Spitzer’s alleged Dallas tryst puts focus on city’s escort scene


Area not a hub for high-end services, insiders say

07:45 AM CDT on Thursday, March 13, 2008

By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News
The revelation that outgoing New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is accused of having one of his career-ending trysts in Dallas may leave the impression that Big D is a hub for pricey escort services.

Not so, say those familiar with the local scene.

“We haven’t seen a significant number of high-end escort services in the city,” said Dallas police Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, commander of the vice unit. “They could exist, but they might be so exclusive we wouldn’t know about it.”

He said that the Emperors Club VIP, the prostitution ring Mr. Spitzer is accused of using, “had not come across our radar.”

The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, reported Wednesday that in addition to Washington, D.C., Mr. Spitzer is accused of having sex with prostitutes in Dallas and Florida.

The Emperors Club employed more than 50 hookers in several U.S. cities and abroad. A criminal complaint outlining the sting does not mention Texas.

Most of Dallas’ escorts, many of whom advertise in local weekly magazines, are independent operators who charge well below the $5,500 hourly fee of the most-sought-after Emperors Club girls, police said.

Amanda Brooks, a former independent escort and stripper in Dallas, said Wednesday that she is unaware of any elite high-dollar agencies based here. Ms. Brooks, author of The Internet Escort’s Handbook, said she knows a couple of local women charging $500 to $800 an hour.

The city also is not a routine stop for high-dollar touring escorts, she said.

“Dallas is very much a one-hour town” where clients tend to prefer “a girl next door,” she said

Even with the blatant advertising in papers and online, call girl operations are not a priority for Dallas vice officers, Chief Bernal said.

Street prostitution “is the focus” because it’s visible and garners community complaints, he said. Undercover agents occasionally answer an ad and work a case to keep the call girls “on their toes,” the chief said.

In late 2006, nearly two dozen dancers at the Penthouse Key Club in Dallas were busted after they agreed to have sex with undercover agents.

In the past, the vice unit has received complaints discreetly from security staffs at some of the city’s higher-end hotels where call girls were plying their trade.

“Clients of the hotels were being robbed by reportedly high-end prostitutes,” he said.

The practice is probably more rampant, but moneyed clients “are not going to be doing reports on thefts of a watch,” particularly if it will document their activities, he said.

Staff writer Paul Meyer contributed to this report.



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