Feature | Grudge Match: Alleged pimp Steve Maese and D.A. Lohra Miller go all out to flatten each other | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Feature | Grudge Match: Alleged pimp Steve Maese and D.A. Lohra Miller go all out to flatten each other

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Did they do the deed or not?
There is little doubt that some former Doll House employees engaged in prostitution. Several admitted as much during the preliminary hearing. But did Maese know? The district attorney will have to prove he did to make charges against Maese stick at his trial, scheduled for July 11.

The strongest evidence against Maese comes from the escort who told Bartlett she has a “vendetta” against her former employer. With most other interviewed escorts, she said Maese was not typically involved in day-to-day operations. But she told about one exception.

A client was acting up, complaining the escort hadn’t brought condoms to their date. She phoned Curtis at the Doll House, but Curtis was busy and handed the phone to Maese who allegedly said, “Go down the hill; get the condoms; go back up and try to work something out with the guy.”

Found at Curtis’ home during the raid were printouts from an online escort customer-review service, The Erotic Review, in which agency clients reported sex acts engaged in with escorts. At the preliminary hearing, however, employees testified many of the reviews were fiction, written as advertising by Doll House owners or escorts.

Two other former employees admitted sex with Doll House clients but told investigators that far from being encouraged to have sex, they hid the fact from Doll House managers.

One, a young blonde, testified in court about five occasions of sex acts. But pressed during her interview with Sheriff’s investigators about whether she ever told Maese or Curtis she was having sex, she said no.

“They made it seem like, oh, no, our girls don’t do that,” she said. “I didn’t want to be like, ‘Oh, I gave in and did it.’”

kentmorganjl.jpg
Maese, like his friend Morgan says, isn’t perfect. His story of persecution by Miller is undercut by the fact that he could have walked away from much of his legal trouble long ago. He acknowledges he was offered the same plea deal given to his one-time business partner Curtis: all felony charges dropped for a couple of misdemeanor “attempted” exploitation of prostitution charges.

But Maese doesn’t know how to say “uncle.”

Miller had been in office as district attorney only one month when media outlets reported on complaints of parties at her South Jordan home. The state attorney general looked into the allegations and found nothing. Maese thought he could do better. In November 2007, he asked a private investigator who had been working on his criminal case to do a side job by checking out Lohra Miller. “I turned the tables on her,” Maese says.

Sitting in Miller’s cul-de-sac videotaping until the wee hours, Maese’s investigator found some evidence that gave weight to neighbor’s complaints of parties at the home. Rüdiger Investigations found better evidence that Miller had operated a home law office without a business license and lied about it to an investigating South Jordan Police officer.

As crazy as the Maese-Miller grudge match has been so far, it’s likely only going to get worse. Maese, the accomplished Webmaster, has assembled an online diatribe against his nemesis. On the district attorney’s end, the case for firing Morgan appears to have morphed recently into a wider investigation with Miller turning some aspects over for investigation to her old friend, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who backed Miller’s bid for district attorney. Morgan says an investigator has been contacting all his acquaintances asking for dirt.

“Lohra Miller has gone after a person, not a crime,” complains Maese. “Now it’s Kent Morgan. This is about doing whatever we can to find a crime and then we’re going to charge them. … That is a dangerous, dangerous thing.”

Editor’s note: The Doll House is a former City Weekly advertiser. City Weekly advertising receipts were among evidence taken by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in the April 2006 Doll House raid.