JUPITER, Fla. – Authorities said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was caught on video at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, yet the 77-year-old billionaire denied any wrongdoing.
Detectives planted cameras at establishments in Palm Beach County that they suspected were engaging in modern day slavery. They reported finding that the women at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa were forced to live and work in deplorable conditions.
Investigators said the establishment, which was open at a shopping mall that includes a dentist's office and a Publix supermarket, charged $79 for an hour massage and $59 for 30 minutes. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr couldn't believe that a man who is worth $6.6 billion was paying for sex there.
"We are as equally stunned as everyone else," Kerr said.
Aside from Kraft, authorities also identified Ken Wessel, a 75-year-old sponsor for the Boys & Girls Club of Indian River County and president of the John's Island Foundation, along with John Haven, the former president of Citigroup, and as two of the 173 people arrested on prostitution charges connected to the human trafficking sting.
Kraft, who faces two counts of soliciting prostitution, has not been arrested. Kerr said a warrant will be issued and Kraft's attorneys will be notified. Police said details about the misdemeanor charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.
According to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, investigators found the women were averaging eight clients a day and were sleeping on the massage tables. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said there are more arrests to come in the case, as prosecutors are working on filing more charges.
"It’s very sad. I was very surprised to see it," Trump said at the White House on Friday. "He's proclaimed his innocence, totally."
In a statement, Kraft's representatives said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity."
Kraft has an on-and-off relationship with Ricki Lander, a 39-year-old actress who lives at his home in Los Angeles.
Vero Beach police Chief David Currey, whose agency has been involved in the sex-trafficking investigation, said the prostitutes are victims of an international human trafficking ring and have been trapped into the trade.
"These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can't leave and they are performing sex acts," Currey said, according to the TCPalm. "Some of them may tell us they're OK, but they’re not."
Authorities also connected Orchids of Asia Day Spa with Therapy Spa, Cove Day Spa, Bridge Day Spa, and the Sequoia Apple Day Spa.