Michael Hancock prostitution-article reporter waiting for mainstream outlet to pick up story

michael hancock in pensive pose small.JPG
Michael Hancock.
On Friday, we pointed to a CompleteColorado.com post claiming that mayoral frontrunner Michael Hancock's name and number had been linked to Denver Players, the prostitution ring that ensnared Judge Edward Nottingham. This morning, we'd hoped to talk to the site's Todd Shepherd about his reporting methodology, but he now says he's lying low until after a mainstream outlet follows the story -- a designation that apparently doesn't include Westword.

In a note to folks on his mailing list, Shepherd explains that he's decided against conducting interviews about the story until a mainstream media outlet picks it up, adding that he's heard that at least three news organizations are pursuing it. He then gives permission to quote directly from a subsequent section, which reads:

First, many people have commented about the redactions on the documents I provide. Let me say that I looked at these documents prior to redaction. I think that's important, and I regret I didn't emphasize that in the original publication. I will add an update later today.

Second, I realize I was unclear that the four pages of documents I provided in my report were not the only documents I reviewed. I reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, none of which were forgeries in my opinion for multiple reasons. So those 4 pages were the most relevant documents, but the hundreds of other documents certainly helped to authenticate the four I provided.

Third, my source was incredibly detailed in "authenticating" the "customer database," in terms of what a customer had to do to end up on that database, how the db was maintained, and how customers and phone numbers were verified.

In no way did I "time" this story. I did give the Hancock campaign a time limit by which I requested they reply to the story (which they did), but other than that, I didn't "time" the story as I've been accused. I don't "time" stories, because ultimately, the media gods will laugh at you. The day you time your "big" story will be the same day that a huge mylar balloon goes up in Ft. Collins, etc.

Shepherd concludes by noting that two weeks ago, he told a friend that if he were a Denver resident, he would have voted for Hancock.

Did the campaign of Chris Romer, Hancock's rival, provide Shepherd with this information, as numerous commenters on our Facebook page and original post have argued? Definitely not, according to Romer communication director Laura Chapin. Via e-mail, she writes, "Any suggestion or insinuation that the Romer campaign had any knowledge or connection to this story is patently false and outrageous."

For those of you who've lost track, tomorrow is the day when mayoral votes will be tallied. It's too late to mail in your ballot, but it can be delivered to one of thirteen voting centers in the city. To find one near you, click here. And for another take on the subject, check out this Patricia Calhoun item: "Scarlet Ranch, Scottie Ewing, Michael Hancock, Denver Players & the swingers story that lives on."

More from our Politics archive: "Michael Hancock campaign on poll numbers, negative attacks -- and 'Jailhouse Rock.'"

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13 comments
Perry Cook
Perry Cook

This issue has been misunderstood by many. Have checked the page and have read the arguments about it. Well, this maybe dead but still people's idea should always be prioritized.

selective factoring
selective factoring

That's sound appear to looks like a nice article to me. Really informative for it's all discussion about Michael Hancock prostitution. Anyway Keep it up as like big post. :)

Rutland Hotel
Rutland Hotel

It's the same for me too, if I were a Denver resident, I would have never voted for Hancock.

christinashreen
christinashreen

Michael Hancock,has a great plan for his political career in this coming election.If I were the voters of the country,I'm going to vote for him.

Laurel Canyon '66
Laurel Canyon '66

How come nobody but Peter Boyles is wearing this shirt? This is like an atomic bomb if the paperwork is put to The Smoking Gun as the city's famous would melt.

A-K Dan
A-K Dan

Amazing how KHOW's Peter Boyles rags on how the Denver News Media has RUN AWAY from this story - while he seems to have RUN AWAY from his former MAIN TOPIC of Barack Obama's eligibility to be President?

    This is CLEAR NOW - as there's absolutely NOTHING about Obama on Boyle's KHOW Website Pages - http://www.khow.com/pages/boyl... - as one of his #1 guests - Dr. Jerome Corsi's book "Where's the Birth Certificate" surges on best seller lists & I was called an idiot by Boyles for pointing this out to him on the air & another caller who recently pointed out how Boyles avoids talk of Obama was told, "Awwh, talk is cheap..." as Boyles quickly hung up on him too ?

And Patricia Calhoun says Boyles former prominence as one of the nation's most prolific 'Birther Radio' hosts is NOT a local story, as she & Michael Roberts give Boyles a pass on his obvious hypocrisy !

  But hey Boyles, as you SLAM Mike Littwin, Brian Maas, Deborah Sherman & Marshall Zellenger - it appears the BIG 'Double Standard' is YOU & maybe you like that new Motorcycle you just got - MORE than dishing on Obama, while you claim Lee Larsen never told you to 'Shut Up' about Obama !!!

Kay Sieverding
Kay Sieverding

One way to advance the story is to pursue an FOI request w the U.S. Attorney for the records of the Denver Players that were received in the federal lawsuit USA v. Brenda Stewart District of Colorado 10-cr-00580.  For the purposes of the FOI they are agency records in the possession of an agency even though they were originally court records. I have a citation for that if you need it.To do so, write 

Susan B. Gerson,Acting Assistant DirectorFOIA/Privacy Unit
Executive Officefor United States AttorneysDepartment of Justice
Room 7300, 600 E Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20530-0001

To refuse release, DOJ would have to site one of the reasons in the Freedom of Information Act such as privacy of third parties.  Then through administrative appeal or federal lawsuit ($350), the person appealing would have to refute that -- i.e. there is no right to privacy when purchasing prostitution, because procuring or receiving prostitution are crimes, and there is a public interest in release, because government officials are involved and that affects their ability to deliver honest services free from blackmail or bribery.  Also, you could argue that since Brenda is charged with income tax evasion and everyone knows that prostitution services cannot be reported as legal income that there was a conspiracy to enable the Denver Players to evade both Colorado and federal income taxes.    You don't have to get into any rationale to ask, only to pursue records if refused.

Larrymdecicco
Larrymdecicco

The "jourmalism" from TV and the Post continues to be the same ignorance of the facts in plain sight that it was when Romer and Pena turned DA into the campaign contribution boondoggle it became for the taxpayers. The fact that Tina Egrecious, Mike Nitwitwin, etal, have buried this when their rag endorsed the opponent further illustrates that not only is the paper not interested in reporting news that doesn't fit their goals, but that the true hard stories are filtered.

That being said, if Hancock mans up and admits his actions and apologizes to whoever it hurt; further, if he promises not to let his past follibles influence his capacity to govern, I believe he could be effective. Otherwise, he will become another Weiner.

Todd Shepherd
Todd Shepherd

Mr. Roberts:

All apologies if you feel I don't think Westword is "mainstream."  To the contrary, I love Westword's journalists and reporting.  So, I apologize for not being more clear:  I meant a mainstream media outlet (Westword and all associated blogs included) which advances the story.  Your previous reporting on my reporting was, for all intents and purposes, a "recap" of what I reported on, and, correct me if I'm wrong, Westword did not independently substantiate or advance my work.

CompleteColorado.com is fond of WW, and I'm willing to bet your web statistics bear that out.

Warmest regards,

ts

Robert
Robert

Nice people don't talk about such things.  Denver seems caught between quaint, Midwestern niceness and white, liberal reverse-racism -- am I endorsing the other candidate?  No, but with a political discourse so puerile, how can Denver imagine that it is facing up to its problems?

Kay Sieverding
Kay Sieverding

I've been following this story closely because Judge Nottingham ruined my life. He was assigned to my civil lawsuit against the City of Steamboat Springs and Kevin Bennett, the convicted drug dealer who was my adjoining neighbor and the city council president.  Bennett and I had a long boundary dispute involving city powers.  We had a First Amendment Retaliation Claim because I was criminally prosecuted without even a statement of probable cause based solely on a signature of Kevin Bennett's wife on a form reserved for police officers witnessing a crime. The police report said that I complained they were violating the zoning. City officials claimed that a two store 2000 square foot detached building with central heating and plumbing was a two car garage.  Nottingham dismissed my claims without writing an opinion. Then he ordered me to pay the defense lawyers $100K + without a Rule 11(c)(6) order describing the sanctioned conduct and explaining the basis for the sanction. Then he ordered USMS to imprison me without a criminal charge or bail hearing in order to stop me from getting a hearing in a different court.  This all overlapped in time with Nottingham's use of prostitutes. In fact the day he spent $3K at the Diamond Cabaret lap dance club was right after I was imprisoned.  The City's attorney said something I remember, not on the transcript, about Bennett coming all the way from Steamboat. So my theory is that Bennett brought a credit card for Nottingham to use and that Nottingham charged more on AMEX after maxing out that credit card.  My experience with U.S. Courts was so bad that I would never recommend that anyone file a civil lawsuit.  In retrospect, I  would have been better off if I had murdered my neighbor than I was suing him but I am anti-violence, afraid of guns, a gun control advocate, a woman of words, a law-abiding citizen etc. 

As you know it is not necessary to have a credit card to charge it, only the number is needed. That makes it easy for someone to supply a credit card for someone else's services, including prostitution.  Other brothels were listing the services as "investment advice". Merchant services doesn't verify what is sold and only responds to complaints. The articles about the government search warrant said they got Nottingham's cell phone number and lawyers credit card numbers.  The search warrant articles also said there were names of other government officials returned.  Anyway, I looked up USA v. Brenda Stewart on PACER 10-cr-00580. That is the criminal prosecution of the Denver Players madame for income tax evasion.  Everything is sealed. There wasn't even a motion to seal them.  

I don't understand why the sealing is legitimate. Criminal trials are supposed to be public.  "Johns" have no right to privacy. The credit card numbers could be redacted while leaving the names.

Maybe the files could be obtained from the U.S. Attorney under FOIA or maybe they would just release them with the redacted credit card numbers if requested.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

I don't think anyone wants to be another Weiner these days. Thanks for the post, Larry.

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