Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer, escorts and the new rich

Although I admired some of Eliot Spitzer's efforts as DA, I can't believe he was stupid or arrogant enough to think that he, a prominent public figure, could get away with using high priced prostitutes ("escorts"). Apparently some of the girls at Emperors Club (his service of choice) had already recognized him as the NY governor, so it was only a matter of time before the whole thing blew up. (Times profile of the escort named in the FBI complaint in which Spitzer is "client 9"; photo below. $1k per hour? You be the judge :-)

Current press reports about how the investigation was initiated are implausible -- the claim is that the IRS was tipped off by Spitzer's banks about some suspicious money transfers (Spitzer was careful not to use his credit card, though it was common practice for other customers of the club) that ultimately led to the prostitution ring. Sounds fishy -- we're talking about no more than tens of thousands of dollars in the accounts of a very rich individual. Why would the banks not contact Spitzer first about the transfers? Don't tell me the IRS is checking out every unexplained transfer of a few thousand dollars from a public figure's accounts. Spitzer had powerful enemies on Wall Street and among the Republican party. Combine that with his holier than thou public persona and it is no surprise that he was a target for this kind of investigation. I hope the guy resigns immediately and disappears from public life.

(The prices quoted below should be enough to convince you that this kind of prostitution is as close to victimless crime as you can get. Nevertheless, Spitzer has been shown to be a liar, hypocrite and violator of the law, so good riddance. Why does politics these days only attract pathological types?)

The WSJ has a nice piece on how the new rich are affecting the escort business.

...the wealth boom — and the explosion in the number of multi-millionaires — has created entirely new pricing levels for escorts. According to the complaint, the Emperors Club escorts charged between $1,000 and $5,000 an hour, depending on their “rankings.” Clients could also pay between $25,000 and $50,000 for a three-day visit. It may be the world’s oldest profession: but the prices reflect the new realities of wealth.

The escorts were well-versed in the lucrative potential of this new market. In the complaint, a prospective escort in London turns down the job based on price, saying that £500 an hour for starting escorts — close to $1,000 an hour — was chump change, especially since it didn’t incldue dinner.

“This is the kind of money I make very easily on photoshoots,” the woman said.

...According to a survey by Russ Alan Prince, president of Connecticut-based wealth-research firm Prince & Associates, in his book “The Sky’s The Limit,” a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. He surveyed 661 people who owned private jets. It found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex.

The most popular reason was “unique experiences” (71%), followed by “higher quality experiences” (57%). Conventional wisdom says that the rich visit escorts to avoid messy break-ups or extra demands for cash. But the study shows otherwise: “No strings attached,” ranked last as a reason.

“With the wealthy,” Mr. Prince says “it’s all about power and control and new experiences.”


Anonymous said...

This isn't a new procedure, and it wasn't (necessarily) done just to hoist wayward public officials by their own petard. Banks have been required to monitor and in some circumstances report various transactions of this size for quite a while (since 9/11?), and it's been in the news a couple of times over the last few years. If you did what Spitzer did, your bank is supposed to narc on you to the IRS too.

Anonymous said...

Apologies, not IRS, FBI since it's a "national security" thing (as pointed out in the post).

escorts said...

I'd say this review is pretty spot on with the food and the ambiance. What's nice is going to a restaurant and having waiters in tune with the rhythm of the table...knowing when to stay out of the way, knowing when to pour the wine (oh! my glass is full again! how did that happen?) knowing when to take your order and in which order to ask around the table. I've been 3 times. And the wine is....well, try it. It's art.

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pilebake said...

Due to her nasty body. She is now one of the rich person because she used to take money for sex and enjoy nasty bad with their clients. Sounds really fish of Spitzer's accounts.

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Once the person's attention is captured, he can stay engaged with what he's doing almost endlessly. Some may not be able to pay attention; ADD sexual compulsives usually can't stop paying attention. Hours and hours go by, chores don't get done, children and spouse are neglected, books go unread, the glory of the sound of music is muted. This type of erotic hyper attention can also take its toll in exhaustion, fatigue, and sometimes failing health.

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 He was chronically late at classes, his dorm was messy and his clothes were disheveled. He seemed to live in another world. Once on the job, he loved the thrill, excitement and risk of being a trader, but when he had to sit in boardrooms to listen to his bosses talk about strategy, his "eyes glazed over" with boredom and he entered into an "erotic haze". He would fantasize about the escort he had been with the night before and anticipated getting home after a long day to get on the chat rooms and look at pornography on the internet.

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