Taking Care of Business (chapter 26)

For an introduction to the novel Taking Care of Business, links to all chapters posted so far, and a list of characters who have appeared so far, go here, to the Taking Care of Business resources page. To see every part of Taking Care of Business posted so far in one place, go here.)

The following morning the alarm clock sounded at 6:00 a.m. in the penthouse condominium occupied by Mayor Norbert, his wife, and their teenaged daughter. Norbert immediately turned off the alarm, arose from his bed, and shuffled barefoot out of the room, down the hallway, and through the living room to the front door. There, he unlocked the deadbolt, opened the door, bent over, and picked up his morning newspaper. Retreating to the kitchen, he could hear the coffee already brewing as he sat down and saw a headline that made his stomach flip.

Police Bust Prostitution Ring: Ianucci Implicated

The Philadelphia police department late last night announced the arrest of the leader of what it described as a “major prostitution ring” that involved sixty high-end call girls and records that reportedly implicate hundreds of the ring’s customers, including many as-yet unnamed high-level local business executives, public officials, and professional athletes.

Arrested last night was Eugene Doctoroff, thirty-nine, of Drexel Hill, who allegedly owns the Philadelphia Escort Service, through which police maintain he operated the prostitution ring. Six alleged prostitutes were arrested as well, with police indicating they have issued warrants for the remaining women.

Sources suggest that the bust came at the conclusion of a seven-month police investigation that employed paid informants, undercover police officers, court-ordered wiretaps, and hundreds of hours of police video surveillance.

Among the escort service’s hundreds of customers, according to sources close to the investigation, is Philadelphia state representative Michael Ianucci, the ten-term minority chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee and a political powerhouse who is considered the unofficial leader of Philadelphia’s legislative delegation in Harrisburg. Ianucci is widely regarded as the most powerful politician in the state.

Ianucci, fifty-one, also is the power behind Philadelphia’s largest and most influential political organization, and five other members of the state legislature and six members of city council are widely thought to owe their elected offices to him and his organization.

Ianucci’s seat in the state House is up for election in November, with a primary election to be held in May. He has run unopposed in the last three general elections and does not currently have a Democratic challenger for his party’s nomination.

Police spokesman Jeffrey Leinart would not confirm that Ianucci was a customer of the escort service and would say only that the department will hold a press conference about the arrest on Wednesday morning.

Ianucci could not be reached for comment.

Doctoroff is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Norbert sighed. He had a feeling it was going to be a very long day.

(more next Sunday)


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