When Hadley Palmer walked out of prison last week, it was the latest chapter in a sordid crime story that has friends in her tony Connecticut enclave scratching their heads about how a devoted mother-of-four ended up a convicted sex offender.
The Greenwich socialite was sentenced to a year behind bars in November, after pleading guilty to secretly filming teenagers in her $10 million mansion. Under a transitional supervision program, she was released early after serving just 71 days, in addition to a 90-day prison stay last spring. Since then, photographers for the Daily Mail and New York Post have captured her on outings around town, including to the Apple Store.
“I don’t know if it’s good news or bad news. I really don’t know how to take it that she’s getting out early,” one of Hadley’s former acquaintances told The Daily Beast, adding that they struggle to comprehend the charge that she exploited minors for her own sexual aims.
The scandal surrounding Hadley erupted last February, when the media reported that a judge ordered her criminal case sealed from public view, raising concerns about whether her wealth afforded her preferential treatment in the justice system.
The daughter of a prominent hedge-fund founder, Hadley pleaded guilty to filming three teens without their knowledge and for her own sexual gratification in 2017 and 2018, somewhere inside her home overlooking Long Island Sound. One victim, police said, was as young as 15.
It’s unclear why authorities charged Hadley years after her crimes. But multiple people who knew the 54-year-old mom told The Daily Beast that they wonder if her contentious divorce from her estranged husband, Bradley Palmer, might in some way have led to the criminal probe.
Some former contacts of the couple even expressed sympathy for Hadley, who for a short while was Inmate No. 439165 at York Correctional Institution, the state’s only prison for female offenders.
They wondered whether Brad may have brought attention to Hadley’s activities during their family court showdown—a question others have raised, including the Daily Mail, which published a headline asking: “Did wealthy husband expose Connecticut socialite mother-of-four for taking sexual videos of three minors?”
Asked for comment on Hadley’s crimes, a spokesperson for Brad said, “Mr. Palmer is neither commenting on the criminal case nor rumor and speculation.”
The acquaintance said they were no fan of Hadley and Brad—calling them “narcissists” and “exceedingly wealthy”—but still believed there was more to Hadley’s story; they wondered if she installed cameras in her home to prevent her kids from doing drugs or getting into other trouble.
“I don’t think Hadley’s a good person, I think she’s a self-serving person,” they added. “I do, however, have a hard time believing she would do this for her own sexual gratification. She never came across to me as creepy or weird.”
“She came from an enormously wealthy family herself so I shouldn’t feel sorry for either of them.”
One supporter of the socialite said they were “stunned” by the accusations against her. “That’s not at all the Hadley I know,” the person told The Daily Beast. “She was really caring. Her kids were her world.”
The pal said that in the world of private equity, winning is everything, and they imagine that for Brad, this ethos may have played out on the home front.
“I think if Hadley were going to divorce him, he would go after her with everything he’s got,” they said. “I think Brad would have done everything to prevent the divorce or get the divorce on his own terms.”
But one person knowledgeable about the case disagreed with this characterization. They said that Brad was in the process of serving Hadley with divorce papers—that came with a demand for sole custody of their minor child—in May 2020 when she asked him to reconsider. “While those papers were on the way to being served, Ms. Palmer told Mr. Palmer she was willing to enter into counseling with a new counselor and so Mr. Palmer asked that the divorce papers not be served,” the person said. “The server who was minutes away from serving them turned back.”
Hadley then served Brad with her own divorce complaint in June 2020, the insider added, leading Brad to file papers of his own on the same day.
Both are seeking the enforcement of a premarital agreement, though Hadley is also requesting the enforcement of an agreement inked with her parents.
Mark Shriver, a friend of Brad’s and executive of the nonprofit Save the Children, said that it was “too bad” that a reporter would write a story about Brad and Hadley. “I think everything is sad, and that’s all I have to say about it really,” Shriver said, when asked about his reaction to Hadley’s arrest for filming minors.
Shriver had more to say about Brad, whom he’s known for 20 years through his work on the board of the charity Save the Children. “He’s a very decent and very good guy who’s done a lot for other people, and there’s not a lot of people you can say that about,” Shriver said.
“He’s a great father, he’s devoted to his kids, devoted to children’s issues not only in the U.S. but around the world,” added Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family. “He’s very generous with his time, and his talents and his treasure, and I think whenever a divorce happens it’s very sad for everyone.”
Divorce records indicate that both sides sought files on private investigators, audio and video recordings, and the contents of their social media accounts. Court papers reveal that Hadley requested travel and EZ Pass records from Brad, and documents related to “background checks, surveillance or other services of any and all private investigators, police officers or investigation services procured by you or on your behalf.”
Hadley repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to Brad’s requests, including when asked for “copies of texts, correspondence, emails, photographs, video and audio recordings sent to or received from any person with whom you have had a sexual or romantic relationship, whether in person or solely by remote means, other than your spouse…” She also objected to a request for “all reports by private investigators or other surveillance” pertaining to her “spouse or any child of the marriage.”
Greenwich cops first arrested Hadley in October 2021 on charges including employing a minor in an obscene performance and possession of child pornography. In connection to Hadley’s case, police also charged child psychologist Jerome Brodlie, 84, with failing to report abuse, neglect or injury of a child to state authorities. The therapist entered into a pretrial program for first-time offenders that would erase the misdemeanor charge. Reached by phone, Brodlie confirmed his charge was dropped but declined to comment.
Police records obtained through a public records request also showed that cops executed a search warrant at the couple’s mansion in April 2021.
“They literally had a dog that they would send into the city for psychiatric help for like $1,000 a session.”
Still, Hadley’s case remains shrouded in mystery because of the judge’s sealing—a move which startled criminal defense lawyers, open government experts, and anyone paying close attention. “No one seals the cases of poor criminals accused of despicable behavior,” one Connecticut columnist with The Day fumed, adding that Hadley’s case reveals that “the system supports two tiers of justice, one for the rich and one for the rest of us.”
The Associated Press had opposed the decision. At a hearing on the sealing, AP reporter Dave Collins pointed out, “This case came to our attention by a public notice on the judicial website and that was the first time we’ve ever seen the name of the defendant and the case numbers.” He said Palmer’s name wasn’t searchable on the online docket. “The appearance is almost as if this is a second tier of justice where some people keep things secret,” Collins added, according to an audio recording of the hearing.
Stamford Judge John Blawie disagreed, declaring that protecting the victims’ privacy outweighed the public’s right to access. In his ruling, he divulged one of the few known details about the case: Hadley was charged with filming people without their consent and in situations where the victims “had a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Five lawyers, who said they represented victims, complainants or protected parties in the case, appeared at the hearing to request the sealing. One of those attorneys said they were “standing in” for a sixth lawyer who wasn’t present.
David Finkelhor, a professor of sociology and the director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said women comprise only about 5 to 10 percent of sexual abusers, and in many cases, they are collaborating with a male accomplice or engaging in statutory sexual relationships with teenagers. “But voyeurism,” Finkelhor told The Daily Beast, “is not typically a part of that kind of dynamic.”
Finkelhor said that in Palmer’s case, someone may have discovered the illicit images and filed a police report, and the victims insisted on closed records in order to testify or contribute to the criminal action. Prosecutors may have “wanted to bring the case nonetheless,” Finkelhor said, “because there’s a lot of effort on the part of law enforcement these days to crack down on nonconsensual sexual image sharing.”
Hadley pleaded guilty to a handful of felonies—three counts of voyeurism and one count of risk of injury to a minor—and served a 90-day jail stint ahead of her November sentencing. At that hearing, according to an audio clip obtained by The Daily Beast, prosecutor Paul Ferencek disclosed that Hadley recorded videos of her victims, who at times were fully naked, and shared the footage in order to “arouse and satisfy her own sexual desire and that of an unnamed third party.” That third party isn’t publicly known.
“The system supports two tiers of justice, one for the rich and one for the rest of us.”
Aside from answering yes or no questions, Hadley didn’t speak at the proceeding. Blawie sentenced her to a year behind bars (she faced up to five) and 20 years of probation and required her to register as a sex offender for 10 years. The judge also granted one female victim’s request for a 30-year criminal protective order, which bars Hadley from contacting her. He announced that after four years, Palmer could petition the court to restrict her sex-offender registration information to law enforcement only.
Ferencek told the court that the state reviewed “a number of psychological evaluations” provided by her lawyer and found her punishment “sufficient,” in part because the victims didn’t want to see her serve further jail time.
Hadley’s lawyer Michael Meehan added that “she is extremely remorseful for her conduct” and told the judge, “I suspect that when this is over you will never see her back here again.”
Meehan called Hadley “a very caring, loving and sincere human being” embroiled in a “very unique set of circumstances.” He added, “I think there’s been a tremendous amount of information that’s been written about this woman, some fairly, some unfairly, and I wanted those comments placed on the record.”
Near the end of Hadley’s sentencing, Blawie said she would have no unsupervised contact with minors aside from relatives and referred to her “pending family court matter.”
“I wish the parties well in terms of working out their differences in the marital arena,” Blawie told the courtroom, “and hopefully moving forward recognize this as a problem to be solved, not a battle to be won.”
According to the Daily Mail, before Hadley learned her fate, observers saw her kissing and embracing a mystery man inside a conference room. A photographer captured the apparent beau entering the courthouse, using the hood of his coat to mask his identity.
Brad seems to have moved on, too. In March of last year, about a month after Hadley was initially incarcerated, the 62-year-old venture capitalist was dancing on a cruise ship surrounded by penguins in Antarctica. Instagram posts from the party showed Brad dressed in a shiny bowtie and rhinestone baseball cap, bopping alongside a woman who is 29 years his junior and an adviser to Fortune 500 companies and startups. Weeks earlier, Instagram posts revealed, they were in Marfa, Texas. Most recently, they posed for a photo in Davos, during this year’s World Economic Forum.
“Mr. Palmer went to Antarctica to serve as a keynote speaker on the climate crisis to a group of accomplished entrepreneurs, activists and experts who went there to learn and make commitments together to take action on the climate crisis,” a spokesperson said. “Other than that, Mr. Palmer has no comment.”
Another acquaintance of the Palmers told The Daily Beast that Hadley’s crimes “seem so enormously out of character.” They said that in their interactions with the couple in years past, they’d felt sorry for Hadley because her relationship with her husband had, from their perspective, appeared strained.
“She came from an enormously wealthy family herself so I shouldn’t feel sorry for either of them,” the person said of the erstwhile couple. “They had everything they could ever want. That’s the thing with these rich people: They’re all miserable.”
War of the Roses, Greenwich-Style
When Hadley filed for divorce, she indicated that her marriage had “broken down irretrievably.” The daughter of multimillionaire Jerrold Fine, who co-founded one of Wall Street’s first hedge funds, Hadley sought alimony, child support, and the enforcement of two premarital agreements, including one that was inked with her parents.
Brad’s attorneys, in an answer and cross complaint, argued that the agreements weren’t “premarital,” since they were signed a month after the couple’s May 1992 nuptials in New York. The filing also contended that the deal with Hadley’s parents “has no bearing on the terms of the marital agreement.” Brad, the document says, was seeking sole custody of the couple’s only minor child at the time, as well as child and educational support.
Each side was also demanding a detailed look into the finances of the other. Hadley demanded copies of banking records for Brad’s investment firm, Palm Ventures, and numerous other entities he has had a stake in or controls. For his part, Brad demanded records of “monies received” including “any recurring expense paid on your behalf” by someone other than him. He also requested information on loans or assets Hadley received.
The discovery process has been so combative that an independent third-party known as attorney “special master” was appointed to handle disputes over the materials.
In October 2022, Hadley’s lawyers filed a 400-page memorandum claiming Brad failed to hand over a multitude of records, among them “diaries, calendars, appointment books and journals,” social media and online messaging accounts, and documents reflecting travel, hotels and jewelry—all of which Hadley’s team alleged could “lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” such as the parties’ “lifestyle and fault.”
The documents show Hadley requested credit card statements and invoices supposedly revealing money spent on or properties transferred to another “woman or man (other than your spouse) with whom you have had sexual intercourse,” as well as monies spent on each person with whom he had a “social relationship” since the marriage.
Brad’s lawyer called such requests “designed to annoy [and] harass” and “unduly burdensome,” in particular because the term “social relationship” refers to “every man or woman in the world other than the plaintiff or the parties’ children.”
And while Hadley’s lawyers requested information on Brad’s social media accounts—for basic sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp—Brad’s team demanded “a complete download” of potential accounts on less mainstream platforms. Those included extramarital dating site Ashley Madison, Adult Friend Finder, “elitist” dating app The League, and a kink site called Fetlife. Hadley’s attorney objected, arguing the request was intended “to annoy and harass the Plaintiff” and again asserted her Fifth Amendment rights. (Despite her objections, records state, Hadley produced her Instagram account.)
One longtime friend of Brad, who asked not to be named, told The Daily Beast that the financier’s “biggest concern is the welfare of his kids.”
“I think he’s a loyal and loving and dedicated husband and was really crushed by what Hadley got arrested for and the impact that’s had on his kids,” the pal said. “No one should have to go through this and see your kids go through it. It’s been difficult as you can imagine.”
The friend added that they feel it’s unfair that Brad’s name has been dragged into news stories about Hadley, “for something he has no direct involvement with.”
Long before their relationship unraveled, the couple matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania. Hadley Fine graduated from Penn with a history of art degree in 1990, while Brad graduated with an MBA from the university’s Wharton School in 1988. (His father, who runs a corporate investment firm in Philly, once served as the business school’s dean.)
The newlyweds lived in New York, where Hadley worked at the Museum of Modern Art for several years. One Penn class newsletter touted her promotion to assistant director of education in 1998. Even after she left the museum’s employ, Hadley had a seat on MoMA’s trustee committee on education from at least 2014 to 2018.
Meanwhile, Brad was running Palm Ventures and serving on the boards of multiple charities including Save the Children. In 2021, the company’s website said it was “an active family office investment company managing money for the Palmer Family” and “focused on nurturing and growing businesses that have a positive and transformative impact on society.” The site also noted that Brad “began his career as an entrepreneur, starting a multi-location restaurant concept in the Midwest which he sold successfully.”
According to a biography on one nonprofit’s website, the Wharton MBA grad “has delegated day-to-day management of Palm Ventures” so that he could “focus the majority of his time on climate change initiatives, affordable housing, and workforce training to bridge the skills gap and improve incomes of disenfranchised portions of the U.S. population.”
One employee said Brad was “very aware and careful about his outward image and appearance and standing in the community,” and it appeared especially so because of his father’s success and placement on the boards of major companies.
Palm Ventures’ site listed investments including BetterUp, Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global, Greenwich restaurant Myx Kitchen, and universities and education technology firms.
In 2018, Brad’s acquisition of the college chain DeVry University faced scrutiny from critics, the media, and two senators. (DeVry is currently battling the U.S. Department of Education over a $23 million penalty stemming from claims it defrauded students. After the agency canceled students’ loans, they targeted DeVry’s parent company to recoup the costs.)
“A little-known venture capitalist is on the verge of acquiring one of the biggest for-profit colleges in the country,” the Associated Press reported at the time, “a transaction that would put him in control of a troubled national chain that’s more than 60 times the size of the tiny California school he currently owns.” The article highlighted Brad’s other acquisitions: Cogswell College, which in 2021 was renamed the University of Silicon Valley, and Heald College, which his firm sold to the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges for $395 million.
“She seemed nice and normal. Who knew?”
His enterprises, court records show, haven’t come without legal tussles from former pals and employees. In 2012, a onetime friend and Wharton classmate sued Brad for allegedly failing to pay him fees that he claimed he was owed for serving on the board of a company that Palm Ventures had invested in. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, filed in California, Brad promised that Palm Ventures would provide 2 percent of its gains in the investment. Instead, the suit claimed, Brad and his firm sold their interests in the company for about $40 million and refused to pay the friend. The case was settled in 2014, records show.
In 2016, one managing director sued Brad and Palm Ventures, claiming they stiffed her out of a majority of her $75,000 bonus before terminating her without cause. The defendants denied her allegations and filed a counterclaim against her. Records show that after a trial, a judge awarded her $749,508 in damages three years later.
A second former executive, Palm Ventures’ CFO for almost a decade, sued the company in 2021 in a case that’s pending. He alleges Brad failed to pay him $3 million in earnings, a claim Brad and his company deny in court filings.
“There have only been three lawsuits during the 25 years that Mr. Palmer has operated, started, or acquired dozens of businesses employing thousands of people,” Brad’s spokesperson said. “One lawsuit was settled in Mr. Palmer’s favor for about 10% of the total claim; the second lawsuit went to trial, but the plaintiff was only awarded about 10% of what they sought and, in the judge’s ruling, he stated that the Plaintiff (who sued Mr. Palmer) had not told the truth several times during their testimony. The third lawsuit is ongoing and frivolous.”
A longtime business associate of Brad’s told The Daily Beast that the lawsuits aren’t indicative of Palm Ventures’ work environment and that “given the multitude of activities we’re involved in, these issues happen.”
They described Brad as “entrepreneurial, innovative, and creative, and focused on making investments that are financially rewarding as well as doing good for society.” The person added, “It’s pretty core to who he is …. He’s an entrepreneur, not a stereotypical financier.” According to the associate, Palm Ventures invests in companies that are at risk of shutting down. “It takes courage to do that,” they said, “and I think Brad has a real talent.”
Despite Hadley’s disturbing criminal conviction, acquaintances who spoke to The Daily Beast shared that they still preferred her over Brad. “He can be extremely charismatic,” one person said. “He’s the most charming guy you’d ever meet if he wants something from you.”
“He always encouraged her to go to events and get out there and see people, where I kind of get the feeling she would have rather stayed home.”
Former staffers described him as a quirky boss, one who was a fast talker with no filter and a mane of long hair, who had an uncomfortable pair of Shaker-style guest chairs in front of his desk. “If you know him personally, he’s a nice person,” said one former employee who worked at a Palm Ventures food business. “As far as his business side of things, he really gets really—I’m sorry to say this—anal and just demanding.”
Other former employees said Brad did share some aspects of his life outside of the business: He was health conscious and passionate about fitness, and went to Davos and Burning Man several times. “I don’t know who he went with,” one person said. “But it was known in the office that Brad went to Burning Man.”
Another ex-employee described Brad as social and “the guy who acts young and tries to keep his Peter Pan-ness going.” They said Brad and Hadley would host parties at their home and invite employees.
The couple’s dog sometimes came to the office, the person added, just before it was transported to New York to see an animal behavior specialist. “They literally had a dog that they would send into the city for psychiatric help for like $1,000 a session,” the insider said. “They said he had emotional problems. But it was weird because he would come sit next to me and he was perfectly fine.” (A spokesperson for Brad said he has no knowledge of sending the family dog to a specialist.)
“The one good thing about him is that he really valued young, green talent,” the person added of Brad. “If it got in front of him and he saw it, he knew that person would be critical or lucrative, he would give them a shot.”
“There was a loyalty in that too,” they said.
A third ex-employee said that Brad was developing a healthy fast food company and labored over minor decisions, even having his kids taste-test menu items and share ideas on logos. “I’m not sure anybody was happy there,” the person said. “Except Brad.”
The person said they attended holiday parties at the Palmers’ mansion and met Hadley when she visited the office with their kids. “She seemed nice,” the employee said. “And I have to tell you, compared to Brad, she seemed nice and normal. Who knew?”
Two former neighbors told The Daily Beast that they strongly believed the mom was “taking the fall” for someone else.
One neighbor said they’re “happy she’s out” of prison and would even trust Hadley with her children. “She’s not a bad person,” they said.
“I was extremely surprised and I assumed she was taking the fall for somebody,” another neighbor said. “I can’t imagine her doing that.”
“Everybody’s talking about it wondering what the story is, and I don’t know if we’ll ever get the real story.”
‘It Was All Parties With Kids’
Around the time Hadley began surreptitiously filming minors at her Victorian mansion overlooking the Long Island Sound, she was reveling in Greenwich’s society circuit.
There was the “Summer of Love 1967” themed gala for a local cinema in January 2017, when Hadley and Brad donned flower-power costumes, gripping wine glasses and beaming for the party’s photographer. Then came a brain cancer nonprofit’s “Field Day” fundraiser, where guests played ping pong and took swings in batting cages. That March evening, Hadley posed for the camera in a New York Jets tee.
One parent whose kids went to school with the Palmers’ children said that Hadley was “generally a very nice quiet person” and had a “low key personality,” and that Brad was “an incredibly outgoing guy” and “a yin to her yang.”
“He’s very outgoing,” the person added. “Basically, the opposite of the way she is. He always encouraged her to go to events and get out there and see people, where I kind of get the feeling she would have rather stayed home.”
But from the perspective of one person who knew the couple, their relationship appeared to be one not of romance but convenience. The acquaintance told The Daily Beast that they would often book separate flights while traveling to the same destination.
One former employee told The Daily Beast that their bond “didn’t seem warm and fuzzy.” Brad, however, would reference Hadley’s opinions on aspects of one Palm Ventures portfolio company’s products and marketing.
“She always seemed to be in and out of the office and seemed kind of huffy,” the person said. “There was a transactional sort of aura about their relationship somehow.”
For years, the couple kept properties in Greenwich, North Palm Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, and London, where they lived abroad for several years in a home on Cavendish Avenue across from Beatles legend Paul McCartney. According to two sources with knowledge of the family’s U.K. home base, Brad went to the same gym as the rockstar and had socialized with him. “We are still enjoying living in London with four kids at the American School in London. We are doing a lot of adventure travel over here,” Brad wrote in the February 2012 alumni notes for his elite boarding school Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. “We will be on Martha’s Vineyard this July and August in case anyone is going to be up there.”
According to a spokesman for Brad, the family moved to the U.K. around 2010 as part of his volunteer work with Save the Children; executives with the organization nominated him to negotiate the merger of 15 national outposts of the group into one international entity based in London. “Mr. Palmer moved with his family to London to undertake this difficult volunteer mission which he and his two colleagues completed successfully in just over two years,” the rep said, claiming that Brad helped to save the nonprofit “tens of millions of dollars on redundant overheads and become the efficient $3 billion global organization it is today.”
By 2015, the couple appeared to spend more time in Edgartown, a seaport village on the Vineyard, hosting a gathering in support of a project to bring the heath hen back from extinction, and running Brad’s historic hotel, Kelley House, which he sold in October 2020. “As owner of Kelley House, I do encourage creative ideas over there,” Brad told the Vineyard Gazette of a photo gallery he opened in the lobby, adding that he and his wife were photography lovers.
And in spring of 2017, local building records show, the couple was preparing to renovate their new mansion in Belle Haven, an exclusive gated community in Greenwich that counted Diana Ross and financier Paul Tudor Jones as residents. The affluent neighborhood was also the site of another high-profile crime: the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975. Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedys, was found guilty of bludgeoning Moxley to death but saw his conviction overturned in 2018.
The Palmers’ seven-bedroom home included a solarium, roof garden, walled gardens, and a carriage house, and according to some locals, at one point allegedly became infamous as a teen party house that spread COVID in summer of 2020.
One neighbor told The Daily Beast that Hadley seemed “very polished and well traveled” and once said that her family moved from Old Greenwich to Belle Haven because “that’s where we feel our peeps are.” The person wondered whether Hadley had many female friends her own age and found it odd that she allowed her kids to have house parties.
“That’s the thing with these rich people: They’re all miserable.”
“It wasn’t parties with adults really, it was all parties with kids,” the person said, adding that after the alleged COVID bash, members of the Belle Haven Club “were really upset because it was in really bad taste to be condoning a party like that.” (According to the resident, Hadley and her husband were thrown out of the club due to her felony charge. The club’s manager did not return messages left by The Daily Beast, and Brad declined to comment.)
Police records show neighbors called police over noise at another $3-million Palmer mansion in Old Greenwich. In December 2017, a neighbor called cops about a “loud barking dog” and said he knocked on the door and emailed the owner to no avail. In a report, an officer noted “all was quiet in the neighborhood.”
According to records obtained in a public records request, Hadley told the officer her dogs were outside for only a few minutes and were let back in when one of them barked. “She exclaimed that the neighbor is strongly against dogs and seemingly calls every time one walks passed [sic] his property,” the document states.
Cops were called to the home again in July 2018, after someone reported a “loud party” where there were “possibly youths drinking.” When cops showed up, however, they said they didn’t hear anything or see anyone outside.
Five months later, officers responded to a party so wild that it made local news—this time, at the Palmers’ residence in Martha’s Vineyard and involving a booze-fueled vandalism spree that destroyed town lampposts, fences, porch rails, antique windows, Christmas lights, flower pots, and at least one glass door at neighboring homes.
Edgartown police said that the Palmers’ 16-year-old daughter threw the bash with 15 friends who flew in on a chartered jet and were staying at her parents’ house. One homeowner impacted by the vandalism told the AP: “It makes us think that in Greenwich, Connecticut children are not taught any responsibility or manners. And what do the parents do? They take care of you and take you home on a private jet.”
“I guess the house was full of booze and 20, 25 kids, and my kid ended up taking the fall.”
She equated the episode to “Brett Kavanaugh syndrome,” referring to accusations that the Supreme Court judge, as a wealthy prep student, assaulted a girl at a party. “It’s the same thing: rich kids behaving inappropriately and getting away with it. They are not held accountable.”
A police report obtained by The Daily Beast states that cops began surveying the area around 7 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2018, and when they reached the Palmer residence, found the garage door open and a back screen door damaged. One officer peered inside and spotted bottles of liquor, solo cups and beer bottles strewn about the kitchen. The living room furniture was turned over. After the chief announced “police” several times, the daughter came downstairs and identified two male partygoers who were allegedly responsible for the trail of destruction.
One suspect told police that the teenage group arrived on the island at 5 p.m. the day before and that alcohol was already there upon their arrival. He claimed the guests drank all night, and that at 5 a.m., he and his alleged accomplice prowled through town smashing property. Edgartown police arrested both young men in connection to the episode. As for the rest of the partygoers, one officer noted in a report: “All parents contacted were fine with their child leaving via a private airplane.”
The police document stated that Brad Palmer sent a Kelley House employee to the residence and “arranged for her to feed the kids the night before and to ‘check in’ on them.” The document added that the staffer “was surprised at the condition of the residence and immediately told the youths to start cleaning [the] interior.”
Brad’s spokesperson told The Daily Beast that he “did not know until 5:30 p.m. that day that a group of more than 10 kids along with his teenager had traveled up to the Vineyard house.” Because of a storm, the person added, ferry service to the Vineyard was canceled and he “could not travel there to oversee the kids.”
“He immediately called a reliable employee at the Kelley House Hotel who he knew well and asked her to check in on the kids multiple times during the evening,” the representative continued, adding that she checked on the teens several times and reported they seemed to be sleeping at 11:30 p.m. “Unfortunately, two boys (not in his family) who Mr. Palmer was told crashed the party (i.e. they were not invited), were drinking heavily and at 2 a.m. in the morning were reported breaking fences and throwing rocks through some neighboring windows,” the spokesperson said. “Mr. Palmer was also told the two boys were arrested the following morning.”
Commenters were seething over the damage on the Vineyard Gazette’s website and elsewhere online. “Incidents such as these can help explain why the less fortunate and the country’s innumerable ‘undesirables’ hold the rich and privileged in contempt,” one person wrote.
Another commenter claimed that they were the cab driver that took the large group to the Palmers’ property. “As a former police officer my instincts were that they were all there just to party ‘for one girls birthday,’” the commenter wrote. “I should have told the police what I thought was happening. Perhaps the vandalism could have been avoided.”
A parent of one of the arrested partygoers told The Daily Beast that the shindig was unsupervised except for the presence of a nanny and the result of “typical non-responsible parents.” The person added, “I guess the house was full of booze and 20, 25 kids, and my kid ended up taking the fall.”
“As you can see, not the best parents and obviously, guy had a lot of money and it was party house in Greenwich as I understand it for years,” the parent added of Brad.
Asked about the venture capitalist and his soon-to-be ex-wife, the person said, “He’s a buffoon, and she speaks for herself.”
It wasn’t the first time cops responded to the Palmers’ getaway.
In August 2015, a police report shows, officers responded to “approximately 15-20 young individuals talking and listening to music very loudly.” The report alleged the group was “consuming a variety of different alcoholic beverages including hard liquor, beer and wine.” About five others “were smoking a substance consistent with marijuana.”
Once cops arrived, four or five teens grabbed backpacks and fled out a window. At some point, police made contact with Hadley Palmer, who claimed she didn’t know what was happening at her home. “I then informed her that she would be charged criminally under Massachusetts’ Social Host Law,” an officer noted. “She stated she understood.”
The police department returned the next morning after a neighbor discovered an 18-year-old partygoer had broken into her home and was sleeping on a couch. The report states the teen was so intoxicated, he mistook a neighbor’s home for the Palmer house.
“He informed officers that he was at the Palmer’s [sic] residence the night before,” the police report says. “He informed officers that Hadley got mad after officers left and kicked him out of the house.”
Hadley appeared to have an especially friendly bond with her kids’ friends. She was captured giving her daughter bunny ears in a photo of the girl and her friend that was posted on Facebook in 2013. They appeared to be sitting on the water in Martha’s Vineyard.
“Hadley….” one teenage acquaintance posted. A second buddy of her children chimed in with another ambiguous comment: “Hadley that dog.”