Sunday, November 20, 2005
The Fleiss Files
The net is a-titter over "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss' plan to open a brothel serving women, a "stud farm" in Las Vegas. Well, why not? Prostitution is legal in Nevada and legal brothels have been serving the male public (with "dates" of both genders) for decades. And its not as if prostitution serving the fairer sex is unknown in Las Vegas; I myself have been approached when I was there. (No thanks, but that's just me.)
What interests me about this story is that I have a personal connection with Heidi Fleiss: her dad was my son's pediatrician when we lived in Los Angeles. When Heidi was arrested for running a classy prostitution operation serving celebrities, politicians and affluent businesemen from a Benedict Canyon home,(in a massive surveillance operation that cost the city millions), Dr. Fleiss was also indicted for money laundering her profits.
By the time this all happened, it was the mid-nineties, my son was grown, graduated and gone, and I was living in a fabulous apartment in Venice Beach, a spacious former art gallery that was steps from the bike path. Heidi Fleiss lived in a nearby luxury condo and the garage in that building was the only nearby indoor parking for my little red coupe. One day, after having parked my car, I recognized a man walking out of the garage. "Dr. Fleiss!" I called out and he turned. We walked together, as it turned out he was seeing a lady, a single mother, who lived in my apartment building (which, like most older buildings in Venice Beach, did not have its own garage).
He remembered me and my son. I told him I felt so sorry for the troubles he was having over what was ultimately a victimless crime. He had pled guilty to tax evasion, his case was up for sentencing and he asked me if I'd write a letter to the judge on his behalf. And I did.
I wrote that he was not only a good doctor, but a reasonably priced doctor, that he never refused a patient, that he answered a call in the middle of the night, that he gave caring and valuable service to our community which would lose so much were he to be incarcerated. His sentence was suspended and a good man got back to his good work. Heidi got three years in prison.
Anyway, I wish Heidi good luck in her new venture. According to the celebrities in Los Angeles who frequented her previous "household," she did an excellent job, and probably would have reported her income -- if she could have. Given "madams" of Heidi's care and integrity (she never solicited a girl in her entire career, they were begging to work for her), prostitution can definitely be a victimless crime
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.
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