In the weeks before she died, Lara Prychodko spewed her anger at her married lover.
“I just woke up missing my beautiful amazing son whom I’ve lost because of my love of you,” wrote the tragic redhead in a 6:05 am email to Wayne Gattinella, a “flashy” executive and former CEO of WebMD, on Memorial Day, 2018.
Prychodko, 48, had lost custody of her young son during messy divorce negotiations with her estranged husband, and wanted her millionaire boyfriend to help with her bills, an exclusive Post investigation into the last few weeks of Prychodko’s life found.
“You said you would take care of private school,” the email continued. “But you are not. My child deserves the same privilege yours do.”
Prychodko was also putting pressure on Gattinella, a father of four, to leave his wife of 40 years, a friend told The Post.
Gattinella owned a sprawling six-bedroom, nine-bathroom home in Greenwich, Conn., worth $4.5 million, a vacation property in East Hampton worth more than $2 million, and two condos in Manhattan worth more than $2 million each, according to public records. He also rented a two-bedroom apartment with Prychodko on the 27th floor of a Union Square high-rise, according to a Jan. 2018 rental agreement viewed by The Post.
Seven months after he signed the lease on the $6,500-a-month rental at Zeckendorf Towers, Prychodko would be found dead in the building’s garbage room.
Although cops ruled the July 10, 2018 death an accident, recent bombshell findings from New York City’s former chief medical examiner Michael Baden suggest Prychodko may have been strangled to death before being stuffed down the trash chute next to the 27th-floor flat she shared with Gattinella, 67.
“There’s no way she threw herself down that chute,” said a friend of Prychodko’s, who stayed with her a month before she died, adding that she remains “haunted” by her death.
“I used that chute many times to take out the garbage, and there’s no way she could have physically placed herself in there. I’m sure she was murdered.”
The friend, who refused to be identified, said that despite “a toxic” atmosphere at the apartment where the friend said Prychodko was “constantly” drinking and fighting with Gattinella about his marriage, Prychodko was full of plans for the future.
The troubled socialite, who friends say struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, was poised to launch a line of skin care products that she had developed, and was determined to finalize her divorce from her builder husband David Schlachet and regain custody of their beloved young son, the friend said.
“She told me she was going to have one last big party and then get sober,” said the friend. “All she wanted was to get her life back.”
The last party took place in Ibiza and Paris, where Prychodko traveled with Gattinella to celebrate her 48th birthday a month before she died, said Amanda Armstrong, another friend and former roommate, who now lives in upstate New York.
But before their trip, Gattinella’s wife, Valerie, had learned of their relationship when she found a charge for a gym membership on her husband’s credit card statement, Armstrong, 36, told The Post.
“She hit the roof,” said Armstrong, adding that the Equinox membership was for Prychodko. “Wayne was very flashy and was always buying her expensive things.”
When they were together, Prychodko and Gattinella lived well, friends told The Post. Gattinella owned four luxury vehicles, two of them Porsches, records show. “They had the best and most expensive clothes,” said Armstrong. The refrigerator at the Zeckendorf flat was stocked with take-out delicacies from Eataly, she said. “They ate at the best restaurants in Manhattan.”
But friends also described tension between the couple in the weeks before Lara’s death.
“Lara said he [Gattinella] was very rude to her after his wife discovered the Equinox membership, and refused to call her,” said Armstrong, a former office manager now working towards a law degree. Armstrong told The Post that she often stayed with Prychodko at the Zeckendorf Towers flat when Gattinella was away. “Lara was sick of being the mistress. That’s what she had been for many years.” Friends say that the relationship went on for nearly a decade.
On that Memorial Day Monday — May 28, 2018 — when she sent the early morning missive to Gattinella, Lara sent a separate email complaining about how she could not reach him. She chastised him for continuing to hide their relationship. “I can never get to you, so I’m so over this system,” she wrote. “You either stop having me blocked (everyone knows it’s just you who can’t admit) or go back to a hidden phone. Your choice, but if you were honest now I don’t think it would be as dramatic, they all know.”
According to Armstrong, Prychodko met Gattinella at WebMD, an online publisher of medical information, where she began work as a project manager in the marketing and communications department in 2002. Gattinella became the company’s CEO in 2005, and the affair began four years later, a source told The Post.
In 2012, Gattinella suddenly resigned. The company gave no explanation for the CEO’s abrupt exit at the time.
A spokeswoman for WebMD refused to comment last week. “WebMD does not comment on former employees,” said Patricia Garrison.
In an email to The Post, Gattinella, now CEO at tech company DoubleVerify, described Prychodko as “a former colleague and friend” and accused The Post of making “factually false and defamatory statements” but refused to elaborate.
Gattinella, who was interviewed by the NYPD shortly after cops discovered Prychodko’s remains, said Armstrong, was never named as a suspect in her death. Armstrong told The Post she was also questioned by police on the day Prychodko died.
The NYPD determined there is “no criminality” suspected in Prychodko’s death but refused to say if the investigation is still open or if Gattinella was questioned.
Famed forensic pathologist Baden, however, believes Prychodko “may have died because of homicidal ligature strangulation and was then placed in the garbage chute,” according to a letter he wrote to her family in Canada. Baden reviewed autopsy notes, X-rays, lab tests and crime scene photos, according to his letter, which The Post viewed.
Despite Baden’s findings, the ME’s office told The Post earlier this month that it had no plans to reopen the case.
“There is no further information from investigators or others that would prompt reopening it,” a spokeswoman said earlier this month. “We stand by our determination.”
Months after Prychodko died, Valerie Gattinella filed for divorce from her husband, according to documents filed in Connecticut State Superior Court.
While it’s not clear if Gattinella’s relationship with Prychodko figured into the couple’s divorce, the negotiations were protracted for the couple, who had married in Pennsylvania in 1978. After more than a year of negotiations, the divorce was finalized only last month.
The couple is currently selling their sprawling home in Greenwich, and Valerie Gattinella is keeping their house in tony East Hampton as well as the couple’s 2019 Porsche Macan, according to court papers. Gattinella hung on to a 1997 Porsche and the couple’s properties in Manhattan.
Calls to Valerie Gattinella were not returned last week.
Source: Read Full Article