The duckboats are barely back in drydock and Bob Kraft has a problem. On Feb. 22, 2019, the police chief in Jupiter Florida announced that Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, would be facing a solicitation of prostitution charge.
I’m a Boston-area guy, and while I’m no football fanatic by any stretch, I do like the Patriots. Mostly because of their “do your job” tradition of sustained excellence.
The Trump Connection
Now, the “big three” of Patriots nation — Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady — have all been identified in the past as supporters of Donald Trump (who, readers of the blog should know, I absolutely revile). Brady was seen early on with a MAGA hat in his locker, Belichick wrote him a supportive letter that Trump read at a rally in New Hampshire, and Kraft has been open about his support.
Brady and Belichick have been trying to distance themselves from the political ever since. Brady mostly explained that he had done some golfing with Trump long before he ran for President, and the ever loquacious Belichick has pretty much said nothing since.
Kraft, by contrast, has given the most reasonable explanation, which is that Trump was very supportive of him when his beloved wife Myra died. Called him every day to check in for a while. (They knew each other from Trump’s involvement and efforts to buy an NFL team.)
Bob and Myra and Ricki
Now Kraft and his wife Myra, who died of ovarian cancer in 2011, apparently had a very lovely 48 year marriage. There were never any issues of infidelity, and most observers thought they were very supportive of each other. Together they ran the Myra Kraft Charitable Foundation, which “supports organizations involved with arts and culture, higher education, health, youth development, and Judaism.” They gave out a lot of money here in New England.
Then, untethered from his lifelong anchor, Kraft — like many a billionaire businessman — got himself a young and skinny girlfriend. Ricki Noel Lander, who is 39 years younger. Lander recently got pregnant but it was reported that Kraft was not the father.
And now this.
Something Completely Different
So first of all, let’s acknowledge that Kraft has just been charged (for what is technically a misdemeanor) and is nowhere close to have been convicted of anything. As we saw in the discussion of Jussie Smollett, false accusation do happen. But not very often.
It looks bad for Kraft.
According to a report by the Boston Globe,
Twice between Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, Kraft allegedly visited a run-of-the-mill massage parlor called the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in a seaside town of Jupiter, about 20 miles north of the Breakers in Palm Beach. On both visits, the 77-year-old billionaire allegedly solicited prostitution from female workers exploited by Chinese traffickers
So now we’ve gone from loving husband and father to Chinese child sexual traffickers and “happy endings.”
In a subsequent article the Globe reported that this was part of an investigation into a human trafficking ring that brought Chinese girls to the USA under false pretenses, where some of them ended up sleeping on the massage tables in the massage parlors and “having unprotected sex with up to 1,000 men a year.”
Kraft wasn’t the only 77 year old billionaire from Massachusetts who was ensnared. Remarkably enough a much lower profile guy — John Childs, the founder of J.W. Childs Associates — was another one of the Johns who was caught up. (On Monday he resigned from the company that he founded.)
What is it with becoming a billionaire? Not every one of them goes off the rails of course, but too many of them start to think that they can do whatever the fuck they want. (And in certain ways they can.)
The silver lining in all of this for the rest of us is that Kraft’s celebrity may really shine a light on this problem. Just as Harvey Weinstein’s behavior really shown a light on sexual harassment, this could do a lot for beginning to combat sexual slavery in a much more systematic way.