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Patriots owner Kraft denies charges of soliciting prostitute

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JUPITER, Fla. — Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-centre massage parlour in Florida, police said Friday.

The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.

Kraft was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the misdemeanour charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. “We are as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said.

Most people charged for the first time with soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would probably have to perform 100 hours of community service and attend a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking, he said.

The arrest could also get Kraft in trouble with the NFL, which in a statement said only that it is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.

“Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline,” the policy says.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl this month over the Los Angeles Rams for their sixth NFL championship in the past 18 seasons, making them the most successful team in pro sports during that span. Before the Super Bowl, several retired NFL players appeared in a public service announcement decrying sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Atlanta, the host city.

Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. Though he is a Democrat, he is friendly with President Donald Trump and a frequent guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Kraft’s wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

“Well it’s very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He’s proclaimed his innocence, totally,” Trump said at the White House on Friday.

In a statement, Kraft’s representatives said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”

The spa Kraft allegedly visited is in a busy, upper-middle-class shopping centre with neighbours that include a dentist, a real estate office, surf and bike shops and a Publix supermarket.

After hearing about the arrest, Brian Rubino, a Patriot fan who lives nearby, went by the spa wearing a team jersey. He said Kraft made a mistake, but he could see how it might happen.

“A 77-year-old man, lost his wife, who knows? I see how you can end up in a place like this,” Rubino said.

Vero Beach police Chief David Currey, whose agency has been involved in the sex-trafficking investigation, told reporters earlier this week that the prostitutes are victims who 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 TCPalm. “Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not.”

The owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, 58-year-old Hua Zhang, was arrested Tuesday on 29 prostitution and related charges. Police in her arrest report said they watched video of her employees performing various sex acts with two dozen customers. Her attorney, Gennaro Cariglio Jr., had no comment.

Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million to keep the team from moving to St. Louis. He hired Bill Belichick as coach in 2000, and the team later drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching its nearly two decades of success.

In 2007, the Patriots got in trouble for filming other teams’ signals. The NFL fined the team $250,000 and Belichick $500,000. In 2014, Brady was accused of deflating game footballs to gain a better grip. He served a four-game suspension, and the Patriots were fined $1 million.

Kraft was not implicated in either scandal.

___

Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale. AP sports writer Kyle Hightower in Boston and reporter Kevin Frekking in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Terry Spencer And Joshua Replogle, The Associated Press

















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PARKER THOMPSON BREAKS NEW GROUND WITH INCREDIBLE TWO SERIES WEEKEND AT TORONTO INDY

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Parker Thompson representing Abel Sports in Toronto Indy

From Parker Thompson Racing

TORONTO, ONTARIO

Parker Thompson may be the busiest road racing driver on the continent. Since March, the young Alberta native has raced 27 times in four different series. Challenging for championship titles in both open-wheel race cars and sports cars, Thompson has shown incredible skill and versatility. That was most evident this weekend when Thompson raced in both the Indy Pro 2000 by Cooper Tires series, and the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series as part of the Honda Indy Toronto event. With four alternating races, Thompson demonstrated an adaptability seldom seen in motorsports. In an incredible performance, he earned three podium finishes and the Yokohama Tires Hard Charger award. The result puts an exclamation mark on his accomplishments so far this year, and further reinforces his status as one of the continents top young drivers.

With a busy ten session schedule over the three day weekend, Thompson could often be seen hurrying between the Porsche GT3 and Indy Pro 2000 paddocks located at opposite ends of the event site in downtown Toronto. Competing in two series during the same event presented a variety of challenges not typical of most race weekends.

“There is a lot of work and preparation that goes into every single session we do on the race track. Balancing two different series this weekend would never have been possible without incredible support from my teams, Abel Motorsports [Indy Pro 2000] and Sports Car Boutique [IMSA GT3 Canada]. Getting the maximum out of two very different cars was a tremendous challenge. The Porsche GT3 Cup Car, and the Tatuus PM-18 Indy Pro 2000 car are not only very different in size and handling characteristics, but they also require a very different strategy and approach during race action. Going back and forth between vehicles, and jumping straight into race pace really tested my concentration and ability to remember key markers and set-up notes for this very unforgiving Streets of Toronto track. This was probably my most stressful weekend of racing ever, but I’m overjoyed by our results! In these two highly competitive series, I always feel blessed to stand on the podium. Doing that three out of four times this weekend feels like a huge achievement.” – Parker Thompson

The first of three podiums came with Abel Motorsports in Indy Pro 2000, where Thompson began his first race of the weekend from seventh position in the thirteen car line up. Navigating traffic and multiple yellow flag incidents on the challenging street course, Thompson maneuvered the #8 Abel Motorsports car to a 3rd place finish.

Race 2 in Indy Pro 2000 featured a relentless duel between Thompson and championship leader Rasmus Lindh. Starting in P3 and P2 respectively, the two drivers exchanged places multiple times early in the race. Thompson would make a final pass in turn 3 of the Toronto street course, and hold off Lindh for the remainder of the race to earn a second place finish.

Parker Thompson Toronto Indy 2nd Place

In GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, Thompson began Race 1 from 7th position after a heavy rain prior to race start created conditions that challenged a variety of drivers and teams. In a clear demonstration of car control, Thompson navigated the #3 SCB Racing / Porsche Centre Victoria car around the drying track, executing four passes in the first seven laps. The performance earned him the Yokohama Tires Hard Charger Award, and the final step on the podium.

Parker Thompson 3rd place in Toronto

In Race 2 of GT3 Canada, a rare mistake from Thompson saw his Porsche make contact with a tire wall in turn eight. Continuing the race from the back of the field, a lengthy yellow flag resulting from a crash between drivers Metni and Dussault allowed Thompson to rejoin the main group and improve his position. Piloting a car with front end damage, he would work his way up to 5th position before the 45-minute race expired.

This incredible weekend marked the 100th race of Thompson’s young career, and performing double duty was a fitting celebration of that milestone. Since 2015, Thompson has had a steady career, earning wins in every type of car he has raced. In one-hundred races, he has earned 55 podiums and 26 race wins. His lifetime winning and podium percentages are outstanding by any measure, but Thompson’s numbers this season are even more impressive. In 2019, he has won exactly a third of his races, and placed on the podium more than three quarters of the time.

After one weekend off, Thompson will resume his busy schedule on July 26th with three consecutive race weekends in Indy Pro 2000, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, and the Canadian Touring Car Championship. He is currently second place in overall championship standings for Indy Pro 2000 and GT3 Canada, and he is leading the Canadian Touring Car Championship GTS standings.

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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Innisfail hosts Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament August 8th- Reserve your spot!

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As your plans and commitments for this summer start to fill your calendar, we hope that you have had a chance to set aside August 8 for the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum annual golf tournament.

On August 8, 2019, we will be having our annual golf tournament at Innisfail Golf Club. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has strived to preserve and celebrate Alberta’s exceptional athletes, builders, pioneers, and teams for over 62 years. Each year the Golf Tournament brings together our Honoured Members, Inductees, sporting organizations and the community for a great day of golf and networking. The Golf Tournament is a major fundraiser for ASHFM and allows us to continue to bring sports history and education to Albertans and inspire the future Hall of Famers. Your support in the past few years is very much appreciated and we hope that you will be one of our special guests this year.  I have enclosed the tournament sponsorship opportunities and a golf registration if you would like to join us for our Golf Tournament this year.

Please call Kayli at 403-341-8614 if you have any questions or concerns regarding our golf tournament sponsorship or participation.

Click to visit the website.

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july, 2019

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