Channel 4 got pretty excited tonight about an Ana Garcia investigative report that Troy Edwards, a deputy mayor under Jim Hahn, ran up $18,000 in bills for massages and sex at the Bonaventure Hotel spa during 2001-2002 and that Hahn commissioner Leland Wong got his employer, Kaiser Permanente, to pay for it. "Sex scandal that involves city leaders," anchor Chuck Henry enthused. "The stuff that Hollywood dramas are made of....huge political sex scandal," Garcia said on the air. Well...we'll see. The gist seems to be an allegation contained in Grand Jury testimony that Wong plied Edwards with sexual favors while trying to secure a lucrative contract from the Hahn Administration's harbor commission for shipping company Evergeen Marine.
Edwards, a campaign fundraiser by avocation, was the go-to Hahn aide for the harbor until he resigned amid allegations that he was central to a joint U.S.-local investigation of City Hall corruption involving contracts. That investigation is now widely seen as grossly overblown — so far only Wong has been charged, indicted in August for bribery and embezzlement. Establishing the Edwards connection is juicy, but NBC 4's report did not specify what evidence points to him getting sex at the Bonaventure in exchange for influence on contracts or Wong's role. (Edwards' and Wong's attorneys issued denials, and the Bonaventure spa says it doesn't provide sex.) Channel 4 political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe went on camera to point out that since the Hahn team was now out of office, she didn't see much potential for significant fallout from the revelations. Kudos to Channel 4, though, for going to court to gain access to the Grand Jury testimony.