During the 1990’s InterAct companies employed thousands of people in its Beverly Hills offices. Nicholas Rockefeller joined the Board of Directors of US SEARCH in 1998. Nick Matzorkis and Nicholas Rockefeller went on to launch GlobalAgora-China in partnership with Chinese government controlled Wuhan Department Store Group, publicly traded on the Shanghai Exchange. GlobalAgora is believed to be the first U.S. based technology company to launch operations in the People’s Republic of China and the first to enable wireless shopping in mainland China.
Businessman Who Helped Find Heaven’s Gate Victims Is Jailed
Courts: Ohio authorities saw him on TV after he accompanied an ex-cult member to the suicide scene. He is wanted in that state for allegedly violating probation in a 1989 car theft. April 18, 1997|STEPHANIE SIMON and JOHN GLIONNA | TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Beverly Hills businessman Nick Matzorkis, who grabbed the national spotlight earlier this month for helping to discover the bodies of Heaven’s Gate cult members, has been jailed for an alleged probation violation.
Matzorkis, 34, is on probation for a 1989 auto theft outside Cleveland. He pleaded no contest to the theft, was sentenced to probation and received court permission to move to California, according to his attorney, Donald Etra. But he allegedly failed to check in with a probation officer in Los Angeles.
Matzorkis was being held without bail Thursday in County Jail, awaiting a transfer to Cleveland. “He’s trying to get back to Cleveland to straighten this out,” said Etra, who blamed the situation on a communication failure. “He wants to get back to business.”
Along with running InterAct Entertainment Group–which includes a long-distance telephone company, a talent agency and an Internet design firm–Matzorkis is developing a television movie based on the Heaven’s Gate saga for ABC.
One of Matzorkis’ publicity agents, Danielle Forlano, said Thursday that she expected the movie deal to go forward as planned, despite the arrest. “As far as I know, these are two totally separate things,” she said.
An ABC spokeswoman also said the arrest had not affected the project, which remains in preliminary development.
A fast-talking, always-on-the-go businessman, Matzorkis eagerly jumped into the media whirlwind that surrounded the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. He patiently recounted again and again the story of how one of his employees, former cult member Richard Ford, led him to the mansion in Rancho Santa Fe where 39 people had killed themselves.
Once that first flush died down, Matzorkis brokered his employee’s exposure, arranging for Ford to give exclusive interviews to Newsweek and television’s “Prime Time Live.”
Matzorkis’ enthusiasm for the media frenzy backfired when Cleveland authorities caught sight of him on TV and remembered the auto theft case. Beverly Hills police said Ohio authorities contacted them and asked them to arrest Matzorkis for the alleged probation violation.
Ford may also have been burned by the spotlight. Soon after he appeared on the cover of Newsweek, Ford’s ex-wife told a San Diego newspaper he owed her $31,500 in alimony and child support.
“They got seduced by the spotlight and then–oops!” said Beverly Hills media consultant Carole Hemingway.
“If you’re going into the spotlight, you need to be able to withstand the glare,” Hemingway said. “You want to make sure you don’t have auto theft in your background, or your wife doesn’t look up at the TV and say, ‘Aha! There he is.’ ”
I’ve been trying to find him.’ “