Dawn DaLuise’s list of celebrity clients featured the Who’s Who of the entertainment industry, including Jennifer Aniston and Nicki Minaj.
In a Los Angeles market where looks are everything, the self-proclaimed skin-care guru to the stars relished her title and guarded it zealously.
So much so that when aesthetician Gabriel Suarez set up shop in the same building as hers, tension ensued, authorities said. Tension that led, police say, to a bizarre plot.
DaLuise owned Skin Refinery in West Hollywood, which provided skin care products and treatments. She was arrested in March after she allegedly wanted to have Suarez, whom she considered a competitor, killed.
“I came in and I said ‘Can I help you?’ because she was in my office. And she said, ‘Oh good, a Mexican that speaks English.’ And that hurt,” Suarez said. “She wanted me out of the building.”
The rivalry created by his new beauty salon called Smooth Cheeks morphed into a crime thriller filled with one twist after another. It had all the bizarre elements of a Hollywood shocker: sex solicitations, an alleged plot to kill and betrayal.
Convinced that Suarez was not only ruining her popularity — but that he was also allegedly posting raunchy Craigslist ads claiming she was seeking a man to fulfill her sexual fantasies — DaLuise tried to hire a hit man to kill him, detectives said.
“The phrase was, at that point, in essence, to find somebody to take out a double-minority Mexican gay,” said Steve McCauley of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
But Suarez said he had nothing to do with the cyber postings.
In a wild case of betrayal, it later came to light that it wasn’t Suarez posting the Craigslist ads. Authorities said it was DaLuise’s good friend, Edward Feinstein, who now faces charges in a separate prosecution.
Her friend was creating drama so he could be the one who stepped in and saved her, Alexis Tereszcuk of Radar Online told HLN earlier this year. The online entertainment magazine broke most of the developments in the story.
Police said Feinstein, who was their informant, is also linked to the case in other ways. He is also the man DaLuise texted to tell that she hired a hit man to take out her business rival.
Her text to Feinstein read: “I found someone who is going to take Gabriel out. His name is Chris Geile, and he’s an ex-Detroit Lion quarterback,” prosecutors said.
But DaLuise’s lawyer said that it was not a plot to kill.
“You will see that she was venting to family, she was venting to friends,” said Jamon Hicks, her attorney. “This was not a case she was trying to solicit someone to murder.”
Geile said the accusation stunned him because he hardly knew DaLuise and had only met her briefly at a pub in Big Bear, California.
“I want to clear my name because the mental anguish I’ve suffered is far more than any football injury I’ve ever had,” Geile said.
DaLuise has pleaded not guilty and says she wants to clear her name as well.
“She’s the victim of a stalker who posted fake Craigslist ads claiming she had a rape fantasy,” Hicks said.
DaLuise will be arraigned Monday on solicitation of murder charges. Her attorney says she plans to plead not guilty again.