FLASHBACK: Barney Frank's Dirty Little Secret

Prostitutes corroborate Frank stories
By Paul M. Rodriguez, The Washington Times
Part A; Pg. A1 February 2, 1990, Friday, Final Edition

Aug. 19, 2009

This was massive news twenty years ago, now you will never hear it mentioned, read the article if you want to understand why.Penthouse magazine's anxiously awaited account of sexual adventuring by congressmen quotes a female prostitute as corroborating Steven L. Gobie's earlier story that Rep. Barney Frank knew Gobie was operating a bordello in the congressman's Capitol Hill apartment.

The woman, identified only as Lyn, said Mr. Frank called the apartment from his office before coming home to see whether she had finished with her "trick."

She called Mr. Frank's claim that he didn't know what was going on in his Eighth Street SE apartment in his absence "baloney."

The explicit magazine article about Gobie and the sex-for-hire world in which he said he procured prostitutes for famous clients - "Washington's Mayflower Madam" - was written by Art Harris of The Washington Post and Rudy Maxa of Washingtonian magazine.

"Barney would call and ask, 'Are you entertaining company?' " the female prostitute told the authors. "And I'd say, 'Yeah, but they're about to leave.' And he'd say, 'I'll give you 20 or 25 minutes.' "

Many of the details of Gobie's Penthouse story had been reported earlier by The Washington Times, but the article nevertheless cast new light on the underground world to which Gobie says he introduced Mr. Frank.

Mr. Frank's office did not return telephone calls from The Times seeking comment on the Penthouse article. The congressman also would not be interviewed by the authors of the magazine piece.

Mr. Frank, 49, whose actions are under investigation by the House ethics committee, has acknowledged purchasing sexual services from Gobie, 33, and other male prostitutes. He also has admitted employing Gobie as a personal assistant while knowing that Gobie continued to work as a call boy, but has insisted that he did not know that the services of prostitutes were being sold from his apartment.

The congressman has said he threw Gobie out in the summer of 1987, ending their two-year relationship, after he discovered the call boy was running a prostitution business from the apartment.

"Barney was hot," Gobie told the magazine. "He said, 'The landlord found out what's going on. One of your girls asked if this was the place to come for escort interviews. . . . Do you realize what could happen if The Washington Post got a hold of this?' "

But Mr. Frank has conceded that he remained in touch with Gobie through New Year's Day 1988, even allowing the prostitute continued use of his car with its congressional license plate.

In the Penthouse article, Gobie said Mr. Frank even offered him $10,000 to $12,000 to help him relocate to Florida. Gobie, who once said he thought about opening up an escort business along Florida's "gold coast," said he rejected the offer.

Gobie has said Mr. Frank, whom he dubbed Sweet 'n' Low for "sweet guy, low on cash," was aware of the larger prostitution operation and delighted in being told about the call boy's sexual encounters.

Mr. Frank also has admitted to using congressional stationery to write several letters to Virginia probation officials to persuade them to shorten Gobie's probation stemming from felony convictions for drug offenses and for sex offenses involving a minor girl.

Moreover, Mr. Frank has admitted fixing parking tickets that Gobie had obtained while servicing clients using the congressman's Chevrolet Chevette. Although Mr. Frank told The Times he could not remember how many tickets he fixed using his congressional immunity, Gobie estimated the number at between 50 and 60.

Gobie told Penthouse that "those letters kept me in operation. . . . The letters and Barney's [congressional] perks were worth far more to me than any fees I could have charged him. I wasn't a gold digger, but I'm not a dumb escort, either."

In fact, Gobie told the magazine that it was Mr. Frank who came up with the idea of hiring the call boy as a driver and providing a cover for the prostitution business, which catered to men as well as women.

"He said, 'You can use me as a reference to the probation people,' " according to Gobie, who said he listed Mr. Frank's house with Virginia law enforcement authorities as his address.

Mr. Frank said in an Aug. 23 interview with The Times that he allowed Gobie to use the apartment as "his house," but admitted that the call boy never lived there - even though the congressman told probation officials and at least one court-appointed social worker that the apartment was Gobie's home address.

Another prostitute, whom Penthouse identified as Ricky, also backed Gobie's claims that Mr. Frank benefited from the prostitution operation with reduced rates for sexual acts.

Ricky, described as an "especially . . . trim, six-foot blond," told the magazine that Mr. Frank paid him a discounted $100 fee on one occasion for a sexual tryst arranged by Gobie and that he agreed to waive his usual referral fee as a favor to the congressman.

Gobie said he made about six prostitutes in all available to Mr. Frank at reduced rates.

Mr. Frank acknowledged in a Sept. 25 Newsweek magazine interview that he purchased sexual services from several male prostitutes but did not elaborate other than to say: "I knew it was wrong, but I just couldn't sit home."

Gobie, according to Penthouse, said Mr. Frank also daydreamed about living a secret life as a paid escort. "He said, 'If I'd been 20 years younger, I would have liked to have tried hustling. . . . I think it would be a thrill to get paid for sex," Gobie quoted the congressman as saying.

The Penthouse article also expanded on the relationship between Gobie and Craig J. Spence, the former lobbyist who was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in connection with alleged bribery of Secret Service officers, unauthorized White House tours and credit card abuse connected to a male prostitution ring he frequented.

The magazine said Mr. Spence had agreed to "provide lurid details of Washington's bisexual wonderland." But before the interview could occur, Mr. Spence committed suicide in Boston on Nov. 10.

In the magazine, Gobie - who was not a source of The Times on the Spence story - also confirmed many of the things others had said about the lobbyist with ties to the upper echelons of the Reagan administration.

He said Mr. Spence tried to recruit him to help "in a sordid scheme to blackmail the powerful politicians invited to his lavish parties."

Gobie also said he "sexually serviced" Mr. Spence for money three times and, according to the magazine, "watched [the lobbyist] snort cocaine and then do sit-ups as he hung upside down, half-naked, in gravity boots."

According to Gobie, Mr. Spence told him, "Do you know what kind of power you can have over people if you've got something on them? . . . I need boys and girls for people in government and high-level businessmen for my parties, for individuals, for whatever comes up."

The magazine quoted Gobie as saying Mr. Spence was "the most dangerous man I'd ever met. If he hadn't turned into such a crackhead, he could have blackmailed half this town. He used to say, 'Hey, foreign intelligence agencies are doing it.' "

* Michael Hedges contributed to this report.

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