Since we published our story about the hipster grifter Kari Ferrell yesterday, the Internet has been buzzing with information, speculation and sightings. Gothamist reported she’d been spotted Friday night at the Alligator Lounge in Williamsburg. Vice got an email from someone saying they’d seen her on Saturday in Dumbo. And when we spoke to Sergeant Fred Ross, of the Salt Lake City Police Department, earlier today, he told us that he’d gotten a report yesterday that Ms. Ferrell was spotted walking toward the Park Slope Food Co-Op. Perhaps she’s a member?
She has also surfaced on the Internet. We were forwarded an email she sent at 3 this morning to a well-wisher:
Hello. I really appreciate the message that you sent. Surprisingly enough, all of the emails that I have received have been in the same vein. Makes me feel SLIGHTLY less of a terrible human being.
Yes, I made mistakes and yes, I hurt people who cared for me (and vice versa). However, I have made amends with most of those individuals, and have attempted to rectify my poor decisions by paying them back. I know that it is neither here nor there, but what the article didn’t mention is that I haven’t done anything of that nature for years. I understand that that, in no way, justifies what I did … but I definitely recognize that what I did was really REALLY shitty, and like to think that I have learned from my mistakes.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to barrage you with my…whatever the fuck those preceeding paragraphs are…my sincere apologies.
Thank you, again, for your kind words.
We spoke to one of her former friends, 22-year-old Jodi Bullock, who yesterday posted an account on her blog of her experiences with Ms. Ferrell, for more details of their friendship.
Ms. Bullock said she was first contacted by Ms. Ferrell on MySpace sometime in 2005. The two emailed sporadically until 2008, when Ms. Ferrell told Ms. Bullock she was moving to New York. “She emailed and said, ‘Hey, I’m moving to New York, do you have any advice?’ I told her about neighborhoods and where she might look for a job. Then she told me she already had a job, which was why she was moving,” said Ms. Bullock.
According to Ms. Bullock, Ms. Ferrell told friends she had a job working for the West Coast concert promotion company GoldenVoice, in their New York office. Which, it should be said, does not exist.
“There was always confusion as to where the GoldenVoice office was. She would tell me it was in SoHo. Then she would say, it’s in Crown Heights. But I think that was just a plot to stay over at my friend’s house. She would stay there for days at a time and he wouldn’t have the balls to tell her to leave. She’d say, my office is close to here, can I stay over? Where her office was depended on what was convenient to her.”
Ms. Bullock continued: “She would be on g-chat all day and would invent all these errands she had to run. It kind of amazes me how detailed she was with it. One day she was like, I saw the cutest guy ever outside my work. He was riding on a skateboard, and he was holding a suitcase, and he was the hottest guy I’d ever seen.
“No one ever met her co-workers. Through me, she became friends with my friend Whitney. She told Whitney, ‘I was on MySpace today and this guy I work with saw your profile and wants to meet you! We’re going to be at this show tonight, do you want to meet him tonight?’ Whitney was like, yeah, sure, great. They get to the show and she points to this guy. She’s like, that’s him. Kari goes and talks to this guy and points at Whitney. The guy didn’t seem to know [Kari]. It seemed as if she was just going up to this random guy and saying, here’s my friend who likes you. The night goes on and the guy eventually talks to Whitney but he had no idea who Kari was. She was like, you work with Kari? And he was like, no. When Whitney confronted Kari later, she was like, he was just joking, that’s our joke, we work together.
“She was always promising someone something, or having something to offer.”
(Ms. Bullock also said that she witnessed Ms. Ferrell send another one of her infamous “I want to give you a handjob with my mouth” notes to a barback at Beauty Bar in early October.)
You’ll recall yesterday we reported that in Salt Lake City, Ms. Ferrell repeatedly scammed friends and acquaintances through a rather simplistic check fraud scheme, in which she would tell her friends that her account, in which she had thousands of dollars, was frozen due to fraud, and would they mind depositing these checks for her in their account and giving her the money? We weren’t sure whether Ms. Ferrell had tried the same scam in New York, but Ms. Bullock assured us that she had.
“Pretty early on, after meeting her, she told us there had been some kind of fraud in her bank account in Salt Lake City. Someone had stolen her identity. She had all this money in this account but she couldn’t get it out because it was under investigation. At one point she logged into her account on my computer and she had all this money in her account, like $3,000, and it said, ‘Account frozen.’ I believed that someone had stolen her identity. From then on she’d always say, ‘I don’t have any money,’ and people would buy her dinner and things. Then she said, I have this tax rebate check I need the money from, but I can’t deposit it in my account because it’s frozen. Will you deposit it and just give me the money? I’ll wait until it clears, your bank will tell you if it’s fake, and you can just give me the money.”
Ms. Bullock said she immediately felt uncomfortable about Ms. Ferrell’s proposal. Ms. Bullock told Ms. Farrell that her bank would only allow her to take a large amount of money out right away if she had that amount of money in her account to begin with. So, Ms. Bullock said, Ms. Ferrell moved on to two of her friends. One of them told her no right away. The other eventually said he would do it, but on the day they were supposed to meet at the bank, got cold feet. “She kept bugging him to do it, and he finally said, I don’t feel comfortable doing it. She would whip out the check every now and then—at brunch she would rifle through her wallet and say, this is that check. I didn’t get a close look, but it just looked like a normal check”—not, Ms. Bullock clarified, one from the IRS.
After Ms. Ferrell told the group she had cancer, she would disappear periodically, telling them she was in the hospital. One day Ms. Bullock got a text saying Ms. Ferrell was in the hospital and was going to have surgery. Later that day, Ms. Bullock got another text from her that said, “Hey do you want to hang out later?”
“I was like, aren’t you having surgery today? And she said, oh no, it got canceled. So I was talking to my friend, and I was like what the hell, one minute she’s having surgery and the next it’s canceled, and then she wants to hang out? Then she told my other friend that she had had the surgery, and it was fine, and she was done for the day and she wanted to go dance.” Ms. Bullock soon confronted Ms. Ferrell, and she and her friends stopped hanging out with her.
Last month. Ms. Ferrell contacted Amanda Ferri, a blogger and production manager at CollegeHumor, out of the blue. Her first email read:
If you are looking for a girl that will let you throw your proverbial hot dog down her hallway, while simultaneously singing theme songs from nationally syndicated television programs of the late 70′s and early 80′s, then you’re in luck!
Also, it helps if you like run-on sentences, because apparently I use them somewhat frequently.
I can haz friendship?
The two exchanged several more emails after that. On March 29, over a week after she’d been fired from Vice, Ms. Ferrell wrote to Ms. Ferri: “I work for Vice magazine, being an all-around bitch (events coordinator/assistant publisher)… When are you available? I took this next week off, so let me know if yer free.”
The day before, she’d told Ms. Ferri she’d gone to South by Southwest and was laid up in the hospital for a week afterwards with a gall bladder infection.
We also heard from someone who encountered Ms. Ferrell in Philadelphia:
“A few months ago, my then-BF told me this Asian girl named Kari with terminal cancer was hanging around his group house in South Philly. A few of the roommates are in this band that plays in Williamsburg a lot. I assume that’s where they met her. He told me she lived in NY but had come to visit Philly a few times and stayed at the house (the house has many transient guests) and it appeared she was getting her kicks while she still had time. He thinks that she slept with a couple of his roommates. And she tried to sleep with him while we were still together- there was a party at the house, I wasn’t there, and she attempted to stick her hand down his pants but they were too tight. He told me that he turned her down. (Let’s hope so!) We had a few conversations about her sad situation, and wondered what would WE do if we were terminal? Would we be traveling between Philly and NYC in order to sleep with band guys? I wouldn’t.”
The email from our Philadelphia correspondent continues: “Then about a month ago his roommates told him that they found out she was lying about the cancer, and that she was wanted in Utah. We didn’t know her last name at the time so we couldn’t look it up.”
Her former roommate Alex Grubard did know her last name—but was unable to get the police to do anything. “We found her wanted poster the night of the Super Bowl,” Mr. Grubard wrote in an email to The Observer. “We called the SLCPD and they said they weren’t going to do anything, but we should kick her out immediately. Tried to get ahold of her, but by that point she was sleeping in Greenpoint every night and hadn’t slept at our apartment for weeks.”
That account dovetails with the account of a source at Vice, who told me that after the magazine staff found out who she was, they contacted police in Salt Lake City, who told them they were powerless to do anything about Ms. Ferrell without an extradition order. However, now that an extradition order has been approved, she can be arrested in any state and extradited back to Utah. Mr. Ross, of the Salt Lake City police, said that if anyone does see her—in New York or Philadelphia—they should contact their local precinct. Calling the Salt Lake City police is helpful, but, as Mr. Ross said, “We’re not going to come out there and just start chasing her around New York.”