Another Guilty Plea for Emporer’s Club V.I.P.

In Case of Escort Ring Tied to Spitzer, a Fourth Guilty Plea From a Booker

A holistic health counselor who worked as a part-time booker for the escort service that the authorities say was patronized by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer pleaded guilty on Monday to a federal prostitution conspiracy charge.

The counselor, Tanya Hollander, 36, told a federal judge in Manhattan that at first, she believed she was working for “a legitimate business” that made appointments for models and clients.

But she said that she had continued to work for the service, known as Emperor’s Club V.I.P., even after learning that it was involved in prostitution.

Ms. Hollander, who lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., is the fourth defendant charged in the ring to enter a guilty plea.

The judge, Deborah A. Batts of Federal District Court, told Ms. Hollander that she could face up to five years in prison when she is sentenced on Nov. 25.

The Latest Bestest Idea on Sex Worker-Media Realtions from Desiree Alliance

A note about Desiree Coverage:

I’m just talking about things that tickled or interested me particularly, or workshops I personally attended, this is not meant to be comprehensive and anything I write about is only a minute glimpse of the many amazing things happening here right now. Also I am leaving out names of anyone that I don’t personally know or I know to be public figures in an attempt to respect privacy. I’m sorry if this means that only the same 3 or 4 people get mentioned by name, please feel free to comment and take credit for anything you said or did that I didn’t attribute to you.

A group of well spoken media whores from SWANK/SWOP NYC are in the middle of a panel presentation called “Sex Workers and Mainstream Media: What We Learned from “Spitzergate”-Tools and Inspiration for Progressive Messaging” moderated by Audacia Ray.

They have explained some of the trials, horrors and hard-won victories against the New York Times that came from the media frenzy surrounding Spitzergate. So the issue of media accountability and how to handle mainstream media is a major topic of conversation. A fucked up interview can really do a lot of harm, one of the presenters lost her job based on misrepresentation from a New York Times interviewer. However after 2 weeks of hard work and legal threats to the editor they succeeded in getting a retraction printed; a major win in terms of realistic representation and the ability of sex workers to create their own image. Audacia has a helpful guide for talking to the media on her blog Sexwork 101, but the fact is that most of the mainstream media does not care enough to veer from their pre-existing concepts of what sex workers do and think (like the assumption that ‘sex worker’ means prostitute), and of course sensationalism sells papers ad gets clicks.

Ok, this may be redundant, there are very eloquent accounts of sex worker response to Spitzer all over this blog and many others.

But KittenINFINITE came up with a brilliant new tool to watchdog the media and train them to treat us respectfully and portray us realistically: a white list and black list of media contacts, widely posted and updated. So anytime a reporter does a story with fair and accurate representation of sex workers their name and contact is added to our media ally list, and anytime a reporter fucks up or drops the ball, they get added to the Hall of Shame. A key point to help encourage compliance would be that if someone googled the reporters name there place in the Hall of Shame would pop right up. A perfect addition to BNG, I think.

Stacey then followed with her own brilliant idea: A National (or possibly International) Sex Workers Speakers Bureau to create a collected resource of media savvy and ready sex workers who are willing to speak publicly on a variety of subjects. An intensive media training conference could be arranged, and there would be a variety of speakers with different core interests and back-grounds to address whatever demographic or issue the mainstream media was covering.

The call was then put for people to “bottom line” these two projects (New York terminology cracks me up.) So who wants to compile the media info and let us know who is worth talking to and who to avoid?  And who wants to work on organizing a media focused coalition of sex workers….Veronica Monet? Are you out there?

Just a personal note: the sex worker activists from New York always impress the pants right off me. They present such an organized, smart and dedicated face to addressing sex worker issues and needs. They can pull off the air of professionalism often required to get the lay world to listen and take us seriously, while retaining and conveying a broad scope of information and the interests of diverse communities of workers. I love the variety of styles of activism our community encompasses, and the $pread and Swanks of this movement play a key role.

And The Next Plea Deal Goes To . . .

3rd Guilty Plea in “Prostitution Ring”

A 62-year-old former tax specialist who ran the high-priced online escort service that was patronized by Eliot Spitzer pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal prostitution and money laundering charges.

I know we’ve touched on this here before, but the use of “prostitution ring” irritates me. What does that mean, really?

Thank You, Iris de la Cruz!

Here is a New York Times article about Iris House, named for PONY co-founder Iris
de la Cruz.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/nyregion/18divas.html?ref=nyregion

Iris House, named for Iris de la Cruz, who died of AIDS in 1991 after
working as an advocate for women with the disease, opened 15 years
ago as one of the first women-centered AIDS groups in the nation.
Financed by foundations and individuals, the organization distributes
100,000 condoms a month on neighborhood streets and provides
counseling and cooking classes to people with H.I.V. and AIDS.

Plea Expected for Primary Booker in “Prostitution Ring” Linked to Spitzer

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/nyregion/13plea.html

Several former prosecutors and defense lawyers said the movement toward resolving the charges against Ms. Lewis and her codefendants suggested that prosecutors were nearing a decision on whether to prosecute Mr. Spitzer. The pleas do not indicate clearly what decision the government might reach, they said.

“It’s an indication — it’s not definitive” that a decision is near on Mr. Spitzer, said Patricia A. Pileggi, a criminal defense lawyer who served for 25 years as a federal prosecutor, five of them as the chief of the public corruption unit in the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

Brandy Bergman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, declined to comment, as did Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the office of Michael J. Garcia, United States attorney in Manhattan, which is prosecuting the prostitution case.

Will Spitzer ever be forced to endure a day in court?