No doubt, I’ve mentioned a daily ritual which includes my stepping out to the local Mickey D’s for coffee somewhere around 6 or 7 AM. This morning was especially appealing as the weather was cool, crisp and clear…and almost nobody around owing to the holiday.
Somewhere around 7th Street I saw an Asian lady coming up First Avenue as I headed south. For a second she looked familiar. But I thought nothing about it until she stopped with a surprised look on her face. “Billy-ah!” said she. It was one of a half dozen or so Korean phone girls I counted as real friends way back when. And so we stopped and talked for what must have been 20 minutes.
It turns out that Sadie (wrong name for an already fake name) was on premises when the Feds raided the place where she worked back in April of 2016. For 6 hours, she sat there as a dozen or so Federal agents showed her pictures and asked several questions all of which she answered so as to reveal nothing! (For example, they asked if she knew Billy…to which she responded “Billy! We have a lot of customers named Billy,” You get the idea.) Eventually, they let her go – which is essentially what they did with all the phone girls – most of whom were shall we say, less than forthcoming with their interrogators.
So what happened with all these girls who got caught up in the initiative? One owner who went for a 50k private lawyer, got just one month behind bars and was then summarily sent home. If she wants to come back, a porous Canadian border would be her only option. Hopefully, the lure of what turned out to be the American Nightmare isn’t strong enough for her to embark on that particular endeavor.
Oddly (but not a big surprise), that owner’s phone girl is currently serving 18 months! How could that happen? There’s a lesson here. First, MJ opted for a court-appointed lawyer. WTF?!?! I mean…I’m cheap. But when the shit hit the fan, I knew not to sail in steerage. It didn’t occur to MJ that using a lawyer who’s being paid by the very people who just busted you might not be such a good idea.
And then MJ had another problem: letting more than one owner use her name on the commercial lease in exchange for monthly payments. The Feds told her she was money-hungry at sentencing. When I told this story to my pretrial officer, she commented “So the owner with the fancy lawyer threw her employee under the bus. Not the first time something like that happened.”
Rose House’s owner is currently serving 6 months (I believe) and will be shipped home at the end of her sentence. And still others are in limbo. Sometimes, the Federal wheels turn slowly (to which I can surely attest) and not everybody’s fate has been decided. But what you can count on as a consumer of their particular service, is that virtually all of the apprehended owners (many of whom answered their own phones or worked in the room at some point in your hobbying) will be sent home and won’t be returning. The finality in these Federal cases stands in stark contrast to NYPD initiatives which put the girls out of work for just a hot minute – and certainly not a lifetime – at least in the US of A!
Well, all in all, it was quite a conversation I had this morning, I’m sure we can all agree. When the Feds come-a-knockin’, the fat lady has sung. No doubt about that one!