described the San Fernando Valley as each the epicenter of the American porn industry and a locus of political energy in Southern California. But the 2 circles hardly ever overlap, they stated, as elected officers discover the refracted glare of the set lights unflattering for his or her public picture.

Campaign finance data present Handel poured 1000’s upon 1000’s of {dollars} into the electoral efforts of native politicians—most notably, now-Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-C.A.) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-C.A.), whom Handel has backed since their days on the Los Angeles City Council. Tight native legal guidelines capped donations, however sources advised The Daily Beast that Handel served as a liaison for Cardenas to the bigger Los Angeles actual property neighborhood—permitting him to garner donations from an array of builders.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA).</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images</div>

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA).

Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

Handel’s 2020 federal indictment, for allegedly concealing revenue and enterprise dealings amid chapter proceedings, additionally asserts he engaged on this sort of exercise, although it makes no reference to Cardenas or some other particular official.

“Defendant Handel also solicited large amounts of donations from his business associates and others to be paid to politicians, which defendant Handel described as being a ‘bundler’,” reads the charging doc, which may web the mogul a jail sentence of as much as 120 years. “Handel did this, at least in part, to benefit his real estate projects by gaining access to and having influence over politicians.”

Public data additionally present that Handel shaped a number of company ventures with one of the San Fernando Valley’s most vital energy brokers—James Acevedo, regarded as the political godfather to each Cardenas and Padilla. Handel’s agency, MWH, would later make use of a prime aide of Padilla’s from his time as metropolis council president. And Padilla’s protégé, former Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, was the legislator who penned the state bill to permit an embattled MWH mission to proceed. Fuentes didn’t reply requests for remark.

On town council within the mid-2000s—across the identical time as Khan Tusion was cranking out sequence like Hellfire Sex and Butt-Licking Anal Whores—Cardenas and Padilla helped push by Handel’s actual property tasks of their districts, even over local opposition.

Cardenas declined to remark for this story. Padilla and Acevedo didn’t reply to repeated outreach from The Daily Beast. It is thus not possible to establish whether or not they knew about Handel’s alter ego.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (far left), Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla (center speaker), and State Senator Richard Alarcon (Padilla has his hand on his shoulder).</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images</div>

Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (far left), Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla (heart speaker), and State Senator Richard Alarcon (Padilla has his hand on his shoulder).

Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times through Getty Images

What is for certain is that they accepted his assist in spite of his highly publicized 1996 arrest in an underage prostitution sting, through which he and one other of his enterprise companions—a then-L.A. Building and Safety Commissioner—allegedly paid for oral intercourse from a 17-year-old lady. Handel was initially discovered responsible and was sentenced to jail time and probation, though he later acquired the conviction reversed on enchantment.

Another beneficiary of Handel’s political and personal largesse, former metropolis and state lawmaker Richard Alarcon—an ally-turned-enemy of the Acevedo-Cardenas-Padilla group—maintained he was unaware of Handel’s twin id till fairly not too long ago.

“I had no idea whatsoever, and you know, we worked on housing projects,” Alarcon advised The Daily Beast, including that he regarded the staff of lobbyists Handel labored with to advance his developments as “very respectable.”

Alarcon discovered himself entangled in the newest, and maybe most sordid, chapter of Handel’s story, which performed out in 2018 and 2019 and which varieties a central episode in Pariah.

By then, Cardenas was within the House, Padilla was California’s Secretary of State, and Handel was enmeshed within the chapter case that may in the end culminate in his arrest. “Khan Tusion,” in the meantime, had mysteriously vanished from the porn world following the 2010 launch of Midnight Prowl 17—coinciding with the steep decline of the San Fernando Valley scene throughout the web period but in addition, Heyne famous, with the growing accessibility of public data on-line.

But it was at this second that the sleazy underside of Handel’s life got here closest to publicity.

In April 2018, an nameless plaintiff filed a civil go well with in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging an unnamed native official had groomed after which groped her as a teenage lady. The grievance was lodged in opposition to a “John Doe,” however Cardenas shortly came forward to establish himself as the accused and to disclaim the allegations. His legal professional characterised the claimant as “the daughter of a disgruntled former employee” and a possible “victim of manipulation.”

The case began to disintegrate after Alarcon, who had challenged Cardenas for his seat in 2016, revealed that a person he believed to be the daddy of the accuser had approached him providing dust on the incumbent in change for a job. The plaintiff’s legal professional dropped the case in 2019, and she or he in the end withdrew the claim. The decide dismissed it with prejudice, which means it could possibly by no means be refiled, and Cardenas cheered his “total vindication.”

But there was one element within the go well with that seems to have by no means been contested, and which Cardenas’s staff explicitly declined to handle when questioned by The Daily Beast—the accuser asserted that Cardenas had organized with Handel for her household to relocate from a trailer park to a four-bedroom home the developer owned utterly free of cost.

Handel even appeared to verify the declare to the Los Angeles Times, although he maintained he had put the household within the house to maintain it free of squatters forward of its deliberate demolition.

The developer’s “nom-de-porn” even featured in a letter the accuser’s legal professional penned to the Office of Congressional Ethics.

“Mr. Handel was allegedly also known as ‘Khan Tusion,’ a hardcore porn producer,” the missive reads.

Luckily for Handel, this assertion appeared to get misplaced within the welter of scandal across the case, and he stored himself out of the headlines till his arrest last year.

He is because of seem in federal courtroom in Los Angeles the morning of February 21, 2023.

But Heyne and Gardephe stated they discovered that the infamy of Khan Tusion’s identify, and the aura of worry surrounding it, nonetheless lingers within the seamier corners of the Valley.

“People honestly were scared to talk to us. It took a lot of time,” stated Gardephe. “Their impression of him was that he was a powerful man, that he had a lot of politicians as friends.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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