She says now that she signed the second statement because he told her it was the only way he would continue to help her get her green card, for which he was her sponsor. Without a green card, Elena could have been sent back to Ukraine, but she likely could not have taken their children because they are U.S. citizens.
¨I protected him to an extent. He was making a face like he´s a good family man.¨
Today, however, she says that her second sworn statement is untrue and that she stands by her original affidavit -- she has no doubt that Linda is telling the truth about the incestuous relationship between father and daughter.
After Elena signed her statement denying the incest, however, McMahan dropped his divorce action, and the couple reconciled at least long enough so that Elena agreed with his request not to speak with New Times when we called asking about her affidavit.
When ¨Daddy´s Girl¨ went to print and during the weeks of settlement discussions as McMahan tried to have the various lawsuits sealed, Elena says, he asked her to go to Ukraine -- probably, she suspects, to keep her from being questioned about the story or from being subpoenaed during the settlement talks.
Their reconciliation was short-lived. Since news about McMahan and the lawsuits broke last fall, their relationship has deteriorated, and now Elena says she´s a prisoner in McMahan´s big house.
Driving toward Pelham in her light-blue Lexus SUV, Elena points out the gilded, framed saints on her dash, Nicholas, Peter, and Paul.
¨They protect me from the troubles. He´s in a war, and he´s using his own kids. In their claims, it´s always about the money. I said to him many times, he has no heart; he has a dollar. He said there´s nothing for him to do with business in America after the story came out. In Dubai, people do not care, but in America and in Europe, they don´t want to do business with him anymore.¨
She´s an unusually cautious driver, stopping for yellow lights that others would hit the gas to blow through, signaling carefully for the simplest lane change. After an hour´s drive, she pulls slowly into the half-moon driveway at McMahan´s two-story brick house in the Tudor style. She parks near the older Bentley sedan in front of the home´s big wooden door. Elena is afraid that the five German shepherds have gotten loose, and she asks a house worker to put them into the basement.
Vladimir hops onto a bicycle. Elizabeth asks for a cookie.
The dark wooden paneling in the foyer makes it seem even darker than it actually is, but there´s an orange glow coming from a stained-glass window. Through glass doors, there´s a glimpse of the sweeping tracts that make up the four-acre estate, which includes elaborate gardens, a pond with ducks, and a playground for the children.
On a table in the entryway are photos of McMahan alone and with his daughter Heather. A humidor holds a plentiful supply of hand-rolled cigars.
In a room off the right of the foyer, two grand pianos can be seen through double doors. On the other side is a sunroom with a large swing and a sideboard with a photo of Linda. It´s also where Elena keeps her dried and silk flowers for arrangements and a few peacock feathers. She and her children live in a few rooms that seem obviously to have been intended by the home´s builders as accommodations for live-in staff. She points out that, for all of the home´s luxury, she´s actually denied access to its main wing, which is up a grand staircase and behind a locked door.
¨I am here like a guest. I cannot move. I cannot touch anything. If the kids break something, he makes me pay for it.¨
Because McMahan keeps his wife locked out of the home´s main wing, she can´t show us the study and bedroom where, Linda testified, he seduced her by showing her the first half-hour of the movie Braveheart and wondering if the two of them had been married in past lives.
Restricted to her wing of the house, Elena has installed a playroom for the children in what used to be a breakfast nook overlooking the estate grounds. It contains a television and a mountain of children´s movies -- in English and Russian. She keeps to her side of the mansion, and she and McMahan rarely talk.