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n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
edited February 2006 in General Discussion
Man charged in Broward prostitution ring sues his clients

By Sean Gardiner
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted February 27 2006

Former escort kingpin Arthur "Big Pimpin' Pappy" Vanmoor is known for his litigious nature.

In the past decade, he has been a plaintiff or defendant in 29 lawsuits in Broward County alone. He has sued businesses that challenged him, police departments that investigated him, an assistant state attorney who prosecuted him and journalists who reported on him.

But his latest suit has stunned even veteran court watchers.

Vanmoor, 46, has filed a federal lawsuit against six former customers of his escort service. He says they broke the law after purchasing time with his escorts, and it was their illegal actions that led to his arrest, incarceration and deportation, as well as the loss of his business.

The lawsuit centers on the credit card slip his customers signed when paying their $245-per-hour escort fees, according to Vanmoor's attorney Montgomery Sibley. Above the signature box, the slip stipulates: "Cardholder states that this transaction is not for illegal activity." Had Vanmoor been notified that these men were breaking the law and violating the agreement's terms, "he could have refunded the credit card charges as an act of withdrawal, abandonment, or renunciation," according to the Jan. 25 suit filed in Fort Lauderdale.

Under Florida law, such acts can be used as a defense against criminal charges at trial, Sibley said.

Ron Brown, a professor at Nova Southeastern University Law Center since 1976, has never heard of such a case. The fact that something is in writing doesn't necessarily make it a contract, he said in an e-mail.

"If they intended to be bound by this term [of not breaking the law], then it's part of the contract and he might prevail," said Brown, who teaches contract law. "But if they didn't intend to be bound by it, then they don't have a contract ... Based on the facts, it seems to me that a judge would throw this case out immediately."

The six men have until March 23 to respond to Vanmoor's complaint.

Vanmoor's penchant for suing is so legendary that some lawyers who have tangled with him in civil and criminal courtrooms declined to comment when contacted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

One "no comment" came from Gregory Palmer. He defended Sonoco Products Company for part of the almost six-year court battle with Vanmoor, who claimed the company ripped off his caulking gun patent. Palmer was, however, interested to know whether Vanmoor was living in the United States again -- he had been deported to the Netherlands -- because he owes Sonoco $172,678.25, plus interest, for lawyers fees and other court costs issued after the suit was dismissed.

Another "no comment" came from Broward County Assistant State Attorney Scott Dressler, who was sued by Vanmoor after the prosecutor referred to him as a "sociopath" on a Fox News broadcast in December. "No matter what I say he's probably going to file a suit."

At its height, Vanmoor's Florence Dating Service, with three offices in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach and multiple escort service listings such as "Playful Pets" and "Amber's Escorts," was responsible for up to 90 percent of the escort advertisements in Broward County's Yellow Pages and brought in millions of dollars between 1998 and 2003.

In 2001, a tip led Fort Lauderdale Police Detective William Spodnik to start an investigation that soon became dubbed "Operation Big Pimpin' Pappy." Detectives uncovered credit card slips that included names, account numbers and the johns' thumbprints. Vanmoor made his escorts take the prints to dissuade johns from claiming their credit cards had been fraudulently charged.

Those records led investigators to the men named in the lawsuit and all six gave statements to police saying they paid for sex with Vanmoor's escorts. They included a business executive who, records showed, spent $119,965 on Vanmoor's escorts during a seven-month period. Others named in the lawsuit matched the names of a local doctor, real estate investor and accountant.

Sibley said he didn't know why Vanmoor chose to sue these particular men out of the tens of thousands of customers. He said Vanmoor called him on the telephone and told him who he wanted to sue and didn't explain why. The Sun-Sentinel couldn't reach any of the six for comment.

Attempts to reach Vanmoor through his attorneys also were unsuccessful. Sibley said he assumes Vanmoor is still in the Netherlands, where he was deported after serving 18 months in prison for a 2004 racketeering conviction.

But authorities charged that Vanmoor had been operating again in South Florida, despite his deportation. Instead of peddling flesh, however, he was selling false hope, in some cases to the terminally ill, according to the charges.

On Dec. 22, federal prosecutors obtained an injunction on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration forcing Vanmoor to stop advertising and selling on his Web sites "misbranded" or non-approved drugs purported to be "guaranteed" cures for cancer, migraines and other maladies. Vanmoor set up his Web sites under incorporated businesses, such as The Flu-Fighter Corp. that listed a Boca Raton post office box address.

In November, David Bonello, who runs a medical Web site called Minnesota's Wellness Directory, was the first to raise concerns that Vanmoor's Web sites contained false cures and testimonials from phony doctors. Newspaper and television reports about Bonello's accusations followed, sparking the investigation.

Vanmoor, who changed his name from Vanmoekerken and is said to have a genius IQ, countered as he has before.

On Dec. 28, he filed a $1 million libel suit against Bonello, who, among other things, referred to him as a "crook," according to the lawsuit.

The next day, Vanmoor filed a lawsuit against Fox television newsman Douglas Kennedy and Dressler, claiming defamation and other charges in connection with a broadcast about his cancer cure Web site and his history in the escort business.

Two weeks after the FDA obtained the first injunction, Vanmoor was indicted on contempt of court charges after he allegedly refused to comply with the order to shut down his Web sites. Vanmoor's sites have since been removed from the Web.

Sean Gardiner can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4514.


  • calamitywoodcalamitywood Member Posts: 939 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If he wins this will it mean that people who bid on an item on this auction site are not bound by what the seller stipulates in the aution? For example " If you cannot leagally own this gun do not bid on it"
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