Suzy Favor Hamilton worked as high-priced call girl for past
A three-time U.S. Olympian whose illustrious running career has included a Nike TV commercial, a swimsuit calendar, and ongoing promotional work for Disney has spent the last year doubling as a $600-an-hour call girl, an astounding secret life that she now regretfully calls a “huge mistake.”
Beginning last December, Suzy Favor Hamilton, 44, has worked with one of Las Vegas’s premier escort services, booking scores of “dates” in Sin City and other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
While Favor Hamilton (seen at right) has used an alias, “Kelly Lundy,” when working as an escort, she inexplicably shared her true identity with several male clients, believing that her secret was somehow safe with strangers who paid for her company by leaving envelopes stuffed with cash on bathroom vanities in swanky hotels.
When approached by a reporter earlier this month in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel, Favor Hamilton initially denied any connection with the escort service, Haley Heston’s Private Collection. But Favor Hamilton--who is married to her college sweetheart, a lawyer, and is the mother of a seven-year-old girl--eventually acknowledged her work as “Kelly.”
“I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I’m not the victim and I’m not going that route,” Favor Hamilton said. “I’m owning up to what I did. I would not blame anybody except myself.” She added, “Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge.”
Favor Hamilton expressed concern that her story would be “sensationalized” by a reporter. It is hard, though, to imagine how that could occur. The actual events of the ex-Olympian's past year already seem like the fever dreams of a Lifetime producer who decided to adapt Luis Bunuel’s “Belle de Jour” for basic cable.
Favor Hamilton described the escort business as “exciting,” an illicit midlife diversion from her routine existence, one in which she operates a successful Madison, Wisconsin real estate brokerage with her husband, delivers motivational speeches, and does promotional work for various businesses and groups, including Disney’s running series and Wisconsin’s Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.
She said that only her husband Mark, 44, was aware of her escort work, but that, “He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn’t supportive of this at all.” The couple lives in a $600,000 Madison home and appears to be in no financial distress based on a review of court and municipal records.
In a July 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profile, Favor Hamilton spoke of giving about 60 motivational speeches annually, raising her daughter, running her realty firm, and doing appearances for Disney and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. “I just know I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My life just keeps getting better,” she said.
But she also spoke of her life’s darker precincts.
Favor Hamilton told of suffering postpartum depression after her child’s 2005 birth and how she had been prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft, which has allowed her to “feel better than I’ve ever felt.” Additionally, she told reporter Gary D’Amato how her brother Dan committed suicide in 1999, a year before she ran for the gold medal in the 1500-meter final at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. She led that race with 200 meters to go, but when other competitors began to pass her, Favor Hamilton recalled, she intentionally tumbled to the track, ashamed that she could not medal in honor of her late sibling.
Sitting on an outdoor bench off the Las Vegas Strip earlier this month, Favor Hamilton referenced her athletic career when a reporter asked why she thought her identity could remain cloaked--especially since she spoke openly with certain johns about her real name, running career, and business pursuits.
Favor Hamilton answered that as a world-class athlete she was conditioned to believe she was invincible, and that doubts and concerns were counterproductive thoughts. During a subsequent conversation she brought up Tiger Woods’s tumultuous fall, saying that, “I mean, he’s the biggest athlete ever. He obviously thought he could never get caught.”
Favor Hamilton also blamed herself for being “too trusting.” She expected other participants in the insular escort business--where men seeking sex are called “hobbyists” and women selling it are “providers”--to honor a code of silence. Though she seemed entirely sincere, it was nonetheless a credulous notion that client and escort were morally bound by some implicit pledge of omerta.
Why would her secret be safe with guys about whom she knew nothing (except that many were paying for sex while their spouse was back home)?
These johns slept with an attractive former Olympian, an All-American girl with a Wikipedia page and a Nike commercial on YouTube. How could they not boast about their costly Las Vegas escapades? A Google search by any of these “hobbyists” would have quickly established Favor Hamilton’s status as a public figure as well as her athletic bona fides.
As a middle distance runner, Favor Hamilton competed (but did not medal) at the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics. Her collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin was so dominating--she is the most decorated female athlete in NCAA track and field history--that the Big Ten Conference’s female athlete of the year award was named after her (the male equivalent honors Jesse Owens). The winner of multiple national championships, NCAA titles, and All-American awards, Favor Hamilton has appeared in national ads for Nike, Reebok, Clairol, Oakley, and Pert Plus shampoo. A 1997 swimsuit calendar included shots of the lithe athlete modeling a stars-and-stripes bikini and lounging on the sand sans top.
Referring to a client she suspected of contacting a reporter, Favor Hamilton said, “He totally broke all the rules by outing me.” But she stressed that returning fire was not her style. “I don’t want to be like him. Because he is scum. And I will not become scum to make myself feel good,” Favor Hamilton said. “I will not do it. I would suffer rather than go that route of being vindictive.”
When a reporter expressed disbelief that Favor Hamilton--a college graduate who has traveled the world, competed at track and field’s highest levels, struck endorsement deals, and built a successful legitimate business--could be so naïve, she answered, “I can’t expect you to understand, you aren’t in that world.”
She gave a similar reply when asked if she ever feared for her safety since she met clients unaccompanied by security. “Again, you don’t know this world. You’re making judgments on what you see on television or what you perceive,” she said.
Favor Hamilton said that she had been planning to quit the escort business even before learning that TSG was examining her connection to the illegal Haley Heston operation. She acknowledged contacting certain clients to “let them know I’m not doing this anymore and I’m moving on with my life. Because they’re gonna try to contact me.” She also told of recently starting therapy to “figure out myself why I’ve done what I’ve done.”
After being contacted by Favor Hamilton, one of her clients wrote a TSG reporter offering “some money to prevent [a story] from coming out…I would do anything to protect her.” In a July 2012 online review, the client--who recounted two separate encounters with “Kelly”--enthused, “She is worth every penny. I will go bankrupt before I stop seeing her. I hope no one else goes to see her, because I want her all to myself.” He added, “I never thought I would find anyone in this hobby like her.”
Favor Hamilton also claimed to never have considered possible legal complications stemming from her escort work with the Haley Heston firm. Prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas and each of the cities where Favor Hamilton has had “dates” arranged by the escort company, which describes itself as “the premier Boutique Escort Agency of Las Vegas.”
Haley Heston’s Private Collection is a cash-only business operating across state lines, an enterprise whose own web site makes a tacit admission of the firm’s criminal nature. In a blog post earlier this year, the escort service assured clients that it would destroy subpoenaed records in the face of a criminal investigation (all to “ensure the highest standards of discretion”). So add obstruction of justice to a list of federal crimes like conspiracy, promoting prostitution, and money laundering that Haley Heston’s shadowy operators appear willing to commit.
Favor Hamilton declined to discuss her dealings with the escort service, which earlier this month, at her request, deleted a photo-stocked web page devoted to “Kelly.” Haley Heston, which represents 30 other call girls, also prominently featured “Kelly” on a page with photos of all its “models.” A profile of “Kelly” was also simultaneously deleted from Preferred411.com, which offers listings of escorts nationwide.
Also disappearing were all mentions of Favor Hamilton’s alter ego from The Erotic Review (TER), a web site that serves as the Zagat guide of the escort business. Before it was deleted, the “Kelly” profile page on TER included links to 35 separate reviews from “hobbyists” who recounted in explicit details their sexual encounters with Favor Hamilton.
As of early this month, “Kelly” was TER’s third-ranked “provider” in Las Vegas, a valuable market distinction that was often highlighted on the Haley Heston web site and in messages posted to the escort firm’s Twitter account. TER members grade a “provider” on both appearance and performance and provide “The Juicy Details” in narratives that are brimming with sex act acronyms (DATY, RCG, DFK) and graphic play-by-play recaps.
Favor Hamilton’s year of living dangerously began last December, when, according to the “Kelly” profile she wrote for the Haley Heston web site, “I met Haley with the idea of fulfilling a fantasy and only doing it for the short term.” However, she added, “Well, after my first date, I was hooked, and have been doing my best to visit Las Vegas as often as my schedule allows (I run my own business in my real world life).”
The profile of “Kelly” went on to provide other actual details of Favor Hamilton’s life, noting that she was a “workout fanatic” who skied, ran marathons, and had traveled to over 20 countries. A college graduate, “Kelly” noted that “discretion is EXTREMELY important to me, hence you will only see blurred photos of my face on this site. I know this is not ideal, but I hope you understand that it is essential for me.”
Photos on the Haley Heston web site often showed “Kelly” posing in lingerie and heels inside different Las Vegas hotel rooms, including a suite at Steve Wynn’s Encore. She is often seen with her back to the camera, though some pictures have been digitally altered to obscure her face. Pointing prospective customers to her glowing online notices, she added, “Hopefully, my TER reviews speak for themselves and you can be confident that you will like what you see when I warmly greet you in person for the first time :).”
The profile also included her rates, from $600 for one hour to $6000 for a 24-hour period. “Kelly,” the site noted, provided “Full GFE,” or “girlfriend experience,” an intimate, less mechanical encounter. Additionally, the rate schedule noted, clients would be charged a $300 supplement for a particular sex act.
Favor Hamilton declined to reveal how she was introduced to Haley Heston’s Private Collection, the operators of which announced her addition to the escort service’s roster with TER posts describing her as a “high profile” former commercial model and “highly successful business woman.” Accompanying a January 2012 post was a photo of Favor Hamilton that she had taken in a mirror (and which showed half of her face).
The Haley Heston staff used subsequent TER posts and Twitter messages to keep clients apprised of their new “under the radar” escort’s 2012 “touring schedule,” listing stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Chicago (both downtown and at O’Hare International Airport). A July 2012 post enthused that “Kelly” was “becoming a legend” and congratulated her for her towering TER rankings. An April Twitter post reported that “Kelly” was in Las Vegas for the next three days and had a “FABULOUS suite and wants to try out every piece of furniture in it!”
The escort business’s most valuable marketing tools, however, are the “hobbyist” reviews and rankings on the TER web site. The notices for “Kelly” were uniformly exceptional and gave a clear indication that she provided personal details about herself to clients. Many men referred to her “runner’s body,” while one john noted that “we talked about our respective high school and college athletic careers.” Another man wrote that “Kelly” was “an interesting gal with a real job” who “participates in the hobby for the same reason many of us do - it’s exciting and FUN.” He added, “She’s a midwestern gal with a midwestern upbringing and midwestern values.” In July, a Las Vegas client noted that, “She is not a full time provider (as she runs her own business in another state).”
Some of Favor Hamilton’s clients were first introduced to her at a January 2012 Haley Heston “meet and greet” held in an opulent hotel suite. The “client appreciation party” was an invitation-only affair attended by many of the escort service’s “models.”
Several of Favor Hamilton’s subsequent “tour stops” were scheduled to coincide with her travels for the Disney and Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon running series.
For example, in late-August Twitter posts, Haley Heston noted that “Kelly” would be available in Orange County, California on August 30 and 31. Favor Hamilton appeared September 1 at the Disney Exhibit Hall to provide “valuable race and training information” to runners participating in the following day’s Disneyland Half Marathon (which Favor Hamilton ran with her husband).
Haley Heston announced in a mid-October TER post that “Kelly” was making her first trip to St. Louis to see clients between October 18-20. Favor Hamilton was in the Missouri city to appear at that weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon festivities.
Most recently, the escort service posted on its web site that “Kelly” would be in Las Vegas between November 29 and December 5. Favor Hamilton arrived in town November 29 in advance of the December 2 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon race on the Strip. On November 30 and December 1 she appeared on a “panel of experts” (alongside legendary marathoners Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon) at the sprawling Sands convention center.
Favor Hamilton also did one-on-one sessions during which she donned a jog bra and a sparkly miniskirt and politely cajoled attendees at an adjacent health and fitness expo to join her onstage to wildly gyrate to Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven.” She punctuated her moves with Rockette-like kicks and appeared to be the only dancer not winded by the vigorous workout (which she reprised at the close of her presentation). Before departing the hall, Favor Hamilton happily chatted with fans and posed for photos.
When a reporter approached Favor Hamilton as she headed back to her room at the Venetian, she appeared momentarily taken aback, later explaining that while she was aware that TSG was working on a story, she had expected to receive a phone call, not a face-to-face visit.
Over the din of the nearby casino floor, Favor Hamilton admitted that she was “Kelly” and spoke of her concerns that she would be attacked as a “homewrecker.”
Appearing resigned that her baffling double life would no longer be a secret, she said, “I want to handle this like an adult.”
JANUARY 4--The madam who heads the Las Vegas escort agency that employed ex-Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton is a former hooker who abandoned a legitimate art business to operate the lucrative call girl ring full time, The Smoking Gun has learned.
Jami Lynn Rodman, 35, is the proprietor of Haley Heston’s Private Collection, which describes itself as “the premier Boutique Escort Agency of Las Vegas.” Since 2010, Rodman’s operation has represented scores of high-priced escorts working in Las Vegas and most other major U.S. cities.
Along with Favor Hamilton--who spent a year working as an escort named “Kelly”--the Heston roster has included porn stars, centerfold models, and Rodman herself, who has used the alias “Haley Heston.”
Until recently, the escort service maintained an extensive web site and a Twitter account that were used to market the services of its “courtesans.” However, following the publication of a December 20 TSG story about the 44-year-old Favor Hamilton’s secret life as a Haley Heston escort, the operation has been buffeted by unwanted publicity, media inquiries, and speculation about an FBI investigation into the outfit’s illegal interstate activities.
The escort service’s web site and Twitter page have been deleted and calls to its two phone numbers go unanswered. Haley Heston’s annual “meet and greet”--where johns mingle with escorts in a swanky Las Vegas hotel suite--had been scheduled for January 9, but has been postponed “in light of recent events.” The last-minute rescheduling was announced in a December 21 post on The Erotic Review (TER), a popular escort service discussion board.
In response to TER posts about the disappearance of its web site, the Heston firm noted that “Paparazzi glitter exploded in our inbox” and “I think the Mayans crashed our server.” Prospective clients were advised that they could still contact the escort service via private messages channeled through the TER site.
On December 28, a call to the escort service was answered, “Hello, this is Haley.” When a reporter told “Haley” that TSG had determined her true identity, Rodman remarked that she anticipated being outed in the wake of TSG's story about Favor Hamilton, who is seen below in a photo from the Haley Heston web site. Stating that, “Everything’s been a whirlwind,” Rodman requested a few days to decide whether she would do a comprehensive interview about her escort business (which she runs with the help of a male assistant known as “Troy”).
TSG agreed to give Rodman until January 2 to consider her options.
On Wednesday, when a reporter called Rodman in Las Vegas, she was not in the mood to talk. “You should know how this works. You’re crazy to think I’m the only one involved here. It’s a lot bigger than you think,” said a jittery Rodman. She continued, “You know, I can’t talk right now. They know you called.”
When asked about the mysterious “they,” Rodman replied, “They’re here. I can’t, I can’t talk right now. I’m gonna have to get in touch with you later.” Rodman did not respond to several subsequent phone and e-mail messages.
Rodman’s reluctance to speak further about her escort operation is, of course, understandable considering that the illicit business has likely been violating an assortment of federal laws, including promoting prostitution, money laundering, and conspiracy. Additionally, in a blog post last year on the Haley Heston web site, Rodman assured clients that the escort service could, “at the push of a button,” destroy electronic records in the face of a subpoena.
Rodman also claimed in that 2012 post that her escort service had somehow “obtained cellphones that are not registered to anyone.” Such security measures, she added, “do not come cheap, nor easy, but we are thorough and discretion is extremely important to us--ours, our ladies, and yours!”
While her off-the-grid phone claim cannot be vetted, a cell phone number Rodman has used does have a curious pedigree. The number tracks to a purported janitorial service operating out of a Las Vegas residence that is also home to a variety of other businesses, including three upholstery firms, a photo company, a landscaper, a jeweler, the “Nevada Institute of Technology,” and a telecommunications firm whose principal is a bounty hunter who also happens to own a porn web site.
An examination of court records reveals that Rodman has never been arrested in connection with her escort work or the operation of the Haley Heston firm. She was briefly jailed last August on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court to answer a speeding citation. Rodman was booked into the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where the above mug shot was taken.
Her rap sheet also includes minor arrests in 2000 and 2002 (theft and interfering with police). At the time, Rodman was living in Oregon, where she was raised and attended high school. In 1999, at age 22, she divorced Steven Ottinger, her 34-year-old husband, a convicted felon who previously spent time in state prison for manslaughter (he stabbed a man to death). In an earlier case, Ottinger beat a murder rap (he had been accused of stabbing a man to death).
Court records indicate that Rodman relocated to Nevada in early-2003, moving into the Spanish Ridge apartment complex about five miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Within a few years, Rodman launched Artonauts, a firm that promoted the work of “emergent international artists,” especially those from Cuba. According to the Artonaut web site, the company brokered the purchase of foreign artworks and arranged for their importation into the U.S..
The company eventually morphed into Artonauts Fine Arts, which “began manufacturing framed artwork, canvas prints, and unique sculptures” for clients in the “hospitality, corporate, and private sectors.” Nevada state records list Rodman as the firm’s only corporate officer.
Operating from a series of small offices, Rodman was aided by a sole employee and occasional freelancers. The firm’s web site lists about two dozen clients, including hotel/casinos (Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Harrah’s), architecture firms, interior designers, and a children’s hospital. In early 2010, Rodman’s firm was one of hundreds of exhibitors at the Hospitality Design expo inside the sprawling Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas.
However, by the end of 2010, Rodman was ready to abandon her art firm, according to a business associate who spoke with TSG.
The source said that Rodman explained that she “wanted to pursue other things” and had taken a night class in web design at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The associate described Rodman as “all over the place,” adding that she once spoke about enrolling in a master’s degree program for international studies (it is unclear, however, whether Rodman attended college). A freelance artist told TSG that he was stiffed on a final project for Rodman’s firm and that she “just disappeared from sight” when he sought to track her down for payment.
Rodman secured the web address for the Haley Heston site in October 2010, registering the url anonymously through a Singapore domain trust. The site went live later that month and included photos, profiles, and rate sheets for the company’s initial collection of escorts, including Rodman. “All Escorts are personal friends of Haley Heston's and elect to advertise on the most prestigeous escort site serving las vegas,” the site assured prospective johns.
In early-2011, Rodman posed for a series of racy photos that appeared on the web site of Haute Shots, a Las Vegas business specializing in “boudoir photography.” A caption accompanying the pictures (one of which is NSFW) notes that, “Ms. R is one of those feline-like females who just oozes sex appeal.” A Haute Shots representative declined a TSG request to publish one of the photos, since “The model release that we have for Ms. Rodman would not enable us permission to allow publication outside of our own marketing purpose.”
At the point the Haley Heston web site was taken down, about 30 hookers were featured on it. Their individual rates were no less than $500 an hour, with some commanding five figures for 24-hour “dates.” Favor Hamilton charged $600 per hour and became so popular that she was the third-ranked Las Vegas escort according to TER reviewers.
If law enforcement decides to examine Haley Heston’s cash-only operation, agents will face the difficult task of conducting a forensic review of Rodman’s finances (and perhaps those of escorts like Favor Hamilton). Though tedious and time consuming, following the money is central to building cases against escort firms (see: Spitzer, Eliot).
In late-November, the operator of a large Las Vegas escort service was indicted on federal charges for allegedly laundering $2.4 million in illicit proceeds. The case was brought by a task force headed by Internal Revenue Service agents and, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “is thought to be the first in a crackdown on the lucrative escort service business, long regarded as a haven for prostitution on the Strip.”
While it is difficult to estimate how much money the Haley Heston service banked during the past two-plus years, a clue might be contained in the finances of Artonauts, Rodman’s fine arts company. Though the firm has been dormant for two years, it maintains a web site and remains “active,” according to Nevada state records.
A recent report on Artonauts by Dun & Bradstreet, the business information firm, estimated that the company’s “annual sales” were $670,000 and that it had 10 employees. D&B gathers financial information from a variety of sources, including “direct investigations and interviews with the company principals.”
Incorporation records also show that, two months after Haley Heston’s launch, Rodman formed Theys Consulting, LLC (she is listed in state records as the firm’s registered agent and manager). Perhaps these were the shadowy “theys” to which a panicky Rodman referred when last speaking with a TSG reporter. (6 pages)