A Stranger In the House of Ayer

To those who met him, Jack Doorly was every bit the Brahmin scion. That he wasn’t didn’t stop him from indulging in a fabulous life allegedly financed by siphoning nearly $60 million from the North Shore fortune he was entrusted to protect. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re in charge of the money.

The offices of Essex Street Associates are tucked deep into a stand of pine woods in Beverly, in a compact building hidden from the view of motorists speeding along nearby Route 128. It’s a humble headquarters for a company with a rarefied purpose: managing the estate of the late Frederick Ayer, who made his name a century ago as Boston’s most flamboyant multimillionaire.

When Ayer died in 1918, at the age of 95, the Boston Globe described him as New England’s richest man, and the New York Times sketched his rise from a poor shopkeeper to a titan of industry. Neither paper mentioned what Ayer, a fastidious planner (late in life, he took to stowing a bronze coffin in the boxcar of his train, lest his family be troubled by what to do with his remains should he expire en route), had left behind for his family: namely, a fortune of nearly $20 million—the equivalent of $300 million today—and the expectation that it be protected. With that dictate in mind, two of Ayer’s sons placed their inheritance into an investment trust, hoping that, untouched, it would secure the financial future of generations of Ayers.

By last year, the value of that trust had grown to $600 million, and an outsider named Jack Doorly stood watch over all of it. A tall man, thick through the middle and balding on top, Doorly, 56, had worked for the Ayers for most of his professional life, climbing from a position as an entry-level computer operator to president of Essex Street. He oversaw a 10-person team of investment professionals, tax experts, and support staff managing some 300 trust accounts for more than 100 family members scattered around the country. Some had tens of thousands of dollars in Doorly’s care; others, tens of millions.

The details of the family’s investments in government bonds, home mortgages, and real estate crossed Doorly’s desk every day. He tracked debits and credits to the trust accounts on his computer. But he also kept records of his own. A handwritten ledger listed money he had given to his friends and family. There were also documents detailing purchases and projects that the Ayers say they never knew about—things like a Back Bay condo and a Gulfstream jet.

On March 21, 2006, Doorly was at his desk by 7 a.m., the sort of early start that had long been his habit. But this morning felt different. His boss, family member Caleb Loring III, had scheduled a meeting with him and explained that Jamie Totten, a great-grandson of Frederick Ayer and a member of the company’s board, would be joining them. This struck Doorly as unusual. As he walked into a conference room at 9:30, he got another surprise. An attorney had driven up from Boston to sit in on the session.

Unbeknown to Doorly, the lawyer had spent the previous day in Suffolk Superior Court filing a civil suit that alleged Doorly had looted $7 million from the Ayer fortune. In the weeks and months to come, that estimate would swell, as would the acrimony. The Ayers’ voluminous suit—which drags in more than a dozen people Doorly gave or loaned money to—claims that he spent more than a decade spinning elaborate schemes to defraud the family. Doorly declined comment for this piece, but maintains through his attorney that he had been using the money to make loans and other investments that would benefit the Ayers, transactions that were within his authority and never hidden from them. Though criminal charges have not been filed, the Ayers now claim Doorly robbed them of $58.2 million—a number that dwarfs the state’s largest embezzlement case by more than $50 million.

Doorly sat down in the conference room and Loring began peppering him with questions. After about 15 minutes, Loring fired Doorly, and a copy of the legal complaint was thrust into Doorly’s hands. He was given a minute to gather his coat and his briefcase before a large man he’d never seen before escorted him to his car.

His head reeling, Doorly pulled his Cadillac Escalade out of Essex Street’s driveway and started dialing his cell phone, trying to manage the pieces of a secret life that was starting to emerge. His first call was to his mistress, Sarah Hunt (a former Ayer family employee herself), who had been named in the suit as a beneficiary of his stolen money. She couldn’t believe that Doorly had been fired. Neither could Peter Broom, the guy who serviced his jet down in Florida. When Doorly reached him, it was to tell Broom not to contact him through his Essex Street e-mail address. Broom was puzzled by the instructions: He’d always assumed that Doorly was Essex Street, that the vast fortune was his own. It was a common misconception among those in Doorly’s circle, one that he worked hard to cultivate—one that he himself might even have come to believe.


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Equal to the mystery of how Jack Doorly could allegedly help himself to $58 million is the question of how the Ayer family could fail to notice for so long. After the scandal broke, Caleb Loring III, the family liaison in Essex Street’s office, drew the difficult task of explaining what had gone wrong to his relatives. It was a rare and uncomfortable digression on a path that had been essentially laid out for him at birth. Raised in Belmont and Beverly, Loring earned his college degree and a master’s in business administration from Dartmouth. During Vietnam, he worked for the CIA. Later, he went to work at Bank of Boston, rising over 10 years to become a vice president of commercial lending. When he joined Essex Street in 1982, he followed two generations of family members handpicked to manage the clan’s fortune.

Jack Doorly’s climb to Essex Street was decidedly steeper. He was raised in Lynn by blue-collar parents who struggled to afford his tuition at St. Mary’s, a small Catholic school for boys. Captain of the hockey team, he was effortlessly popular and impressed those around him with his ambition. In 1967, his senior year, his classmates elected him their president.

Doorly enrolled at Salem State College, but was impatient to start working and dropped out before graduation. He found a job in the accounting department at Tucker Anthony Management Company in Boston. A partner there, Gilbert Steward, also happened to be an Ayer family member. In 1973, two months after his wedding, the 24-year-old Doorly joined the Ayers’ company, then located in Winthrop Square in Boston. His duties were modest. One involved converting the office’s accounting system to computer, painstakingly entering figures from countless checkbooks and ledgers. Though grinding, the chore left him with an intimate understanding of every aspect of the family’s holdings.

In 1984, Loring and the family decided to relocate Essex Street to Beverly, closer to where some of the Ayers who managed the operation lived. Doorly claims a family member was supposed to lead the project, but no one showed much interest. So he stepped in, hired an architect, oversaw construction of the new office building, and coordinated the move. The task satisfied his considerable drive, but Doorly couldn’t shake the feeling that his contributions weren’t sufficiently appreciated. “Thus began my work for the company that far exceeded my responsibilities to it,” he’d write later.

Though the seeds of resentment had been planted, Doorly nonetheless continued to impress the family. He and Loring were appointed partners in the trust company on the same day in 1
989. And as Doorly’s standing in the company grew over the next decade, so did his eagerness to see it make more money.

For decades, the family had settled for modest returns on nearly risk-free investments like government bonds. Doorly convinced them to branch out. They bought a New Hampshire car dealership in 1994 and a Leominster strip mall. Among their most successful investments was the $20.5 million they spent developing three assisted-living facilities. When construction troubles threatened the project, Doorly fired the contractor. The move showed his ability to take charge, but it also gave him an opening to launch his own company, Orbit Construction, to take over the work, installing his nephew as manager. Doorly took the name from another investment he’d made with family money: a stake in Orbit Sports Marketing, a Florida company that managed charity golf tournaments for clients like Michael Jordan and Fidelity.

As Doorly’s successes mounted, the Ayer family’s presence in the office diminished. Neil Ayer, a notable North Shore equestrian, retired, and another relative, David Ayer, left to run a northern Michigan timber firm established by Frederick Ayer himself. Loring, Doorly claims, was often out of the office focusing on his work for corporate boards, such as Fidelity’s, and his philanthropic interests, including the Episcopal Church and the Beverly Historical Society.

Doorly picked up the slack, overseeing a new staff built from outside the family. An amendment to the trust documents further consolidated Doorly’s power and brought him deeper into the family’s inner circle than anyone who wasn’t blood had ever gone. It gave him the ability to write checks and start businesses for the family without having to seek their permission—a sweeping degree of latitude that put at risk everything Frederick Ayer had sought to protect.


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To grow and keep watch over their father’s fortune, Frederick Ayer’s sons made use of a distinctly Bostonian institution: the family trust. Used to safeguard assets, a trust creates a sort of wall between beneficiaries and their money. Post-colonial ship captains often left control of their estates in the hands of faithful advisers, a local practice that foreshadowed the first American trust company setting up shop in Boston in 1893. Over the next half-century, trusts were woven into the fabric of the city, a fact that Time magazine noted in 1936, shortly after the Ayers established theirs: “A Bostonian who is not either a beneficiary or a trustee of at least one personal trust fund is liable to find himself at a distinct social disadvantage.”

Social disadvantage was long a bugbear for Frederick Ayer. His father died in 1829, when Frederick was seven, and money was tight throughout his childhood. As a young man, he was more focused on getting to work than getting an education. After some time as a shopkeeper, he joined his brother’s patent medicine business in 1855. Medicinal elixirs purported to be cure-alls—and like any miracle in a bottle, they were big sellers. Out of a factory in Lowell, the brothers eventually turned out some 630,000 doses a day in varieties that claimed to fight everything from baldness to whooping cough (part of their popularity no doubt owed to the cocaine in some recipes). Before long, they diversified into textile mills. In 1878, Ayer’s wife and brother both died. He threw himself headlong into his work, eventually growing his operation into the largest textile business in the world.

With his staggering fortune secure, Ayer spent the second half of his life trying to scrub away any sign of his modest beginnings. But he found New England’s Brahmin circle tough to penetrate. In his sixties, he wed a socialite some 30 years his junior and moved from Lowell to Boston, where he hired Louis Comfort Tiffany to design their new Back Bay home. Intended to announce the Ayers’ entry into polite society, the Commonwealth Avenue mansion was not well received. Its pink granite exterior and oily art glass looked garish to the Yankee neighbors, who inside would have found a foyer decorated with gold leaf, marble, and a 7-foot-long stuffed jaguar.

In 1905, the Ayers purchased a sprawling summer estate in Pride’s Crossing, naming it Avalon. Initially, they had trouble fitting in on the North Shore, as well. Their property neighbored the estate of the Lorings, who had helped establish the area as an aristocratic enclave 50 years earlier. Loring family members included a Civil War general who became director of the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the judge who replaced Oliver Wendell Holmes on the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Though the Ayer progeny married well—a young Army lieutenant named George Patton proposed to an Ayer daughter in the crushed-velour library of the Boston mansion in 1910—the family’s social standing wasn’t cemented until 1943, when an Ayer granddaughter married Caleb Loring Jr., the father of Doorly’s boss.

The Ayers might also have thought the union between the two families could help safeguard their fortune. The Lorings, after all, had been wealth management experts since the advent of trust law in this country. Augustus P. Loring published one of the earliest textbooks on the subject in 1898, and the family’s financial acumen kept them entrenched among the area’s business elite for decades. The elder Caleb Loring served as a top executive and loyal confidant for Fidelity’s billionaire owners, the Johnsons, and remains to this day one of the city’s most active philanthropists. (It was at a charity event for the USS Constitution that he tasted his first slice of pizza. “So,” he said, holding it up for inspection. “This is pizza.”)

The wealth that kept generations of Ayer descendants insulated from the workaday world also bred in some a measure of shame about the déclassé provenance of their fortune. That is, if they knew of its origins at all. A young Ayer once asked her Victorian aunt where their wealth came from, only to be rebuffed. “We will not speak of it,” she was told. That the Ayers had money, and always would, was all that mattered. “Americans who were rich enough to live in Pride’s Crossing liked to have money,” says a family member today. “But they didn’t like to contemplate where it came from.”


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As Jack Doorly’s stature within the Essex Street office grew in the 1990s, his spending habits began to match those of a man who had made his way in business. An avid golfer with a single-digit handicap, he spent his weekends on the links. He and his wife eventually bought more than five acres in Topsfield and built themselves a million-dollar dream house. In its garage they parked a Jaguar and two Cadillac SUVs.

Still, Doorly’s frustration with the conservative management of the fortune continued to simmer. And with the power he was amassing in the office, he saw opportunity to take increasingly large gambles that he hoped might pay off big for the family. He sank $2 million in a pair of dot-com companies that went bust, and invested close to $6 million in a Georgia turf company—it was rumored the owner had a membership at the Augusta National Golf Club, where Doorly desperately wanted to play—setting himself up as chairman. When his investments failed, he subdivided his losses into smaller amounts and distributed them among several family trusts. And, according to the suit against Doorly, when he won on a stock, he parceled out most of the gains among his personal accounts. One such successful bet was on a tech company called Saflink, which produces security products, like fingerprint readers, that help companies verify the identity and mo
nitor the activity of their employees. That move netted a $4.5 million windfall.

By early 2002, Doorly knew the family had about $60 million in cash sitting in bank accounts drawing a paltry interest rate. He was sure he could put the money to better use and drafted a memo suggesting an investment fund for things like mortgages to family members who could borrow against their own chunk of the Ayer fortune. The idea was low-risk and low-profile enough to appeal to Caleb Loring, who agreed to put about $18 million into the fund and turn it over to Doorly as his pet project. Doorly eventually grew its value to $28 million. But along the way, the family alleges, he quietly helped himself to $15.5 million. Of that money, Doorly handed out millions of dollars in mortgages and business loans, lending to his lawyer, his golf partner, his personal trainer, and relatives. When terms were especially plum, or the paperwork especially thin, Doorly told himself that his benevolence was no different than what the Ayers showed their own family.

Doorly had demonstrated his aptitude for real estate investing with the three assisted-living facilities. So when he suggested developing a fourth in Durham, New Hampshire, Loring agreed to allocate $6.1 million to buy the land. But Loring says in court documents that what Doorly didn’t explain was that Orbit Construction (which the Ayers had no idea they’d launched) had bought the property in Durham 10 months earlier using money Doorly had withdrawn from family accounts. Doorly then allegedly used nearly $3 million of Loring’s cash to balance out the accounts he had previously drawn from—and when he happily reported to the Ayer family that the facility was finished, he left out the fact that he retained the title. It was a strategy the family claims he’d employ to similar effect more than once, buying out their interest in the Leominster strip mall and the New Hampshire car dealership by using their own money.

With so much in motion, Doorly was working 70-hour weeks, and the stress was catching up to him. In 2002, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery, which kept him out of the office for several months. The health scare forced Doorly to reevaluate his priorities. He apparently resolved to enjoy life more.

Doorly already belonged to at least three country clubs, including the TPC of Boston, which costs about $60,000 to join. An acquaintance says he tried to become a member of the North Shore’s Myopia club, a Brahmin stronghold, only to be turned away. He decided to spend his money elsewhere. Doorly started a holding company and used it to make his most audacious purchase: a 22-seat Gulfstream jet, for about $3 million. Borrowing the initials of his son, Adam Paul, he had “AP Enterprises” stenciled on the tail. The jet was ostensibly bought for his newest Florida company—another sports marketing firm, this one named All Access—but Doorly made frequent use of it to indulge his taste for gambling in Las Vegas and golf in Florida. Adam, now installed at All Access, seemed especially smitten with the kind of lifestyle the jet represented. When Doorly’s partner in the Florida venture, Peter Falcone, angled to use the plane for a trip to New York, Adam drafted an angry e-mail. “You gotta love this Falcone,” he wrote his father. “This guy is just trying to be us. He is not and never will be. I think we should strongly consider shutting this plane down to all employees of any company we are involved with.”

By early 2004, Doorly was keeping secrets from his own family. He began giving money to Sarah Hunt, who’d worked as a secretary in the Ayer office back in Doorly’s early years there and was now an administrative assistant at a hospital. She was going through a divorce and was having trouble making ends meet, and Doorly knew she wanted to pitch in for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Over the next two years, he sent Hunt about 50 checks in amounts varying from $2,000 to $12,500, recording many of them in his desk ledger under coded entries like “Hunt Construction.” In all, Hunt received more than $300,000. The relationship eventually turned romantic. When they e-mailed, she took to referencing Doorly’s generosity, signing her notes “Mrs. Benjamin.”


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As the Ayers remained largely uninvolved in Essex Street affairs, Doorly faced little threat that they would start asking questions. But the outside accountants who were hired each year to look over the financials were a different story. In early 2004, Doorly replaced Pricewaterhouse Coopers with a small Charlestown audit firm called Vitale, Caturano & Company (VCC). The company’s plan for the review of the 2003 books was to randomly scrutinize just a sample of the 300 or so trusts Essex Street managed. When his son’s trust was among those picked, Doorly requested that it be removed from the audit. The firm complied. Doorly also nixed a clause to have a third-party company review VCC’s work. Had the accountants taken a careful look, the Ayer family claims (in a lawsuit VCC is fighting), they’d have seen tens of thousands of dollars strangely passing through Adam Doorly’s trust, and a total of $28 million in cash apparently missing from the Ayer accounts.

Doorly hired VCC again to review the records from 2004—a year in which he sold off the New Hampshire car dealership for $4.5 million, returning about $2 million to the family. Of the rest, he allegedly deposited $300,000 into his personal trust, bought a $430,000 condo in Harvard that his nephew moved into, and tipped two of his favorite mechanics $10,000 each. Doorly sent Hunt $25,000 toward a Waltham condo, and later half a million to buy it outright. Some of the other money he gave her financed a clothes-shopping spree, for which she thanked him in a late-night e-mail. “I purchased a few things that will look [good] on the back of a chair. So, I had to say goodbye to some of those new benjamins,” she wrote. “It was difficult but I was a big girl. A very brilliant man once told me that the benjamins were there for when I needed something and I need[ed] some things today.”

With the Ayer fortune at his disposal, Doorly had many opportunities to be magnanimous. When he jetted down to Florida, he was happy to let the staff at his sports marketing firm assume he was a high-powered executive. “He was always very secretive about what he did for a living, but he would definitely want people to know he was in charge,” says a former colleague. When a hurricane bore down on Florida in 2004, Doorly flew the employees to Massachusetts and put them up in a hotel. “He was strangely philanthropic, let’s say,” notes the former colleague. When his Essex Street assistant of 22 years retired, Doorly allegedly bought her a condo.

After another clean audit report came through in the spring of 2005, Doorly’s spending spun out of control. On a $270,000-a-year salary, he was making so many purchases that he qualified for an American Express Centurion card, the so-called Amex Black, which has a minimum annual threshold of $250,000. His credit card statements were peppered with transactions from jewelers, art dealers, casinos, and hotels in Las Vegas, Colorado, Seattle, Alaska, and Hawaii. He was traveling so much that he had to have the engines of his jet rebuilt—a job that cost $1.5 million. In all, he was burning through an average of a quarter-million dollars a month.

In late December, Doorly and his wife planned to visit the El Conquistador golf resort and casino in Puerto Rico. Just after he left, his assistant, Kim Borans, who was relatively new to the position, received an e-mail from VCC. For their latest audit they planned to inspect the trusts of Doorly and his son. Doorly told Borans to explain that he wanted his and Adam’s trusts sk
ipped. The accountants in Charlestown agreed to consider it. Privately, they were suspicious.

“We predicted this response,” one accountant wrote to another. “This is why I hate this client.”

“Ha—I didn’t even realize that we had picked [Doorly’s] account,” the colleague responded. “Shouldn’t we be able to see these balances? …I mean, honestly, these could be the accounts with all the fraud!”

In early 2006, assuming everything was more or less under control, the Doorlys took the jet to Florida, where they boarded the world’s largest luxury liner, the Queen Mary 2, for a $37,000 cruise to Rio de Janeiro. When he returned, Doorly tried to rein in his profligacy. He’d recently sold one property (returning all of the proceeds to the Ayer family accounts), and now put a few others up for sale. He even decided to part with the Gulfstream, telling Adam in an e-mail that it was the hardest decision he’d ever had to make.

Still, he allowed himself another big purchase, a gift for his son, whom he hoped would move closer to home. That February, he bought Adam a $790,000 luxury condo overlooking the Public Garden in Boston. It may not have escaped Doorly’s notice that it was right down the street from Frederick Ayer’s Commonwealth Avenue mansion, which had just been added to the National Register of Historic Places.


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As the newest face at Essex Street, Doorly’s assistant, Kim Borans, found herself with a lot to learn. But the more Borans saw, the more she wondered about what was going on.

A trained accountant herself, Borans would later say she was troubled by an instance in December when Doorly had her make a transfer to an account that strangely was carrying a negative balance. She’d gotten her job through a friend, Mark Gobeille, the company’s tax adviser, and she finally decided to stop by his desk in February to ask why an account at a company like Essex Street would ever be in the red. Gobeille called up on his computer several accounts with negative balances, explaining that they were all for Doorly’s ventures. To Borans, Gobeille didn’t appear particularly concerned by the accounts—though he was a bit frustrated that only Doorly seemed to understand what they were for. If anything ever happened to Doorly, Gobeille admitted to her, they’d all have a hell of a time making sense of what was going on.

Borans had other concerns as well. She’d noticed another red flag: Doorly was setting rules for the audits. Borans declined to comment for this story, but in a deposition filed in Suffolk Superior Court she recounted her mounting worries. About a week after speaking with Gobeille, she invited him for dinner with her and her husband at their home in Peabody. After they’d eaten, their conversation turned to Doorly, and to checks he’d apparently written from an account he shouldn’t have been using. They agreed they’d have to tell someone. Borans wanted to take her concerns to the Ayer family. Gobeille, though, preferred bringing up the accounting irregularities with the audit firm; better for his and Borans’s own sake to involve an outside party, he thought, in case they were wrong or the family didn’t believe them. Doorly was, after all, their boss. But Borans balked at the idea. The discussion grew heated. According to her deposition, Gobeille finally rose to his feet. “The entire place is a cesspool. Everyone knows,” she remembers him yelling. “Just stay out of it. It’s not your problem.” (Gobeille denies characterizing the office in those terms, and says his frustration was over the course of the action they’d take, not over whether they’d intervene at all. Both he and the Ayers’ lawyer deny that the family or employees had any idea what Doorly was up to.) Borans was shaken by the argument. Her husband let Gobeille know it was time to leave.

Days later, on March 8, 2006, Borans asked to speak privately with Caleb Loring III and Jamie Totten, the Essex Street board member. “I think something’s wrong,” she told them. She explained that Doorly had asked her to keep a transaction hidden from Loring, according to a court filing. Over the next two weeks, Loring and the family lawyers attempted to unravel what they could of Doorly’s other secrets. On March 20, 2006, the lawyer visited Suffolk Superior Court. The next morning, Doorly was fired.

As soon as Doorly was escorted from the office, Loring got people working on his computer. They changed Doorly’s passwords and began copying his e-mails, finding photos from his vacations, details of his investments, and flight schedules for his jet. Later, forensic accountants collected nearly a dozen boxes of papers from Doorly’s office. They also discovered his ledger book. The accountants and lawyers spent weeks sorting through Doorly’s personal records and the family’s electronic bank statements. Mark Gobeille’s prediction was proven true: Making sense of the tangled financial puzzle that Doorly had created was no easy task. He had been the only person who had any true sense of what had become of Frederick Ayer’s riches.

As news of the scandal was quietly passed around the North Shore, the Ayer family publicly rallied behind Caleb Loring. Behind closed doors in Beverly, big changes were being made. Loring resigned from his management position—he remains family liaison—and was replaced by Jamie Totten, who, according to Borans’s deposition, made it known that everyone in the office was “guilty until proven innocent.” David Ayer, the former trust partner, returned to the office with his timber company’s experienced treasurer in tow.

Kim Borans stayed on for only a few more months, working long hours in a highly scrutinized atmosphere. At one point, according to her deposition, David Ayer asked her if the place could operate without Gobeille. She told Ayer that he was indispensable in understanding how Essex Street worked. She was also told that another employee would be fired, but that the family later decided against it, on the advice of a lawyer. The family ultimately concluded that Doorly had acted alone.

Borans had earned the Ayers’ trust, and a sizable raise. And she and her husband were in the middle of buying a house. But she felt she needed out. After she resigned in June, she and her husband closed on a home in North Reading. They completed their purchase the old-fashioned way—with a mortgage from Wells Fargo.


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Essex Street Associates has now spent nearly two years selling off whatever of Doorly’s assets it could, including the Gulfstream. It’s put Adam’s Boston condo on the market, too. If that sells at its asking price, the Ayers stand to make nearly $40,000 more than what they unknowingly paid for it, which isn’t a bad investment. They’ve so far recovered about $8 million, which will remain in an escrow account while the Doorly and Ayer lawyers prepare for a trial that could come in a matter of months. Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the evidence and considering its options.

There was a time when Jack Doorly’s talent for reinvention might have impressed even Frederick Ayer. He’d done better than anyone could have predicted—a college dropout who’d earned the respect of an important and powerful family and the ability to provide for those around him. But then, still unsatisfied, he fashioned himself into something else altogether. And now the beneficiaries of his largesse are all gone. Sarah Hunt cut off her relationship with Doorly around the time he claimed in court papers that his checks to her we
re merely loans. His son, Adam, decided against moving back to Massachusetts, and Doorly’s wife, who learned of his affair through court filings, divorced him in June, on the eve of their 34th anniversary. All three are named in the Ayers’ suit. All three have maintained that they were deceived as well.

Today, Doorly’s ambition has deposited him in a cheap one-bedroom apartment in Peabody, not far from where he grew up. It’s a red brick building, indistinguishable from a dozen others in a complex that stretches along Route 128. He’s got no view to speak of. Doorly’s unit looks out on a steady current of cars—on people speeding from where they’d been toward where they want to be.