Did Ask Jeeves cofounder David Warthen marry a call girl?" That's the question Feeder posed to the Ask Jeeves search engine. The answer: "Your search is likely to return adult content." Had Jeeves known what I was looking for, he would have turned up TouchofBrazil.net (still live, for all you curious Ask Jeeves employees). That's the Web site IRS snoops accessed during their investigation of Warthen's new 34DD-21-33 trophy wife, Cristina Schultz.
Perhaps you've heard of Schultz, who is known professionally as Brazil. A couple of months back, the Oakland Tribune and others buzzed with news about the former Stanford law grad whom the feds claim abandoned law for another profession in which the client gets screwed. The 31-year-old alum allegedly boasted in an Internet posting that she paid off more than $300,000 in student loans by working as an escort. Brazil's Web site listed a rate of up to $1,300 for two hours of work. Investigators at one point went Dumpster diving outside her old apartment in Palo Alto and claimed to have found $2,400 in cash tucked in a discarded law book. Schultz later moved across the bay to the Essex on Lake Merritt, where the feds seized more cash in January of this year. The feds are trying to keep the $61,171 they seized from her, filing a civil asset-forfeiture claim in US District Court. The disturbing thing is that the feds haven't even charged Schultz with a crime, but the forfeiture rules are written in such a way that the government can seize your assets even if you haven't been convicted of anything. That's another story for another venue.
Since the initial news reports, the Brazil saga has taken an interesting turn. Warthen, an Orinda millionaire who wed Schultz earlier this year, is claiming in court that the money investigators seized was actually his, and not "the proceeds of any unlawful or illegal activity." Warthen told the court it was money he gave to Schultz "for the benefit of both of them," according to the joint case-management statement. Warthen's attorney, Doug Schwartz, did not return a call asking for an explanation of what those benefits were. In Warthen's court response, he claimed to be "without knowledge" as to the alleged prostitution activities of his children's busty new stepmother.
The US attorney's office, meanwhile, has expressed doubt about whether Warthen has a legitimate claim to the cash. Prosecutors are scheduled to ask the judge for a summary judgment in March so the government can keep the money for the benefit of neither Warthen nor Schultz.
P.S. Etc. Etc.
One detail the legitimate press either omitted or underplayed in the adult-themed Jeeves story is the murky role of a woman named Brenda Tess Broussard. Now, professional wrestling fans might recognize that name as belonging to the beautiful-but-volatile ex-girlfriend of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. For nonwrestling fans, Broussard and Austin have gone through a tumultuous breakup chronicled in the tabloids. The wrestler and the actress, who has appeared in a few softcore flicks with titles such as Wicked Temptations, have traded barbs in the press. She claims he abused her; he claims she stabbed his friend in the arm during dinner with a steak knife, an incident her attorney, Bryan Altman, dismisses as a "fabrication."
According to the government's aforementioned forfeiture complaint, Broussard snitched on Brazil during her own arrest on January 15, 2003 in Orange County. (News reports said deputies, who were conducting an undercover sting, confiscated more than a hundred condoms from Broussard, who was using the alias "Tia.") Broussard allegedly told the arresting officer that Brazil got her into the online escort business, helping to develop her Web site and to screen clients. The feds say the duo also worked together on "double pleasure calls," where a client pays to have two girls at once. But when Feeder read the passage from the federal complaint about his client to attorney Altman, he said, "None of that sounds accurate."
What is not in dispute is that Broussard is starting her own battered-women's foundation. The curious can go to her Web site (TessBroussard.net), where you can buy trinkets or photos for charity, or just learn more about Tess herself. Her favorite hobbies, for instance, are painting and volunteering time with abused animals. Her next big project is "to mount my 8-point deer I hunted in one shot." By the way, she reports that "the meat was excellent." Did she use a steak knife?
Same as the Old Boss
In this age of term limits, politicians are constantly figuring out what seat they want well before the music shuts off. To wit: Assemblywoman Wilma Chan is in her final two-year term. She plans to run for the state Senate seat currently occupied by Don Perata, but the hitch is that Perata isn't termed out until 2008. For the math-challenged, that means Chan has two years of free time between when she's done in the assembly and when she runs for the senate. That's two long years in which the fickle public can forget all about somebody.
So Chan is looking at running for her old seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors two years from now, so she can remain employed as an elected official. Unfortunately, someone already occupies her old supervisorial seat: Alice Lai-Bitker, a Chan protégée. Lai-Bitker was an aide to Chan for five years in the county, and when Chan went to the assembly in 2000, Lai-Bitker became the boss. Well, now the boss wants her old job back, kid. Lai-Bitker says she feels conflicted about taking on the same person who helped jump-start her political career. Still, she plans on running for reelection if Chan does challenge her: "It's going to be a tough race," Lai-Bitker predicts.
Broken Records Oakland city officials finally released the pay figures of high-paid employees last week thanks to a court decision, but they didn't pretend to be happy about it. The Contra Costa Times, which filed suit to get access to the records, reported that the information released didn't specify if an employee's extra pay represented overtime, vacation payouts, or perks during the 2003-04 fiscal year. "What you asked for is what you got," Oakland finance director Bill Noland told the paper. When Express reporter Robert Gammon asked to see pay records for the prior fiscal year, Noland refused. According to Gammon, Noland said the city council hadn't given any direction other than to comply with the judge's order to release the payroll records requested by the Times for 2003-04. Did that mean the Express or another newspaper would have to sue to get records from other years? "That's how it stands today," Noland told Gammon.
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