Skooter reports 02/24/13
The trial of Mark Strong Sr., an insurance businessman charged with 13 counts that accuse him of helping the fitness instructor engage in prostitution began Thursday with a landlord who rented office space to a Zumba instructor testified he became suspicious when tenants heard “groaning and moaning.” Another testimony emerged when a pizza shop manager told a jury that the woman disrobed in front of him during a delivery.
The Zumba instructor, Alexis Wright, is accused of engaging in prostitution at the dance studio in Kennebunk, at an office across the street and at her home. She took video of clients without their knowledge, authorities said. She will be tried later.
The landlord Christopher West testified he began receiving complaints from other tenants within two weeks. He said there were loud music, moaning, groaning and laughter coming from the rented office. He became suspicious when he saw men coming and going. West was about to evict Wright but was asked by police to hang on because of an ongoing investigation.
After police obtained a search warrant, West discovered a box of adult toys, a bin of used condoms and baby wipes and a massage table. Two video cameras, including one that was concealed were seized by an agent.
The other testimony was from Dan Racaniello, manager of a pizza shop right next to the studio, testified that when he delivered spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, Wright came to the door wrapped only in a towel, fussed around with her wallet and in so doing she dropped it exposing her nakedness. The woman paid $40 for the $8 meal and told him to keep the change.
Racaniello left her apartment shocked by the nudity and the generous tip, making him said, it made his day.
Strong and Wright have pleaded not guilty.
The case has drawn attention because of the size of the operation alleged by prosecutors and police and its location in an old-fashioned seaside village near Kennebunkport, home of the Bush family's Walker's Point summer compound.
It was learned that a client list was seen by a lawyer and it contained more than 150 names. Wright kept painstaking records showing the sex acts generated $150,000 over 18 months, law enforcement officials said.