How the other half lives

The FT’s John Gapper has been following up on the Eliot Spitzer story.

The Emperors Club VIP was clearly at the top end of prostitution enterprises. It operated across borders – in Paris and London as well as in US cities – and it was very expensive. Clients had to pay between $1,000 and $5,500 per hour for its services.

Like other service businesses, it had a loyalty club for the most elite clients who paid even more than $5,500 per hour, known as the Icon Club. It allowed some clients to “buy out” their favourite prostitutes, permitting the men direct access to the women without going through the Emperors Club.

The 47-page complaint shows the Emperors Club also faced many operating challenges. The federal wiretaps of conversations show the organisers facing problems such as having too few prostitutes for the demand from clients in one city and having to hassle clients to pay their bills.

One problem was to get the prostitutes to get correct imprints of the clients’ American Express cards. The complaint states that one of the organisers asked another:

“To ask the prostitutes to fax the imprints, or if that did not work, to scan them and email the imprints and then send the originals in the event of a dispute with the clients about the charge, or if American Express inquired.”

Wonder how many corporate wives will now look askance at their husband’s Amex accounts?