The Daily Astorian


This story appeared in the Daily Astorian April 2, 2018, several days after the page one story in The New York Times. In a way, it was more painful for me: this is a newspaper in the Pacific Northwest, the one read by many people that I know. It is replete with errors, misrepresentations, and outright lies, which I will list in the annotations.


I contacted the writer, R.J. Marx, over the summer to try and set the record straight and we spent more than two hours together. After reviewing the documents I provided, he said: “We have every interest in telling your story accurately, completely and if you are indeed as you say innocent in all this we want to set the record straight. We are not interested in perpetuating a lie.”


But then he dropped a bombshell: He said that he could not write a follow-up because he knew my ex-wife, and therefore had a conflict of interest. This struck me as astounding: then why did he write this first story? A second reporter at the Astorian agreed there were errors and omissions, but refused to write a new story, or adjust this one.


So here it is for you to see all the facts and decide yourself.


Gearhart woman on national stage after abuse revelations

Rebuilding a life in Gearhart

By R.J. Marx    The Daily Astorian    Published on April 2, 2018


GEARHART — When Traci Williams came to Gearhart in 2016, she was literally running for her life. xMAJOR ERROR: This hyperbolic and obviously fictitious statement is a great example of the reporter’s transparent attempt to grab the reader’s attention by weaving a false and fanciful narrative.


It was a last-ditch effort to get away from abuse and stalking. She bought a closed-up ice cream parlor across from the post office and within eyesight of the police station. xCLARIFCATION: This line implies she chose the spot so the police could look out for her. An example of how this reporter’s conflict of interest skewed the entire story. From her shop windows she can see all four corners of the tiny downtown.


She quickly worked to renovate the building and reopen as an ice cream, coffee and wine shop. It was very important to her and her children, who both work for her. It was a success from the start, a little gathering place often packed with happy children and adults.


She didn’t tell many people why she came here. Her friends knew.


Then on Thursday, Williams’ story was published on the front page of the The New York Times.   The newspaper recounted years of abusive behavior xMAJOR ERROR: This story accepts “abusive behavior” as a proven fact. That is not the case. Abuse did not occur. The reporter did not comply with basic journalistic standards and seemingly failed to conduct any research into these allegations. Had he done so, he would have found no evidence of abuse. The allegations against me stem from hurt feelings over a messy divorce and a regrettable affair that Traci had discovered. Source Documents by Morgan Stanley financial adviser Douglas E. Greenberg against Williams and three other women.


The interest in her story came “out of the blue,” she said. She was ready to move on when she was contacted by reporter Emily Flitter. Williams first reported the abuse in 2013. “Most people said: ‘Traci, you need to give it up,’” she said. She also reported it multiple times again in 2014. xMAJOR ERROR: None of her accusations against me resulted in any charges – which the reporter should have known and made clear. I was never even interviewed about her allegations. I can only assume that if she did report this abuse, the allegations were investigated and law enforcement determined they were unfounded.


The Times story was originally supposed to be more about the #MeToo movement and banking in general, Williams said.


“But when the reporter came and dug in, they decided to narrow it down and focus on him (Greenberg), because the story was compelling in terms of the facts. It’s all documented. xMAJOR ERROR: There is no documentation of abuse, and had the reporter conducted the requisite research he would have known that there are no court records, police reports, medical reports, photographs, diary entries, etc…,to corroborate any of Traci’s allegations of abuse. Traci had been a successful reporter and despite documenting 4 other personal conflicts extensively, there is nothing. Source DocumentsDocumentation on Previous Issues   I thought, maybe if I tell people, maybe I can get some of my sanity back.”


After the account went viral, Williams closed her shop on Thursday for the day to deal with the fallout. She’s received nonstop media calls since the story appeared, she said.


“This is an ugly story,” Williams said Friday. “This is not how I wanted to be defined. But it’s what I’ve been living. It’s why I’m edgy and jumpy and why my son has PTSD and I have PTSD. I am changed forever.”


Williams met Greenberg on a blind date in 2007. She was a public relations go-getter and he an all-star at Morgan Stanley in Portland.


“He seemed really nice and fun, like he had his act together,” she said. “He took me to his office on our third date.”


They married in 2008, blended families and lived a seemingly storybook life among the wealthy and the well-heeled of Lake Oswego, but the reality was anything but.


In the five years of their marriage, Williams “was choked, smothered, shoved, pinched and pinned down” by Greenberg, she said. She stayed because he would apologize, promise to get help, and there were periods that life was fun. That is the cycle of abuse she learned more about after she got away. xMAJOR ERROR: Out of respect for my children and for Traci, I am unwilling to uncover certain details of our intimate relationship. However, I categorically deny her accusations. I never assaulted Traci.


Greenberg escalated his erratic behavior, she said, while maintaining a high-flying career as an executive director and wealth adviser at Morgan Stanley.


Greenberg’s rage extended to her own children and pets, she said. She knew it would be hard to leave the marriage, “but I didn’t know how hard it would be.” xCLARIFICATION: This is not true. There is no evidence to support these allegations because I never threatened or harmed her children or pets. Traci filed two complaints, immediately after moving out, with the Department of Human Services (DHS) based on these false allegations. The DHS closed the complaint at the time of screening (CAS) finding no need to conduct an investigation. Source Documents - DHS Files


Greenberg’s prominence provided him a free pass. As a “big fish,” he became even more abusive.


“Lake Oswego, it was the perfect little neighborhood,” Williams said. “No one wanted to speak up because no one wants to get involved. There’s this illusion that everything is perfect and pretty.”


After five years, she made the decision to leave. “He was going to kill me and described in detail how to my face.” xMAJOR ERROR: This is false. I never made that threat. I have never even been investigated by law enforcement for making such a threat. The Daily Astorian should not have reported this without any supporting evidence.


Williams consulted an attorney, who advised her to leave Lake Oswego for good. She hid out with her children and dog along the Oregon and Washington coasts. They were on the run for almost a month before returning to Portland. xMAJOR ERROR: This statement is untrue. Credit card receipts, and lease agreements show that, after Traci left in May of 2013 (Memorial Weekend), she stayed at a hotel in Vancouver, Wash., visited her brother in Roseburg and then quickly rented an apartment within a week of leaving our home. Traci and her children were never on the coast hiding out for a month. Source Documents


“All that time he (Greenberg) was freaking out xMEDIUM ERROR: Traci recorded all of our phone conversations and I have copies of the recordings. As the recordings show, I was very calm throughout our discussions and Traci was clearly upset. , calling and calling and calling and screaming, threatening, knocking on my friends’ doors.” Greenberg violated civil restraining orders meant to protect Williams 14 times, according to police reports and court documents. xMAJOR ERROR: I did not. Again, had the reporter conducted the requisite research into these allegations, he would have easily discovered that there are no judicial rulings demonstrating that the civil restraining order was violated.


“I think the fines got to be $120,000 because every time he violated it, he didn’t care, they would just add on a fine,” Williams said. xMAJOR ERROR: A court never ruled that I violated the civil restraining order. The reporter took Traci’s statements at face value and did not conduct any of his own research into these allegations. Had he done so, he would have quickly realized that there are no judicial rulings that support this statement.


Greenberg was so threatening, she fled her house more than 10 times in a six-month period xCLARIFICATION: Again, there is no corroborating evidence of any of these false statements. , Williams said. She would receive threatening letters, messages, emails and calls, including one reading “I CAN SEE YOU,” made up of letters cut out from magazines. x MAJOR ERROR: I did not send these letters. The Portland Police, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the FBI and others conducted an investigation – but I was never interviewed, never contacted and never charged. There were 12 separate investigations instigated by Traci and I was never contacted or charged in any of her complaints.


“When a picture of my dog arrived in the mail, police said, ‘We think you should leave,’” she added. “They told me not to let the dog out in the yard.”


She filed complaints with Morgan Stanley management in Portland and San Francisco without response. xCLARIFICATION: Morgan Stanley and FINRA – the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority -- thoroughly investigated Traci’s complaints, determined that her claims were baseless and communicated this to Traci. If this information was included it would have conflicted with this fictitious narrative. Source Document - Response


“By propping up someone and continuing to promote them, what they’ve done is enable him to collect more victims,” she said.


After leaving Greenberg, Williams tried to rebuild her life and a career in Portland, joining a startup tech firm as their head of public relations.


After attending classes and a workshop, she started volunteering as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and was appointed in 2014 to the governor’s domestic violence task force. Ironically, she said, she couldn’t prevent her own abuse.


In 2015, everyone at her new company was sent threatening email from an anonymous account using an alias.


“I felt like I lost every single thing,” Williams said. “All my sanity, all my peace of mind, my personal health really took a beating, my ability to move around, and to have a sense of freedom.”


She became the person “shunned in the grocery store,” she said.


Before that, she was friendly and outgoing, the one who hosted the dinner parties, helped run the auctions and head committees. “Then I rarely got invited anywhere. I lost a lot of friends. Everybody wants to hear your story once and then they say, ‘We’d rather not.’ And I have friends who are afraid Doug might do something to them.”


The alleged stalking and harassment continued.


Investigators told Williams were able to track a 2015 “creepy serial-killer letter” sent to Williams to a Morgan Stanley credit card account accessible by Greenberg. xCLARIFICATION: The Portland Police, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the F.B.I and the U.S. Department of Justice investigated this letter. I was never even contacted about it, much less interviewed as a suspect. “But Doug was crafty and hard to pin down,” she said.


Portland police pursued the case for about six months before the federal government was contacted, she said. xCLARIFICATION: The issue seems to have died without any resolution.


She took safety and gun training courses. xCLARIFICATION: Again, the reporter is skewing the story to make me sound like I was a threat, which I was not. Notice also that there is no attribution.


After a trip to Gearhart in 2016, she decided to reshape her life. “I just thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’”


“A girlfriend invited me to her brother’s beach house in Gearhart, and my friend said, ‘You should buy the old Pop’s and turn it into a wine bar.’”


So she did, hoping the plan might be the “perfect out.” Just in case, she installed nine video cameras around the perimeter.


Her remaining friends have been a supportive group, helping her start a business that wasn’t what she was trained for or expecting.


“One of my friends from Lake Oswego got me up and running with the wine and beer part,” she said. “Others helped me learn ice cream, merchandising. New friends here in Gearhart have been really embracing of me and my family.”


Only after the story broke last week was Greenberg put on administrative leave. It looks like something a model train might trundle through, the crisp white buildings and black rooftops encircled with perfect pine trees. xClarification: Doesn’t this read like something from a short story? It’s a classic description of a small town written by someone from the big city. This narrative, written in first-person, falsely suggests that the contents of this story are true and verified.


She still suffers from “constant fear,” although “a little less” after the Times story.


Williams has hired Portland attorney Sean Riddell and is “exploring all my legal options at this point.”


The Oregon Coast remains her safe haven.


“Gearhart is my little getaway. Yesterday I walked the beach for two hours. It’s fun for me when kids come in (to the shop), and I have a distraction. The buzz in here is good and fun and I think that is a good thing for me.”


Requests for comment by The Daily Astorian to Morgan Stanley and Greenberg were not answered. xCLARIFICATION: This fact should be reflected much higher in the story. Morgan Stanley would not allow me to comment on the story at the time. When I subsequently was able to sit down with a reporter from the paper and discuss my situation – on the record, if need be – I was told no new story would be written and this one would not be adjusted.


Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Christy Jockle told the Times: “We are committed to maintaining a safe and professional work environment and will take appropriate action based on the facts of the matter.”