The Perks of High-End Prostitution

Prostitution patrons pay thousands to get more than street-corner service.

ByABC News
March 11, 2008, 10:33 AM

March 11, 2008— -- The rich and ultrarich are used to getting extra service for their extra dollars -- and that holds when it comes to prostitutes.

Allegations that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer met with a high-priced prostitute have shined a fresh light on the most expensive side of the world's oldest profession. Spitzer has been linked to the Emperor's Club, an alleged prostitution operation that charged up to $5,500 an hour for one of its prostitutes. Spitzer allegedly spent $4,300 for the services of a prostitute who met the governor in a Washington D.C., hotel room the night before he was scheduled to testify before Congress on the state of the bond industry.

What do high-end prostitution operations offer that a street-corner working girl might not?

Former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss told ABC News that for rich, busy men, the convenience and predictability of using expensive prostitution rings are worth the price.

"The world's a lonely place -- it's hard to meet people, especially someone you like," said Fleiss, who was convicted in 1995 of tax evasion and money laundering in connection with a prostitution ring she ran. "It's so much easier to come home at night, to call an escort service and you know what you're going to get."

Fleiss' now-defunct service charged a flat rate of $1,500 per hour for each woman. Prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada, and Susan Austin, the madam of two Nevada brothels -- including the "world famous" Mustang Ranch -- said that some women there charge between $10,000 and $15,000 for a night or two days.

Though Austin said there is a huge distinction between legal brothels and illegal operations, the Emperor's Club's alleged rates didn't strike her as unusual.

"I know that ladies will charge that much or more, depending on what the gentleman wants," she said. "Everything's just according to what the gentleman wants."

Fleiss said that while the prices may seem exhorbitant to some, it's all relative, especially when a client's income is taken into account. Fleiss said that her affluent patrons often paid more than the flat rate, partly because their ultradeep pockets wouldn't feel the pinch.