Colombian escort speaks: He gave $30 for $800 job

Obama’s secret service agents scandal

Written by New York Times | Cartagena | Published:April 20, 2012 12:24 am

A Secret Service agent preparing for President Obama’s arrival at an international summit meeting and a single mother from Colombia who makes a living as a high-priced escort faced off in a room at the Hotel Caribe a week ago over how much he owed her for the previous night’s intercourse. “I tell him,‘Baby,my cash money,’” the woman said in her first public comments on a dispute that would soon spiral into a full-blown scandal.

The disagreement over her price — he offered $30 for services she thought they had agreed were worth $800 — set off a tense early morning quarrel in the hallway of the luxury hotel involving the woman,another prostitute,Colombian police officers arguing on the women’s behalf and American federal agents who tried but failed to keep the matter from escalating.

The Secret Service prepared to fire one supervisor tied to the alleged misconduct,the agency said. Another supervisor has decided to retire,and a third employee will be allowed to resign,the statement said.

The woman described how she and another escort were approached by a group of American men at a club. “They never told me they were with Obama,” she said,addressing published reports that some agents may have openly boasted to prostitutes that they were there protecting the president. “They were very discreet.”

The American man invited her to his room. She agreed,but told him he would have to give her a gift. Figuring he was a well-heeled foreigner,she asked for $800.

The price alone,she said,indicates she is an escort,not a prostitute. “An escort is someone who a man can take out to dinner. She can dress nicely,wear nice makeup,speak and act like a lady. That’s me,” she said.

The next morning,he offered her 50,000 pesos,the equivalent of about $30. Disgusted with the amount,she threatened to call the police,but the man’s friend begged her not to. Eventually,she lowered her demand to $250. Eager to resolve the matter fast,the American men eventually gave her a combination of dollars and pesos worth about $225,and she left.

It was only days later,once a friend she had shared her story with called to say that the dispute had made the television news,that she learned that the man was a Secret Service agent.

She is dismayed,she said,that the news reports described her as a prostitute. “It’s the same,but it’s different,” she said,indicating that she is much more selective about her clients and charges much more. “It’s like when you buy a fine rum or a BlackBerry or an iPhone. They have a different price.”

The woman veered between anger and fear as she told of her misadventure. “This is something really big,” she said. “This is the government of the United States. I have nervous attacks. I cry all the time.”

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