We Spy

Old-school private eye Joe Adams and his talented sidekick Jason Walz are on the case -- and they always get their man

She was close. The prince hired Joe Adams.

Later, Green received a call from a colleague, who told her that Adams had been retained by the prince. She recognized the name. The colleague warned Green that Adams would be merciless in his quest to find the child.

"I knew he was someone who used to work for the CIA," recalls Green. "There are a lot of people I'll mess around with, but he's not one of them."

Green recommended that the mother, pending resolution, turn her daughter over to the court. "I was 100 percent sure that Joe would find her," recalls Green, "and probably wouldn't be real nice about it, and it would avoid a lot of pain and terror for me and my client."

Ultimately, Green lost the Saudi case. The daughter was returned to her father, and the mother never saw her child again. But Green doesn't hold any grudges. "If I would want protection for myself, out of everyone in St. Louis, Joe is the person I would hire to protect myself."

A few years later, recalls Adams, "An attorney said to me, 'Margo Green thinks you're going to jump out of the bushes someplace and kill her.' I thought he was joking. Fuck, she was serious. I've never threatened anybody in my life."

When asked whether she ever feared for her life, Green pauses. "That's probably true. And I probably had no basis for that fear, because now that I know Joe and have met him and worked with him, I don't think Joe would have ever harmed me. But at the time, I did fear him, yes."

In fact, Green is currently paying Adams to shield her and a client from a wealthy construction-company executive who has gone haywire during his messy divorce proceeding. The dispute is set in Clayton, and Adams is using Jason Walz to follow the executive to and from depositions. Adams has nicknamed the executive Fat Boy.

"The guy's a scumbag, and he's insane," says Walz, who's watching the executive because his wife fears for her and her children's safety. Fat Boy has harassed the family, Walz maintains, and has dropped spent .44 casings in her driveway and driven by her house at all hours, laying on the horn.

Walz spends most of his time in his car. When he's alone on assignment watching a house, he occupies his time by drawing tattoo patterns in a spiral notebook, or tending to his cuticles, or flossing, or picking dirt off of his glistening white shoes. When he's out for the day, he'll bring his version of a lunch: a packet of crackers, a bag of beef jerky and a Gatorade. Where Adams' eyes and mannerisms display a steely resolve, Walz is still young and paying his dues. And Adams has big plans for him.

In six years, says Adams, Walz has the potential of hauling in a cool $150,000 per annum. Walz, who speaks with a soft, even tone, met Adams through Walz's best friend, Bobby Tsiklides, who was employed by Adams until being sent to Iraq, where he is currently serving as a Marine sniper (Adams trained him). Walz asked Adams for a job.

"At first he was like, 'No way,'" remembers Walz. "He doesn't want just anybody out there running around doing his company business." Walz pestered Adams for a few months. "I was telling him, 'Hey, I can do this. I want to do this.'"

Finally Adams cracked. "I got out of work one day at Circuit City and there's a message that said, 'Jason, this is Joe Adams. This is your big chance. Call me.'" The men met at Adams' headquarters, where the elder investigator briefed Walz. "He says, 'It's all you. Don't screw up. See you tomorrow.'"

Adams says Walz has proven his worth. "Jason got in because of the electronics -- that was his niche. Plus, he came with good references. The hardest thing is to get in. And he just happened to be at the right place at the right time."

Adams uses Walz full-time, and although the younger private eye has only been at this gig for a year, he's already racked up his share of domestic-dispute stories.

"I caught a lady cheating," he says while waiting for Fat Boy to emerge from the deposition. "It was kind of weird telling the guy that. He knew it, but he didn't want to know. The phone records had her calling the gardener at midnight. Who calls their gardener at midnight?"

"He's a sponge for information," says Adams of his young associate. "What I don't think of, he does. He can take a project and clean it up. He's got good ideas, great instincts. He's very smart and he's very loyal. And he refreshes my memory on certain things, little, simple things. He's good for me."

Adams also uses Walz to follow insurance frauds. "It's big business," he relates. "Ninety-nine percent of the private eyes out there do nothing but insurance investigation. The attorneys have created this industry for the investigators. Very few attorneys that I know will get up out of the office and go out in the field and conduct an investigation. This ain't Matlock."

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