Twitter, iPhones Let Sex Workers Spread Their Gospel

By Regina Lynn 03.28.08

When the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal heated up headlines earlier this month, every media outlet in the country suddenly began scrambling to talk to a sex worker.

The downfall of Spitzer, the New York governor who resigned after his private sex life unexpectedly became public, generated an enormous amount of interest in the escort industry and in Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the woman he had been seeing.

But the whirlwind didn’t catch sex workers and activists lying down. They organized a media blitz through blogs, Tumblr, Twitter and shared Google Docs. They kept tabs on which reporters approached the topic with respect and which didn’t. And perhaps for the first time, they made their voices heard in mainstream venues like Fox News and CNN — organizations that cannot be dismissed as fringe or adults-only media. Continue reading



March 27, 2008 — A pal of the petite madam who ran the Emperors Club VIP has offered intimate details of how the pretty 23-year-old allegedly hooked up with her much older boyfriend to launch the high-end escort service that brought down the state’s governor. It was the summer of 2003 when Cecil Suwal, on a break from studying advertising at the University of Miami, answered a seemingly innocuous job posting by Mark Brener in a free weekly New York paper, Mehal Darji, 25, told The Post yesterday.

From then on, Suwal, an 18-year-old prep-school grad at the time, threw herself into her work and a sexual relationship with the then-57-year-old Brener – leaving behind a boyfriend and her education for the controlling older man.

An outgoing, spunky and wild teen, Suwal returned to school in Miami with a new zest for work that she’d learned from Brener – and a new tattoo that drove away her college beau.

“Cecil got the name ‘Mark’ tattooed near her private parts,” Darji said, adding that Suwal’s ex-boyfriend was a “nice guy” and was “very angry.”

“She was into photography and when she came back to Miami, she was showing me all her work. She would take photographs of models,” said Darji, who remembered looking at the Emperors Club VIP Web site.

Soon Brener, an Israeli widower who previously worked as a financial consultant, began visiting Suwal in Miami.

“Mark seemed like a control freak,” said Darji, who saw the pair approximately 12 times in Miami and later New York. “Personally, I didn’t like him. My friends didn’t like him.”

“She was saying Mark has this great idea of creating this upscale service, modeling company,” said the pal, who noticed fees climbed to thousands of dollars an hour.

“I said, ‘If this is escort, you know you can get in trouble,’ ” Darji said. “She said, ‘It’s not sex, it’s professional services.’ ”

By the end of 2004, Suwal dropped out of college and returned to live with Brener in an apartment in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Darji visited her several times up until 2006, witnessing increasingly bizarre behavior.

“Mark was very health-conscious. He made her quit smoking. He had to know what she does, where she goes, where she is at any time,” said Darji, recalling that Suwal often lied.

“She always had three phones. All of a sudden she’d answer and put on a different personality and say, ‘This is Katie,’ or whatever,” Darji said. “She seemed very tense and nervous and I guess always on the guard of what she said.”




March 27, 2008Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been identified as a long-standing client of a second high-priced call-girl ring, The Post has learned.

The ex-governor regularly patronized Wicked Models, the Manhattan-based operation taken down Tuesday, according to financial documents and other evidence unearthed in a yearlong prostitution in vestigation, law-enforcement sources said.

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The revelation comes three weeks after Spitzer was outed as “Client-9” in a separate federal hooker probe involving the New Jersey-based Emperors Club VIP.

At the center of the new ring is Kristin “Billie” Davis, a busty bottle blonde who hails from a rough-and-tumble California trailer park. She has a reputation for hard-partying, shameless self-promotion and a rumored 10,000-name-long client list.

Davis’ alleged multimillion-dollar empire was smashed by city vice cops as she made plans to skip town. Prosecutors say she netted some $2 million last year by pimping out ladies of the night for as much as $1,000 an hour through four Web sites.

They noted she has openly boasted of total earnings of $6 million, and has been in operation since at least 2004.

Davis, 32, pleaded not guilty to money laundering and promoting prostitution in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday and was held on $2-million bail. She faces 15 years in prison if convicted of running the ring, which also allegedly operated the Madison La A’mour and New York Body Miracle agencies.

A source said Davis personally serviced Spitzer.

“She personally interfaced with Spitzer a number of times” since 2003 before she became a madam, a source close to Davis said.

When asked about the allegation, Davis told The Post, “I can’t talk about it.” Spitzer’s spokeswoman, Anna Cordasco, countered that “Mr. Spitzer was not ever a client of Ms. Davis.”

When vice cops raided Davis’ apartment at 315 E. 56th St. after learning she was about to skip town, they seized some $500,000 in various bank accounts, $15,000 from a safe-deposit box, and $4,800 from the residence.

The wary madam had been tipped off to the investigation and was in the midst of destroying evidence, moving her money and planning her escape, Assistant District Attorney John McConnell said during arraignment.

It’s unclear what happened to any records that could identify her well-heeled clients. Sources close to the case estimated she did business with 10,000 different johns over the years. Since 2004, Davis ran a lucrative, high-end operation employing several dozen prostitutes – not just in New York, but in Pennsylvania and California, McConnell said.

There’s been no link between Davis’ alleged operation and the Emperors Club VIP, the ring from which Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap ordering a hooker in Washington, DC.

Nor was there word on whether Spitzer wore his socks during his alleged escort encounters. Last week, it was revealed Republican dirty-tricks operative Roger Stone told the FBI that Spitzer kept his socks on during sex with a Florida prostitute.

A year’s worth of investigation, including undercover work and the execution of multiple search warrants, turned up a pile of incriminating bank records and other documents related to the hard-partying Davis and her business, McConnell said.

These records show that in the last year alone, Davis moved $2 million in hooker proceeds through her elaborate web of money-laundering accounts, he said.

Davis’ lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, continued for a second day yesterday to blame her arrest on “rumors” circulated by unnamed sex-industry insiders looking for money or preferential treatment in their own cases.

“She believes she’s being persecuted here as a result of the Gov. Spitzer scandal,” he said.

But the source close to Davis said more high-profile names are involved. “There are some big people involved in the entertainment industry,” the source said, adding that there are “sports superstars” including “a very prominent Yankee,” along with Spitzer campaign contributors.

In court yesterday, the slightly rumpled Davis wore gray tights, black Ugg boots and a black hoodie decorated by silver-sequin images of flaming skulls and crossbones.

“Why couldn’t they have picked me up in regular clothes and not in gym clothes?” she asked The Post. “It’s more comfortable, I guess.”

Davis may be loving the attention.

Even before her bust, she was trying to shop her story to the media, and in her pitches described herself as the madam behind “the world’s largest escort agency,” according to the Manhattan prosecutor.

Sex-industry insiders described the tattooed platinum blonde as “a flamboyant biker chick” who boasted of her business success and reveled in telling pals about a hard-luck upbringing.

“She is the female version of Jason,” said one industry source, referring to Jason Itzler, the limelight-loving, tall-tale-telling pimp who ran now-busted NYConfidential.

She’s known in the industry for a drug-fueled, wild annual party she throws for her “girls” in Las Vegas. Her MySpace page features several photos of well-endowed women surrounded by ogling men.

“I have created a business empire where I rule,” Davis wrote on her MySpace page. “It’s also one I could fall, and fall hard, very much like Lucifer getting kicked out of heaven.”

Photographer Jason Howard, whom Davis hired last year to take nude photos of her, said she was a regular on the club scene, but he had no inkling of her real business.

“Had I known, I would have charged her more,” he quipped.

Additional reporting by Jeane MacIntosh, Murray Weiss and Reuven Fenton

NY: $2 Million Bail Set for Woman in Brothel Case

March 27, 2008

A prosecutor accused a Manhattan woman on Wednesday of controlling a ring of several dozen high-priced prostitutes and said that she tried to dismantle the operation when she sensed the authorities closing in.

The woman, Kristin Davis, 32, was ordered held in $2 million bail after her arraignment in Criminal Court in Manhattan on charges of money laundering and promoting prostitution.

As Ms. Davis, wearing a black hooded jacket emblazoned with rhinestones in the shape of a flaming skull, stood in front of a judge, her lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, said that she was “clothed with the cloak of innocence” and was pleading not guilty.

Mr. Heller added that his client believed she was being “persecuted” because the recent investigation into former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes had created a fervor about call-girl operations.

But Artie McConnell, an assistant district attorney, disagreed. “Ms. Davis ran a very lucrative high-end prostitution ring,” he said. “The rates for these prostitutes were anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per hour.”

The investigation by the district attorney’s office and the Police Department’s vice squad started on March 1, 2007, after complaints arose from neighbors of one of the East Side apartments that Ms. Davis is accused of using as a brothel. During the investigation, the enterprise, operating in New York, Pennsylvania and California, earned about $2 million, Mr. McConnell said. He said that Ms. Davis had cached money on the Isle of Man.

He added that he believed that Ms. Davis had been tipped off that arrest was imminent. Her Web sites stopped functioning a few days after her indictment, which was recently unsealed, he said, and her brothels were suddenly shut down and emptied. She was arrested on Tuesday.

Mr. McConnell, who had asked for $10 million bail, also asserted that Ms. Davis had at one point sought to interest reporters in writing about her and described herself on a Web site as “a madam running the world’s largest escort agency that grosses over $6 million per year.”

Mr. Heller said that figure was inflated and told reporters outside the courthouse, “She is looking forward to her day in court when she can clear her name.”

NY: Woman Accused of Running Prostitution Ring on East Side


March 26, 2008

A woman was arrested Tuesday afternoon and accused of running a large prostitution ring on the East Side, the police said.

The woman, Kristen Davis, 32, operated four Web sites and had her employees, who charged up to $1,200 an hour, meet clients in apartments she kept in the neighborhood, law enforcement officials said.

The police said they were looking to arrest about 15 prostitutes who worked for Ms. Davis. Investigators seized $19,000 cash from Ms. Davis’s apartment and froze $500,000 in bank accounts linked to her, the police said.

She was arrested at her apartment, at 235 East 40th Street, and charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution, said Detective Cheryl Crispin.

The women who worked for Ms. Davis would meet clients at apartments at 229 East 53rd Street and at 533 Third Avenue near East 36th Street, the police said.

A longtime resident of 533 Third Avenue who would not give her name said she had noticed a brisk lunchtime traffic of men in suits and pretty women in their 20s taking the elevator up to the sixth floor. At first, said the woman, a 69-year-old retired typesetter, she thought the women might be doing freelance secretarial work, but after a while she grew suspicious.

“When you live in a building, you know who belongs here and who doesn’t,” she said. “The business people in this building don’t come home for lunch.”

Ms. Davis’s lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, said his client had worked in the hedge fund industry and had no previous arrests. He added that she had filed tax returns every year since turning 18, held a bachelor’s degree and had 30 credits toward a master’s in psychology.

Mr. Heller previously represented David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” killer, and Jeb Corliss, who was arrested in 2006 for trying to parachute off the Empire State Building.

Al Baker, Colin Moynihan and Mathew R. Warren contributed reporting.

ACLU questions legality of APD prostitution web page

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina recently sent a letter to the City of Asheville questioning whether posting photos of prostitution suspects on the police department’s web site is unconstitutional.

ACLU legal director Katie Parker said the web page could violate people’s due process rights since police said the photos are meant to shame suspects, effectively punishing them before they are tried in court.

“What we think is important here is the purpose for why the police department is doing this and they’ve acknowledged the reason they are doing this is to punish, to deter crime,” said Parker.

APD announced the start of the online prostitution blotter in February. The web page contains photos of people arrested during police prostitution stings, including alleged customers.

Complaints from the Asheville community prompted the ACLU letter, sent on March 6 to Assistant City Attorney Curt Euler, Parker said. The civil rights group does not currently plan to file a lawsuit against the city as no one has come forward as a plaintiff, she said.

The letter urges the city to reconsider the web page and the police practice of sending postcards to people whose vehicles are seen driving through high drug or prostitution areas.

Though media outlets often publish names and photos of people arrested by police, Parker said it is unconstitutional for government to use this method to deter crime or otherwise punish those who have not been convicted of crimes.

Parker expects a reply from the city by early next week.

Assault on call girl nets 18 months’ probation

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 Daryl Slade

Calgary Herald

Tuesday » March 25 » 2008

CALGARY – A 51-year-old man will not have to spend any more time in jail, but will have a short leash on him for 18 months, after pleading guilty to his fifth assault on a sex trade worker over the past decade.Provincial court Judge Anne Brown sentenced Udhay Chandra to time served after giving him double credit for nearly five months he has been in custody since his arrest.

Brown also placed Chandra on probation for one year and he still has 18 months to serve on another probation term from his last assault conviction on another female sex trade worker in 2006.

He has a sexual assault on another prostitute in 2001 for which, along with another assault, he was sentenced to two years less a day in jail.

Chandra has been convicted of drinking and driving three times and communication with a prostitute once among other criminal convictions.

Chandra had been facing charges of sexual assault, unlawful confinement and robbery, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

The judge ordered him to abstain from alcohol or illicit drugs and to take counseling for alcohol abuse, domestic violence and anger management.

He also must have no contact with the latest victim, to whom he must pay $250 restitution for a missing cell phone, or any other prostitute. Chandra is also prohibited from attending within a two-block radius of five strolls specifically identified in his probation order.

The Oct. 11 incident happened at a house in the northeast community of Mayland Heights.

Chandra was subject to a three-year probation term at the time of the incident, with clauses preventing him from having contact with prostitutes or consuming alcohol.

According to previous court hearings, he phoned an escort agency to send an escort to the neighbour’s home, which was under renovation and which he had no legal right to enter, and waited for her to arrive.

When she saw there was no furniture, she wanted to leave, but he grabbed her arm.

Defence lawyer Joan Blumer had argued her client should be released. She said he paid the escort $165, and when she decided to leave before she earned it, he grabbed her only to get back his money.