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Saturday, June 26, 2010

A night at the Hotel Lucia

Al Gore's Second Chakra Problem, as envisioned by our friends in Taiwan:

[Via The O.]

Comments (24)

YOu can take out the voice track - The music and poodle image got my vote.

Al should've promised her he could've gotten Bill Clinton and him on the next trip for a 2-for-1.

I read the Portland Tribune's sanctimonious response explaining why they didn't run the story.
Oh, the nobility they showed. Oh, the journalistic integrity!!!!!
The only problem is that they had the story of Mayor Goldschmidt
and the 14-year-old and they sat on that too. So they stayed in the safe zone while WW won a Pulitzer.
I wonder if one reason the masseuse didn't pursue this is because our local media is too busy chasing the fluff, to protect the powerless. Maybe she felt like she had nobody on her side in this matter.

That goes for the Oregonian too. When their editors aren't out getting arrested, they can sometimes come off as the advance team of PR agents for OHSU or South Waterfront's latest scam. For years, we get the fluffy selling points, and the hard journalism only follows after it's too late.

When the Tribune finally waded into the story of Mayor Goldschmidt's crimes - you know, when it was safe to proceed -
the first thing Phil Stanford did was apologize in print to the victim. I thought that was appropriate.

This masseuse could deserve an apology as well. There is a way that stories are looked into when an organization really wants to know, and a way they get looked into when everyone would just feel a whole lot better if it all went away.
And one of the determining factors is, "Do we really want to upset the powerful?"

These executives can dress decisions up in all kinds of platitudes, but siding with the powerful over the weak is never a hard choice.

So the Portland Tribune needs to get over itself. They can get all high and mighty about their journalistic integrity in this matter - as they run stories about it now - but I'd rather see them getting attention for something they did - rather than something they failed to do. Show some nerve - it would be good for business.
One thing is certain: Mayor Goldschmidt's underage victim could have used some help from the 4th Estate. Even all those years later, when the story finally broke, the Oregonian referred to it as an "affair." 14-years-old.

Is this masseuse the latest victim of a sex crime who was left to fend for herself against the powerful on her own?

But, but, but, he won a Nobel Prize!

The poodle is the star.

To me these stories are interesting only when they involve men in public life who sanctimoniously and hypocritically espouse a kind of morality that they themselves don't practice. Otherwise, they're just commonplace offenses against decency and good behavior, and not really newsworthy.

"Otherwise, they're just commonplace offenses against decency and good behavior, and not really newsworthy."

Tell that to Bob Packwood who lost his Senate seat because he did even less than Al is accused of.

Allan, given Al's Democrat status, he's just as guilty for being a hypocrite given their standard view on sexual harrassment laws. If the allegations are true...

I'd love nothing more, since it would be another case of hypocrisy from the left on that issue (NOW defending Clinton was most amusing). That said, I'm skeptical until decent evidence shows up because we live in a society that still takes women at their word far too often and lets them get away with lies when caught just as often. That or we take the word of a cop stuck on airport bathroom guard duty. The only evidence there was Senator Toe tapper's response to the arrest.

There can only be one Ben here and it is me,the cynic caysaying critic of all things local goverment.

This other Ben talking about a poodle Posted by Ben | June 26, 2010 10:42 AM
has to change or add to his name.

As for the Tribune.

They have standards and now that Tribune President Steve Clark is on the TriMet board they can do a better job of reporting on MAX and WES etc?

Is that funny?


naysaying critic of all things local government

BTW in this week's TriMet board meeting Fred Hansen, when asked for details, told the board that TriMet has a $50 million per year unfunded liability that is off books. The total "Other Post Employment Benefits" liability is now around $700 million and rising.

The Board did not even bat an eye, had no follow up questions and passed Hansen's budget as requested.

I wonder is Steve Clark will have the Tribune report this time bomb at TriMet?

The still frame of that video looks like the masseuse is giving a handjob to a well-endowed Commander Data on the holodeck of the Starship Enterprise.

All politics aside, I see this event as a misunderstanding between a client who thought it was clear what he was buying and a service provider who had a vastly different expectation of the same transaction.

IMO, having the masseuse stick around for chocolates and wine, allegedly while trying to find the right time to extricate herself from the room (rather than splitting ASAP), only served to arouse the customer.

The real story here that has yet to be told is Al Gore, er, Mr. Stone's proclivity for the same type of second chakra relief in other hotels during his busy travels around the globe.

A $540 massage bill? Let's call it what it really was -- prostitution. He's probably guilty of having seriously bad judgement (and cheating on his wife), but I really doubt he forced himself on the masseuse. She probably sees / saw the incident as her golden ticket (maybe starting by selling her story to the National Enquirer?).

It happened 4 years ago. That's not much of a pursuit of a golden ticket.

Did you not realize that?

As for the $540 massage bill, how much should it be for a middile of the night house call?

How do you get prostitution just from the bill?

Doc Golightly, if you could get good old Al to say his $540 was for prostitution and not for a massage groping encounter, I'd go along with that. That would clear things up for me. Good luck.

And when did soliciting for prostitutes in Oregon become legal? Take your pick: sexual harassment, soliciting, hypocrite, infidelity.....

Also, it's not like the Tribune has never run a similar story about local figures around this town. It was definitely a cover-up like the Oregonian with Neil. I'm sure even the O had a take on this story. But our local media seems to wait for others to step forward, even waiting for the National Enquirer.


The fact that she waited 4 years before following up with the police definitely shows an interest in finding the golden ticket (along with saving her pants, etc.). If she really was attacked, wouldn't she have spoken with the police 4 years ago? The police followed up with her right after the "incident" and she did not want to speak with them. Four years later (when he's going through marital problems) she sells her story to the National Enquirer? Seriously?

And yes -- $540 for a massage smacks of prostitution, middle of the night or not. If she was a prostitute, he was an idiot for using her. If she wasn't a prostitute, he was an idiot for calling a masseuse up to his room alone in the middle of the night. There are a lot of people out there (she may be one of them) that would love 15 minutes of fame (and the accompanying monetary benefits) by falsely accusing someone famous. You would think he would have been smarter than that.

Your analysis seems flawed and naive, especially this section:

"If she really was attacked, wouldn't she have spoken with the police 4 years ago? The police followed up with her right after the "incident" and she did not want to speak with them."

But where's the discussion of how the police came to know about the incident in the first place?

The article last Wednesday in the Oregonian said,

"The Multnomah County district attorney's office was aware that the woman's attorney filed a complaint with police about two months after the encounter, but the woman didn't show up for three scheduled interviews with police investigators."

I think she told her attorney about it, but was too scared to proceed. You're puzzled that she didn't want to be interviewed by the police in a criminal matter where she's accusing a former Vice President of the United States? Is that really a mystery? Maybe the Gore camp was informed of the complaint and got to her. It's possible.

If anything, the way the police found out about it bolsters the woman's credibility a lot in my eyes.

But our papers don't want to go there. That's why they are subtly shifting into that silly tone where the whole story is just a little ridiculous. There are no Jason Roberts-editor-types in this town - that is for sure.

I loved Jason Roberts in "All the President's Men." It was great seeing
a newspaper editor with true courage take on the powerful when a story seemed to have credibility - and this one does.

Here we get columnist Steve Duin saying he tends to believe her while ridiculing how she finally "dumped" her account on the police. What's missing from that?

At no time does Steve go near a key question in any sex crime: How and when is it reported to authorities.
In this case, it's the complaint her attorney made about it 2 months afterwards. There is a ton of focus on the lurid details from her account years later but what about the initial complaint? Why did her attorney make that? What's it say that nothing happened next? Did the woman say to herself, "I'm not going after money now, but I want a paper trail in case there's a big recession coming up and I need to go after money in a few years"?

I'm not that surprised about $500 for a room service massage at the Lucia. A bottle of water is probably $7.

What all of you seem fail to understand about the Trib is who owns it. Robert Pamlin Jr, is the scion of a timber rapist (that's what some of us who once worked for companies like Georgia-Pacific (and others too) refer to them as) owning family. He's rich, white, and ultra-conservative. And if you want a really well written critique of the Trib, check this Nigel Jaqioss story out: http://wweek.com/story.php?story=2417

That paper is not about to rock the boat of anything much (unless perhaps it's someone Pamplin has a beef with) and it's certainly unlikely to be too objective.

Jack is right, I doubt that Al's adventures would fly for much less than Mr. Spitzer did,


Legitimate Massage is between $90-$125/hr, and the callout fee and hotel service fee probably worked into the picture.

A high class call girl would have run him four to five figures.

The rotten shame of it all is that because of crap like this a very valuable service that can really help muscular- skeletal pain and disorders in a safe and effective way, is linked to the old "Massage Parlor" as a euphemism for Whore house mentality.


I hate to be on the other side of this issue with you -- I'm generally pretty amazed at your insight and commentary, but I think you're off base on this issue. This encounter comes down to who you are going to believe. The fact is that massage therapists who work in hotels have a reputation for engaging in prostitution. The accuser herself says that much in this Oregonian article: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/06/massage_therapist_whos_accused.html While not every massage therapist engages in prostitution, there is definitely a reputation that must be acknowledged.

Here's the big question concerning this encounter: is the accuser believable? I don't think she is for a number of reasons. First, I think that it is very suspicious that she waited several years to talk to the police. Yes, he was the Vice President, but I've met Al Gore a couple of times myself and, while he never tried crazy poodle sex on me, he's just not very intimidating as a person. I know that I wouldn't be afraid of simply leaving an uncomfortable situation if he was involved. In addition, it's a bit disingenuous for people to think that "his people" hushed her up. He's a former politician -- he doesn't have his own police force that silences would be accusers. Second, a professional massage therapist would have stopped the session immediately if there was any inappropriate contact -- by her own account, she didn't. Third, she waited around and had wine and chocolate with him after all of the alleged groping? That also doesn't sound plausible and/or professional. Fourth, she apparently sold her story to the National Enquirer. As such, she has a financial stake in her allegations whether founded or not. That action alone should make anyone pause and really question the veracity of her statements before taking anything she says at face value.

I do think that he made a serious error in judgment by calling her to his room, alone, at night. He just set himself up for this kind of problem. Most politicians and public figures are very, very careful to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. In addition, you never want to give someone the opportunity to make unfounded accusations against you. We may never know what really happened, but I would bet money that there is more to this story. I will look forward to accepting your apology if it turns out she lied.


I'll apologize right now if I ticked you off.
This is just one of those things where we take what little facts that are not in dispute and determine our opinion. We're dealing with shades of credibility here - not certainty. You apparently accept that Al Gore was drinking that night - but you don't really know that. You chose to buy that part. Steve Duin tends to believe the gist of her story. That's his opinion.
I do too.
The part that is lost in the shuffle is the initial complaint by the woman's attorney.
How do you analyze that?
By the way, I've met Al Gore a couple of times too, but I never pictured him ordering a late evening masseuse to help him unwind.
If he's having trouble sleeping, he should just replay one of his old campaign speeches.

Reading your comment again, I see the question mark. Sorry, you don't assume Gore was drinking.


You definitely didn't tick me off -- the request for an apology was my weak attempt at Stephen Colbert humor. I think you are absolutely right about shades of credibility being the issue. In this case, my first instinct is to give Al Gore the benefit of the doubt since he's never been accused of something like this before (to my knowledge), since he has lived an outstanding life dedicated to public service, and since her story doesn't make sense to me. I don't know the accuser's life story, but I would hope that the general public would realize how easy it can be for someone (such as the accuser) to make up a story and ruin a good public servant's image and reputation. It does sound to me like he made some errors in judgment, but we'll see what happens.


P.S. You (and Jack) are amazing assets to the City of Portland. Keep up the good fight.


There can only be one Ben here and it is me,
Posted by Ben | June 26, 2010 4:32 PM

When Bens are outlawed, only outlaws will be Bens.

RE: The massage price
If Bill Clinton in 1993 can get a haircut for $200, John Kerry gets his for $400 and John Edwards regularly get his campaign to pay $400 for his, $500 for a massage at midnight is a bargain.

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