Inside Eliot Spitzer's World of $50,000 Girls; Hookers' Haunt: The Prestigious Mayflower Hotel, Just Four Blocks from the White House Tarnished crusader:New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, Caught Using the Emperor's Club Prostitution Ring (Left), Apologises with His Wife, Silda Wall

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Byline: VICKY WARD

THE MAYFLOWER hotel in Washington is a vast place, more like a shoppingmall than a hotel. You feel a bit lostinthelobbyamidthe hustleandbustleof (mostly)menin suitsmarchingbackandforth,often wheeling their overnight bags for their short stays in the nationscapital.

Givenitssize,centrallocationand price,theMayflowerattractsahefty clientele of businessmenand, as New York Governor Eliot Spitzer apparently knows all too well, high-endprostitutes.

On Monday I was summoned to go on US television to discuss sudden allegationsthat Spitzer, 48, our aggressive but puritanicalgovernor,knownforhis prosecution of Wall Street corruption in his former career as AttorneyGeneral, hadbeennamedasClient9ina criminalcomplaint,exposingahigh-endprostitutionring,theEmperors Club, where the girls charge up to $10,000 a night for fantasy sex.

Accordingtotheallegations,which caught everyone by surprise, on 13 February Spitzer had booked himselfinto the hotel under the name of a friend, George Fox.After settling his account with the agency,whichhehadallegedlyused before,SpitzerbookedKristenalmost certainly not her real namea stunning petite brunette, weighing 105lbs and standing five foot fivefor a few hours for just over $4,000. (He was allowed to see a picture of herbody, not her face, beforehand.) He was caught, it is said, thanks to aninvestigation into an irregularity in his tax records. The US tax office, theIRS investigated, only for its agents to find that they had stumbled into anFBI probe of this prostitution ring.

On Monday afternoon, with his pretty wife,SildaWall,50,aformerlawyer whomhemetatHarvardLawSchool (Spitzer is her second husband) and their threeteenagedaughtersbesidehim, Spitzer apologised for acting in a way that violated his obligations tohis family but without admitting or denying using prostitutes. And he gave nohint he would resign, despite heavy pressure to do so.

DespiteSpitzersrepeatedcallsfor moralityingovernment,Iwasnt surprised. Id last seen him a few weeks ago walking into a birthday partyfor TV anchorChristiane Amanpour, newly arrived back in New York from London.

He looked sharp and he knew it. He had thatlookof superiorityabouthim, which comes with being born rich, good-lookingand destined for power. They think they can get away with anything.

Spitzer in particular would think this way. The son of a wealthy real estatebusinessman, he attended elite private schools,going on to Princeton and Harvard Law School.

HecuthisteethintheManhattan District Attorneys office, focusing, like formerMayorRudyGiuliani,on organisedcrime.Hewaselected Attorney General in 1998 and became the poster boy for exposing fraudon Wall Street.Lastyear,whensworninas governor,hepledgedtocleanup the state le gislature. He was named Crusader of the Year by Time.

Privately, though, he had a seedy secret life which has shocked his friends andcolleagues.

I have spent the past year investigating several high-class call girl rings,one in Washington,DC,namedthePamela Martin agency, run by Jeane Palfrey, who stands trial in April.

PamelaMartinwassimilartothe Emperors Club in price (it ranges from $1,000 for a low-level hour and$50,000 for the weekend) and clientele.

I have met many high-end Washington prostitutes, while researching a book I amwriting on the 1960s French madam, Claude Grudet. Her girls were famous forbeing the most expensive and glamorous in the world. The girls often ended upmarrying their clients, who ranged fromroyalty to movie stars and are even said to have included JFK.

From my investigations,itisclear that in Washington, in particular of all American cities, the sex tradeis booming. This, after all, is not known as a mob town,somadamsarenotafraidof runningintotoughmenwantingto steal their business. Its also a hub where men come for one night or two andare often lonely. …