How the New York Times missed the latest escort scandal

Melissa Gira Grant · 06/13/08 02:00PM

On Monday night at the Webby Awards, New York Times staff accepted their prize with the words, "Eliot Spitzer we thank you." Covering hooker drama went well for the paper last March, and the obsession still moves them. For the last three weeks, the Times has been investigating the complaints of escorts, first reported on Valleywag: that Dave Elms, the now-jailed founder of TheEroticReview.com, extorted sex from them in exchange for reviews on his popular site. According to a series of leaked emails, the story is currently stalled, as reporter Matt Richtel and his stringers can't find women who will speak on the record about their dealings with Elms. We verified the San Francisco-based Timesman's interest from Internet-working escorts, who are reluctant to give the paper interviews that will only further expose their business to scrutiny for all the wrong reasons. They have, however, offered Valleywag their preemptive corrections. Here's the story they hope the Times won't write:

Escorts say TheEroticReview.com founder's arrest could change paid-sex industry

Melissa Gira Grant · 06/13/08 09:00AM

Private sex-industry message boards are buzzing with stories of how Dave Elms, the now-jailed founder of TheEroticReview.com, removed reviews of escorts who refused to offer him free sex in exchange for maintaining their good standing on his influential site. In an interview with Valleywag, Nancy, an escort in California who says she relies on TheEroticReview for the bulk of her clientele, says she continues to use Elms's site even though she has "seen his 'work' of persuading girls to come and service him" to maintain the presence of the reviews critical to their business.

TheEroticReview.com's CEO off to jail

Melissa Gira Grant · 06/09/08 03:20PM

Dave Elms, CEO of TheEroticReview.com, North America's largest escort-listings website, was arrested in Torrance, Calif. on June 4. Elms has a prior record including prostitution, drug, and firearms charges. This most recent arrest during a court appearance was on felony drug and weapons possession, according to a representative of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office. Internet-based escorts are now reevaluating their efforts to bring their own case against Elms for rape and extortion based on what they say is a pattern of removing escorts' reviews from his website until they have unprotected sex with him. As for the the future of the controversial site itself, which prospective clients rely on to vet women-for-hire, an anonymous escort writes in a tip to Valleywag, "If these people think TER wasn't being watched before this they're crazy." Anyone wanting to make Elms a visit in the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail can find the details below.

Online critics accuse TheEroticReview.com CEO Dave Elms of rape

Melissa Gira Grant · 05/12/08 02:00PM

There are two ways to get sex for free from an escort. You could try your hand at dating her as a civilian, or you could start a lucrative escort review site and bribe her with good reviews in exchange for freebies. Some escorts call that last tactic rape. Dave of Phoenix, the online pseudonym of an escort client and advocate, maintains a personal mailing list of preferred ladies. In an email sent to that list and leaked to Valleywag, Dave shares the text of an anonymous Craigslist ad which sought witnesses to speak out against Dave Elms, the notorious owner of escort-ratings site TheEroticReview.com.