The Case for IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn Being Setup

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Although it is very possible that IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a mad dog and sexually attacked a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York City without warning, there remains the possibility that the story is more complex and that he was setup by those who understood his weakness for women. There are facts that could perhaps resolve the situation of whether a setup occurred or not. Herein lies the curiosities of the case that suggest much more than a simple attack was going on and the facts that could eliminate the possibility of a setup or indeed make the case of a setup stronger.

First, it is somewhat interesting that the alleged attack was reported to the police at all. From experiences I have had, I suspect hotels try to stop such incidents from becoming public.

Many years ago I happened to be in the lobby of a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York city when I heard a commotion and then a gagging sound from the stairs leading to the level below me (For those familiar with the hotel this was by the internal entrance to the Bull and Bear restaurant). I headed down the stairs and there was a Japanese guest of the hotel on the floor being held at knife point by a mugger. My heading down the stairs caused the mugger to flee. When security finally arrived, their main concern was to get the shaken Japanese guest from public view. They weren’t interested in who I was, my description of the attacker or anything else.

I later thought about that and realized that hotels really don’t want a lot of police blotter activity about their hotels. If they can keep something internal, all the better.

During another experience with a hotel, I was booked into a hotel in Los Angeles by a client, a very high profile person. You would recognize the name. I arrived at the hotel early at 10:00 AM and proceeded to see if I could get an early check-in. A somewhat surly hotel front desk agent told me that there would be no rooms available until the 3:00 PM check-in time. I had given him my name and as he was casually looking at the screen, he appeared to notice something on the screen. He became apologetic and went and to get the general manager of this very large hotel, who came over to me and apologized profusely for not having my room ready and told me that the room would be ready in ten minutes. He then stayed with me for the full 10 minutes. He offered to get me coffee, offered to give me the passcode so I could use my laptop for the 10 minutes I was in the lobby. When the call came down that my room was ready, the general manager picked up my bags and carried them to my room. He didn’t even look for a bellman. He just picked up the bags. You have not lived until the general manager of a major hotel carries your bags to your room.

At some point I asked the maid for something, I forget what, and I remember her actually leaving the floor to get what I asked for. I asked her why everyone was going so much out of their way for me and she showed me her room chart where I was marked as a VIP.

So I’m guessing that my two experiences are common at most major hotels, such as the Sofitel where DSK was staying. To the degree they can, they try to squelch negative reports to the police and employees may not know a person is a VIP just by name, but there is likely some kind of designation for all employees to know that someone is a VIP.

So you had two factors here working to keep the sexual attack on the down-low. Hotels don’t like to appear in police blotters and employees know not to mess with VIP’s.

That’s why it doesn’t come to me as a surprise that Reuters is reporting:

New York investigators are questioning why the Sofitel hotel in New York waited an hour to call police after International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn left the hotel…

I’m a little bit surprised the call was made at all. Now maybe hotel security simply had to locate the general manager to get approval to call the police and the manager felt the attack on an employee was horrific and a call should be made immediately to the police and it was done so. But what suddenly prompted the call after an hour should be investigated. This delay isn’t the main point that proves a setup, but it does show there was some kind of hesitancy to call the police and this hesitancy was over-ruled by someone.

It also should be noted that the accuser is Muslim and wears a head scarf. France just banned the wearing of face veils in their country. She is also originally from the very poor country of Guinea, which at one time was a French colony. This probably all means nothing but should be noted. I would be curious to know if this maid was working her regular schedule, whether this was the regular floor she worked on and anything normal or abnormal about her work on that day. It is also interesting that this woman, who lives in the Bronx, is described as shy, keeps to herself and is an immigrant from Guinea, managed to hire a midtown Manhattan attorney. The attorney refuses to say anything about how he became her attorney other than stating that it was through a "mutual acquaintance." It’s possible they have a mutual acquaintance, but it would be interesting to know who that is. Again, nothing necessarily sinister going on here, but a few more facts might help to clarify things.

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2011 Economic Policy Journal