Daughter of Hugh Hefner's best friend claims Playboy had 'shadow mansions' where sex abuse was rampant

·Host & Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read

On Monday's episode of Secrets of Playboy, Jennifer Saginor, the daughter of Dr. Mark Saginor, who was Hugh Hefner's personal physician and best friend for 40 years, continued to share her horrifying story.

According to Jennifer, men from within Hefner's inner circle created what were known as "shadow mansions," which were mini-mansions that housed girls who didn't make the cut to be a Playmate.

Jennifer explained, "My father and the inner circle from Playboy created clones of the Playboy Mansion on a smaller scale to sort of lure these young girls in. It was very predatory. These young girls have no idea what's gonna hit them next."

"By shadow mansion, I mean that these men in Hef's inner circle would try to emulate what he created in his own empire at the Playboy Mansion," Jennifer explained. "And they would have smaller versions of the Playboy Mansions, which I would refer to as mini-mansions. They would house these young girls who would come to Los Angeles looking for opportunities to become actresses or models."

Jennifer also shared that one of the first shadow mansions was owned by businessman Bernie Cornfeld. One Playmate from the '70s revealed in the Secrets of Playboy episode that, under the guise of being a "modeling agency," Bernie had a dormitory upstairs, where he would invite the young women to live in his home.

"By the time I understood what was going on at Grayhall, it had already been going on for some time," said Sharmagne Leland-St.John. "Bernie, he would go prowling at night. He'd go prowling up in the dormitory and be having sex with the girls up there. I realized that the modeling agency apparently fronted for Bernie's sexual appetite. So, if you moved into the house, you became prey. You became one of his next conquests."

I just remember walking in on them and being, like, horrified. These girls were clearly drugged and not coherent.Jennifer Saginor

As time went on, many other men close to Hefner created similar spaces, which became very popular in the '90s, due to Hefner marrying Kimberley Conrad, thus hosting less "orgy parties" at the mansion.

Jennifer said women who were considered "sevens" or "eights," who did not make it to the Playboy Mansion with the "nines or 10s", were shuffled into one of the mini-mansions, where they would live and be subject to abuse by powerful, wealthy men.

"The mini-mansions were similar parties to the Playboy Mansion parties on a lower scale. I would see the same guys at the mini-mansions that I would see at the Playboy Mansion. So I think there was definitely a learned behavior from the Mansion to the mini-mansions. These men got some ideas on how to manipulate women," said Rachel Myers, who was a regular at Playboy Mansion West.

"The experience I had at the mini-mansion parties is immediately walking in, having all the men glom on to you offering you, you know, lines of coke or a bowl of, you know, ecstasy," recalled fellow Playboy Mansion West regular Jackie Hatten. "If you refuse those, they're trying to shove Champagne in your face."

Jennifer continued: "I just remember walking in on them and being, like, horrified. These girls were clearly drugged and not coherent. Maybe they would also have somebody, like, videotaping them, and then that videotape could be used as blackmail, so they wouldn't tell anyone or so that they'd sort of fall into this underground system of being available. Basically, any powerful, wealthy man in Los Angeles who was on the guest list to attend the mini-mansion parties was given an opportunity to spend time with particular girls. 'Spending time with her' is code for 'Having sex with her.' I think many of the girls stayed in the mini-mansion system because they were scared of being blackmailed with videotapes."

Jennifer eventually moved into her father's shadow mansion, where she would witness horrifying things and discover that even she wasn't safe from the predatory behavior.

"As a teenager, I turned to one of my father's friends for advice and showed up at his house. He ended up offering me a drink and putting something in my drink. Before I knew it, I was, you know, out of body and came to with him trying to have sex with me. Telling me I had to take my, like, clothes off, and I was in his bed, and the whole thing was so horrific," shared Jennifer. "For me, growing up in that setting, I was the only female that's welcomed into this boys' club. You know, I felt good about myself. I felt special and different. And really at the end of the day, I'm not."

Secrets of Playboy airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on A&E.

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