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MAY 16, 2011 1:34PM

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Arrested: The Sofitel Connection

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and French Presidential hopeful was tracked by New York's finest and plucked directly from his first-class seat on a Paris-bound flight just minutes before departure.  Earlier that same day, Strauss-Kahn allegedly held a maid captive in his $3000/night suite at the Hotel Sofitel in mid-town Manhattan. He then allegedly restrained and orally sodomized her. After the incident, he left the hotel for his scheduled flight. Full story here.

Doggonit! He left his phone behind. Don't you just hate when that happens. Coached by security officials, a hotel staff member called to tell him about the lost phone and gathered his flight information. 

To her credit, the Sofitel chambermaid reported the crime to police and picked Mr. Strauss-Kahn out of a line-up. If she had only hesitated, equivocated, or deviated for a few hours more, the high-level cad would have been beyond the reach of US authorities. Due to the actions of this young woman, one of the most powerful men in the world will be arraigned today on attempted rape and criminal sexual assault charges. You go gurl!

           Photos of Sofitel Washington DC, Washington DC
         This photo of Sofitel Washington DC is courtesy of TripAdvisor

When I saw his mug on the news last night, I recognized the name and face right away. I knew that guy, or at least we had been acquainted--sort of--when I worked at "Le Bar" in the Hotel Sofitel DC.

The French boutique hotel (translation-- tiny, over-priced rooms) is located on 15th and H, a stone's throw from the White House. During the 2008 campaign season we played host to a host of literary luminaries, congress critters, celebrities, journalists, and mid-level government officials. Lured by the glamour of the location, the job seemed to me more than just serving Arnold Palmers for lunch and cocktails after five. For a political junkie, the position was golden. I would be slightly privy to the turning wheels and whims of Washington. Of my 18 months as a Sofitel employee, the first year or so wonderous--a blur of celebrity encounters, power brokers and wine tastings. High times until the sparkle faded, until I woke up and realized that regardless of who you happen to be serving, serving sucks!

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was one of the guys on the wall in the service prep area, one of the in-house dignitaries whose names and faces we would commit to memory while we rolled silverware and filled salt shakers. With VIPs arranged pyramid style, Mr. Strauss-Kahn's picture was at the top. Working in a French bar, my biggest fear was being perceived as an American rube, especially when it came to wine. When the Strauss-Kahns of the world were scheduled to arrive,  I made a careful study of the wine list and tasted my way to passable expertise.

Though I served Mr. Strauss-Kahn a few times it was always one of his aides who took the wine order. He never knew how much I knew. In my experience, the IMF chief was the consummate gentleman--not always the case with these dignitary types, trust me. He did not look like a sexual predator, far from it, but then they rarely do. He looked more like the grandpa next door, or perhaps a world banker.

So what happens now? In his court appearance today, he was determined by the judge to be a flight risk and denied bail. As I write, he sits in a holding cell awaiting formal sentencing later this week. An acting IMF chief has been appointed as the markets decide if his arrest is enough to disrupt international monetary affairs. While his lawyers vigorously deny the allegations, the preliminary evidence suggests otherwise. If the maid's story holds up, he can kiss his Presidential aspirations goodbye. Did his political rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, set him up with the maid to eliminate his competition? The plot thickens.


...And consider this, the Sofitel maid is not the only one to call the IMF chief out on his boorish behavior. Pictured above: "French writer Tristane Banon claims the IMF chief acted like a 'rutting chimpanzee' in an attack on her nine years ago." Ms. Banon was persuaded by her mother not to press charges at the time, but after learning of the attack on the maid in New York,  she's had a change of heart. Opportunist or victim? Stay tuned...


      Image credits: Financial Times, The London Telegraph

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Hmm makes you wonder.. I am calling it first..EP EP hahaha
rated with hugs
Definitely EP material. You are in the center of the universe and a wonderful reporter.
rated with love
Good for the maid! That animal, if guilty, doesn't deserve to be President of anything, unless it's his cell block. You certainly have lived a colorful life, bb. As an event planner in one of my lives, attempted groping was on the menu quite a bit. My reflex is to hit the guy, so my reputation preceded me, I guess. Nobody enjoys being smacked, even mashers.

This was so interesting. You must have some stories to tell. Too bad he didn't come off as a bastard. That would be a great karma story. True, serving sucks.
The Sofitel experience was during the time when I had separated from my then boyfriend/now husband. I'm glad it all worked out and we're back together now, but that separation period was an exciting time in many ways. I also performed with a jazz trio for Sunday brunch at the same bar.
A socialist about to reach the highest position in "our needed ally", France? A set-up? Nah...... our "good guys" wouldn't do a thing like that, would they?

At least this one wasn't murdered.....

Very interesting piece! Thanks for sharing. As you said, stay tuned... I'm sure more "details" will come out soon. People across the Atlantic are in total shock, BTW!
fishy timing with Merkel and running for President is my bet, although one never knows.
But some people's signiture move, so all the people watching get the move's point, is to discredit, which is better than being poisoned.
Kanuk and Don--fishy indeed. My husband thinks it odd that he would randomly attack some maid the way he did. I say lack of impulse control can be very real and can worsen with age.
I am becoming convinced that you know absolutely everyone in the world in some way or another. Fascinating!
He sickens me. I wonder how many "weren't" reported? Or paid off?
A $3000 night room, and this scumbag has to rape the maid. I hope they hang his ass!
You did such a great job on this story!!! I love how you used your plucky and intelligent reporting style to make this even more interesting - and then of course there's the fact that you've actually seen DSK in person! I can't wait for my boyfriend to read this! Excellent job, though I don't know if he's guilty or not - some of the conspiracy theories going around are so persuasive sounding. I await the trial.
Fascinating angle on an equally fascinating story. Ah, to be a fly on the wall at the Sofitel, as you were.
Good work, Blue! This is a great piece. (I stayed at the Sofitel once but didn't see anyone famous.) :) ~r
@Joanie and Kathy--Now I wish I had posted the earlier version where I talked about some of my encounters including Rahm Emanuel, Dana Perino, Edward Norton, Herbie Hancock and Bishop Despmond Tutu to name a few. I thought it went on too long talking about me and my experience when it was supposted to be about this news item. I have so many Sofitel stories...not sure why I haven't gotten around to writing about that experience. I will have to open the vault and share.
BB, that needs to be "Sofitel Stories." Or "Fly on the Wall." I eagerly await those tales.
Great suggestions Kathy! I love "Fly on the wall."
Not normally drawn to intrigues like this, you had me spellbound - I'm intrigued !
Also, I hope Herbie Hancock was as wonderful as he sounds ...
Nice first-hand report, BSB. Though I will make the obligatory "innocent until proven guilty" proviso, I will also note that it is quite common for the powerful to prey on the relatively powerless. And what kind of "socialist" stays in $3,000 a night room and tootles around in a Porsche?
Kim- Herbie Hancock was charming, but not what you'd expect for a jazz musician...a little nerdy actually. Mind you, I don't mean that in a bad way, I think he's great. That's just the easiest way to describe him.

Cranky--socialist my foot right. I could have done better about giving him the benefit of the doubt until proven a cad, but it didn't fit so well into my little narrative :) But of course, we will watch and see how this pans out.
So, no running down the hallway for you? What goes around comes around -- while in jail, we'll see how much he likes being handled the way he treated women. Don't drop the soap DSK.
I just read the complaint, and he succeeded in orally sodomizing her, and attempted rape with forcible restraint. She didn't hesitate, going straight to her bosses and then the police while he was busy catching his flight. Soon enough, we will learn of the others. He has been accused by colleagues of sexually assaulting maids at hotels, in addition to the journalist we know about. Feel sorry for his wife, hope she can learn from Jenny Sanford.
Dollars to doughnuts that "maid" is an agent. I guess some people figured that, "hey, it worked with Wikileaks......"

It disgust me that some of the people I've looked up to here on OS are so often so damned quick to buy into the guilt of anyone accused of ANYTHING by 'Merikan Kops or government. Give yourselves a shake guys - a good hard one. Then grow up a bit..... sheesh!

Nice piece of behind the headlines reporting. It would kill his presidential aspirations here, but it is France we are talking about..... Rated.
Fascinating anecdote.
How interesting that you met him! It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts....
I'm sure I won't make any new female friends in saying this, but I'm not going to be comfortable indicting, much less convicting this man, until absolutely everything about his accuser's background has been checked out thoroughly. I'm not suggesting she be defamed without serious consequences had by anyone responsible, but this affair strikes me as just a smidgen too convenient at quite the opportune time for too many powerful people and institutions.

Not saying one way or the other, but if this is/was a set-up, I don't think it's far fetched to say this is pretty much exactly how it would go down. After the shenanigans with Julian Assange, he should certainly be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond the shadow of any doubt. That's absolutely not what's happening here. He's getting the Amanda Knox treatment.

I hope my 'suspicions' are proven completely unfounded. FWIW I don't particularly like the French (though I have a grudging admiration for their guile--the frogs not only caused WWII, they suffered and sacrificed far less than just about anybody else) .. and of course I can't deny the glee of seeing one of the globalist shylocks using the tax dollars of hard working people in industrialized countries as an indemnity fund for corrupt and irresponsible economic and fiscal policies, rather abruptly downgraded from $3000 a night accommodations to the slightly more modest 11'-15' digs in the AS unit at Rikers. Now instead of facilitating $Billion bailouts he'll get to facilitate whether to spend a portion of his munificent commissary fund for a tube of Colgate or Jujubes.

Don't be surprised if in the next few days, weeks or months this goes away without so much as a grand jury indictment.

I suppose it's entirely possible Strauss-Kahn is some sort of myopic sociopath (it certainly wouldn't be the first time such a dreg enjoyed the patronage of the world's elite, Shikkelgruber was probably underwritten by some of their grandfathers) but that would be about the only explanation for what has been reported.
antisocialgrace--well...great comment! I am also waiting for the story to unfold. As far as this woman/accuser. If it's a lie, it's a whopper. I just couldn't imagine the nerve it would take to do such a thing.
What an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing the story!