- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

FREDERICK, Md. — Residents are flocking to City Hall to take a little walk on the wild side — or to read about someone who has.

The stately second-floor lobby this week has become the repository of lists of prostitutes and their clients, steamy e-mails and even X-rated “promotional” videos — copies of which can be purchased.

The city has been ordered to make public the “blue” material as evidence from the prosecution of Angelika Potter, who ran a call-girl operation called Corporate Affair Referral Service more than three years ago.

Locals — as well as curious souls from other parts — are poring through boxes of documents and pages of records to see who took advantage of Potter’s services.

“I’m just here to see if my ex-husband is in here,” said a 39-year-old woman who was rifling through boxes of recovered e-mail messages yesterday.

A man looking through another box said he was looking for information to aid his fight to win custody of his children.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ordered city officials to make public the “black book” records, ending a three-year legal battle by the Frederick News-Post, the Associated Press and a resident to gain access to the material under the state’s Public Information Act.

The appellate court’s ruling also forced officials to screen in City Hall pornographic videos produced by Potter’s defunct operation and to sell copies of the X-rated flick for $20.

“I would blush if I watched something like that,” Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty told The Washington Times yesterday. “It would bother me if people were watching pornography in City Hall, but as of [yesterday] nobody asked.”

But later yesterday, one man did request to see it. He was told that the city’s legal office would “arrange for a private viewing” and that one of the city’s legal officers would chaperone the session.

“It’s just another public record,” said Heather Price Smith, the city’s chief legal officer.

Mrs. Smith had the unique privilege of preparing the massive public display; previewing the pornographic material, video of police surveillance and interrogations; and reading the 8,500 pages of e-mails, client lists and other documents associated with the seven-month police investigation of the Corporate Affair operation.

The police records and business files from Potter’s call-girl and Internet pornography business are spread across on a long row of narrow tables lined up in the upstairs anteroom.

One box contains police files and evidence seized during the 1999 raid on her home and an apartment unit that was used as a bordello.

Three other boxes are stuffed with e-mails recovered from her computers and deleted e-mail files. Many of the messages are from men arranging for dates with “Nikki,” “Jade,” “Angel” and “Nina.”

Another box is filled with miscellaneous police records, including client lists and Corporate Affair’s business accounts.

An entire set of the material can be purchased for $3,000, and the News-Post has been the only taker so far. But about 100 people have paid $20 for a copy of the 82-page client list.

Potter received probation and a $100 fine after being convicted in 2000 of running a “house of assignation.”

The scandal over her “black book,” which purportedly included the names of government officials, ended the political career of former Alderman Blaine Young, who did not run for a second term after the News-Post implicated him as a client.

It also helped Mrs. Dougherty’s “open-government” campaign to a landslide victory in 2001 over longtime Mayor James S. Grimes, who had tried to dispose of the black book a year earlier.

Now it’s all public record — and the public is intrigued.

Retired high school teacher Donald Campbell yesterday was just looking for any name he recognized in the yards of documents.

“I’ve been in this town 40 years. I know a lot of people,” said Mr. Campbell, 69.

Then he came across a familiar name: Campbell.

“I was curious if there would be a ‘Campbell,’” he said. “I’m sure a lot are aliases.”

Mr. Campbell said he had never used Corporate Affair or any other “escort” service. “My wife wouldn’t allow that,” he said.

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