Troy Lowrie, strip club owner: Hear recording made just before his bust in prostitution sting
Update: Yesterday, strip-club owner and entrepreneur Troy Lowrie railed at Denver Police for busting him in a prostitution sting operation even though he didn't accept an undercover cop's offer. Now, however, audio of the encounter, which Lowrie says his attorney requested and never received, has surfaced. Get more details and hear it following our original post below.
Original item, 1:04 p.m. August 30: Today on Peter Boyles's KHOW program, Troy Lowrie openly discussed his July bust on a prostitution count. That's a subject most men in his position would prefer to dodge. But Lowrie, who owns a number of strip clubs, is speaking up to cast light on what he sees as the unfairness of the situation, including his dismissal as Golden High School tennis coach for a charge that was dropped.
Part of the radio conversation involved allegations that The Latest Word hadn't covered Lowrie's arrest because he's an advertiser. The truth is much simpler: I was on vacation when news broke. But the tale told by Lowrie certainly calls into question the incidents surrounding it.
"I accidentally ended up in the middle of a sting operation," he maintains. "And I think the Denver Police Department officers and a specific city attorney working with them that day tried to make the circumstances fit what they were looking for."
On July 13, Lowrie says, "I had eaten Mexican food on West Colfax, and was on my way back to my office when I got an important phone call from an adult-club owner -- the person I sold my Minneapolis club to.
"They had Colfax down to one lane between Winona and Sheridan, and there were jackhammers and all that," he continues. "So rather than sit in traffic, I pulled over to concentrate on the call. I parked about 200 feet off Colfax on Winona."
Lowrie says his cell phone records show he had several relatively brief conversations over the span of about twenty minutes; he spoke multiple times with the club owner, interrupted by a call back to his office to check on something that came up during the chat. Then, as he was hanging up, a woman knocked on the window of his black Hummer H2. "It has tinted windows, so I guess that looked suspicious to them," he says.
According to Lowrie, the woman asked for money "and said she wanted to earn it. I said, 'I'm not interested.' She said, 'I'll do this to you for thirty bucks.' I said, 'I'm not interested' again. She said she'd do something else for twenty bucks. And I said, 'Either you're totally overboard or you're a cop.'"
At that point, Lowrie says he rolled his window up and steered back onto Colfax, at which point a cop pulled him over. "The arresting officer said, 'Hey, Troy, remember me? I used to work in Jefferson County,'" he recalls. "That stuck out. I assume somebody ran my plates and knew who I was. They find out Troy Lowrie's here and figure, 'Let's send a girl to knock on his window and see what happens.'"
By his account, nothing did. But he says the police report claims he waved his arms and honked to get the undercover officer's attention. Hence, "they charged me with the crime of 'furthering,' which is a motion or gesture that leads to an act of prostitution. It's usually used against girls who jump in front of a car or something like that. Rarely if ever is it used against the male."
The incident didn't initially make the news. But the next week, Golden High School, where Lowrie coaches boys tennis, began spreading the word. "The high school, the state school board and the Jefferson County School District have to abide by a two-month-old law that says they have to e-mail all parents of a school where a teacher or coach is accused of or charged with a crime," he notes. "And if the parents put their children on their contact list, it goes to kids, too. That's why my daughter got an e-mail saying what her father was charged with" -- the prostitution count was specifically mentioned -- "before I even had a chance to talk to her about it."
Troy Lowrie's mug shot.
Approximately five weeks later, the matter quickly went away, at least from a criminal perspective. At a hearing to enter a plea, Lowrie was in the company of high-profile attorney Harvey Steinberg when "the same city attorney who'd been working that day walked up to Harvey and said, 'We don't have enough evidence to move forward. We're dismissing it.' And Harvey said, 'That's disappointing, because I wanted to challenge the constitutionality of the law. But in my client's best interest, I will accept the dismissal.'"
Shortly thereafter, the school district sent out what Lowrie describes as "a corrective e-mail, saying these charges were dismissed. But the original one said I wasn't available for re-hiring, and the second one was silent on that."
He isn't. Lowrie says he's "exploring" reinstatement as tennis coach, "but I haven't heard anything back." He adds that he's been totally upfront with the high school about the way he makes his living. "It was on my application," he says. "And everybody knows who I am. I'm very public. I was ringing the bell on the NASDAQ, I'm the CEO of one of Colorado's fastest growing companies. And nobody ever had a problem with it."
In contrast, he's troubled by plenty of what went down following his arrest. For one thing, "I'm interested in fixing potential violations the e-mail program has a propensity to cause. I think it needs to be reviewed to see how it could potentially destroy teachers' lives if they're accused of something" for which they're later exonerated.
In addition, he goes on, "I'm also looking at the damage the City and County of Denver has done to me. I was accused of something even though there's no evidence. The ticket says there was an audio track, but after multiple requests with the city attorney's office, it hasn't been provided to us. And you'd think there would be a videotape of it, too, but they didn't get videotape, either."
He portrays prostitution-oriented sting operations like the one in which he was ensnared as revenue enhancers. "I think they get $2,000 for impounding cars and $1,000 fine," he allows. "Most people who get charged with prostitution don't fight, and I think they arrested 31 people that day -- so they probably made close to $100,000 in revenue. And even if you're innocent, you still owe them money for impounding your car."
Not that his Hummer was taken away. "I don't know why I wasn't included," he says. "Maybe because they didn't want to blow up their illegal-seizure scam."
Although Lowrie hasn't committed to take on Denver in court, he says "it's my belief that if we ever get into depositions with the DPD or the city attorney who was there that day, we'll find out who decided this was a crime, at what point it became a crime, and if Troy Lowrie's identity had a role in it. Because I don't think it's illegal to roll down a window, I don't think it's illegal to park somewhere. And even if you take their report literally, it's not illegal to honk your horn and wave your arms. Harvey said, 'You did nothing wrong. There's nothing here that rose to the level of probable cause.'"
In Lowrie's view, he's uniquely positioned to voice such concerns. "There are times when being in the adult industry plays against me," he concedes. "But there are times when it's in my favor, and this is one of them. Who else will stand up to this when everybody else wants to bury their head in the sand over the prostitution issue?
"I have thick skin, but I've been damaged, either because I was like everybody else there, or because I'm Troy Lowrie. And I'd like to find out who made the decision to arrest me and what they think I did that was illegal."
Update: As Lowrie noted above, Denver police reps said the department had an audio recording of the encounter between him and an undercover policewoman. Now, the recording has been obtained by CompleteColorado.com. Unfortunately, though, the quality of the audio is highly variable. The policewoman can be heard much more clearly than can Lowrie.
The exchange begins with the policewoman saying, "Hey, baby, how's it goin'?" She later makes a series of chipper come-ons, presumably interrupted by responses from Lowrie that are muffled or inaudible.
Her side of the conversation: "Okay! I was wondering about you!... I'm sorry, I'm a student... Wanted it for free and I said no way, no way... I saw you driving around, and I thought I'd walk up. And then you'd drive away. And I was like, I don't get it! [Raucous laughter.] I'm sorry, are you looking for some company?"
At this moment, Lowrie's voice is heard -- and he seems to say, "Yes."
"What kind of company are you looking for?" the policewoman asks. "Are you looking for anything special? Have any money on you?"
Too bad Lowrie's replies aren't discernible -- and many of the policewoman's subsequent comments are swallowed by background noise, too. But after around a minute of back-and-forth, it's clear that Lowrie has not made a deal.
"Are you sure?" the policewoman asks. "You might like it." Then, she says, "I'll be hanging out here for a while, if you want to get my attention."
Of course, the officer who came to Lowrie's notice next was the one who arrested him as he tried to drive away.
The recording doesn't disprove the claims made by Lowrie above, but it leaves plenty of room for interpretation by doubters, as well as by those inclined to believe him. As reported by Patricia Calhoun earlier today, he's expected to discuss the matter further with KHOW's Peter Boyles beginning shortly after 8 a.m. this morning.
In the meantime, click here to listen to the Denver Police audio, courtesy of CompleteColorado.com.
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