Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pimping for Tickets Pays Off -- Maybe

A woman said her internet attempt to obtain tickets to the World Series was prompted by her Philadelphia Phillies fever – but police said it was ‘fever’ all right, and arrested her on prostitution charges.

Susan Finkelstein, a 43-year-old Southwest Philadelphia woman, who was allegedly willing to trade sex for Phillies tickets, is now getting her tickets without having to come across.

On Friday, Finkelstein, the assistant PR director of Penn's Wistar Institute, will receive two tickets for Saturday's Phillies-Yankees game, the first one to be played in Philadelphia and the third in the World Series.

Chio, of Chio in the Morning on WIRED 96.5-FM, and the Northeast Philly car dealer Gary Barbera will present the tickets to her at Barbera's car dealership on Roosevelt Boulevard.

Asked yesterday if she would accept the tickets, Finkelstein replied, “Yeah – as long as there’s no strings attached.”

Last night, Finkelstein, also a University of Pennsylvania master's-degree candidate in liberal arts, said that she never intended to offer sex for tickets in an internet advertisement she had placed on Craigslist that read:


"Diehard Phillies fan – gorgeous tall buxom blonde – in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable – I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!"

"I was looking for a way to get reduced World Series tickets," she said. "If I can flirt with someone and maybe get cheap tickets, more power to me."

But police said that Finkelstein wasn't merely flirting with the undercover cop posing as a ticketholder at a Bensalem bar (tavern) on Monday night, even though a source familiar with the case described the cop as "a stud of studs."

Law enforcement officers routinely scour Craigslist for alleged prostitutes and suspected child molesters. Finkelstein’s suspicious ad caught the attention of the Bensalem Police and an undercover officer set up a meeting with her at a local bar (tavern.)

According to police, Finkelstein offered to perform sex acts in return for a ticket that the undercover officer told her he had to sell.

Finkelstein, a former PR director at University of Pennsylvania, then allegedly asked if the 'fan' had a second ticket.

The officer told her that he and his brother had tickets to sell, according to police.

Finkelstein offered to perform sex acts on both of them, allegedly saying, "Well, I'd rather have two tickets, and I could take care of both of you."

Finkelstein was arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail on prostitution charges. “I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not embarrassed about my actions. I'm embarrassed about how I was arrested,” Finkelstein told reporters.

“I was hoping to maybe meet someone, and talk, and bat my eyelashes and maybe get some tickets,” she said, adding that she is very worried that she will never be able to regain her reputation.

The news stories surrounding the case have exploded on the web, some suggesting that Finkelstein and her husband, Jack, are “swingers,” meaning that they swap spouses with other couples.

"I really don't know where they get that from," she said. "The only swinging he's interested in is Chase Utley swinging that bat," said Brennan, referring to the two home runs the second baseman hit last night, leading the Phillies to 6-1 victory over the Yankees in Game One of the World Series.

She said the whole experience is like a “really vivid dream.” It was unclear what she meant.

According to her lawyer, William Brennan, “She was overcome with Phillies fever. She and her husband were looking for a chance to go to the World Series and she wound up in handcuffs. She might have dropped double entendres in her Craigslist ad but never explicitly offered sex.”

“This is ridiculous, the police have been far too overzealous – if she’s a hooker then I am a lounge singer," Brennan said. “We are talking about a married professional 43-year-old woman here and there was no smoking-gun with her advertisement. She was not advertising in any women for men section. She simply wanted to get tickets for herself and her husband."

Since the scandal erupted, Brennan said his client has gotten "hundreds of calls of support" from across the country, and even internationally.

“The police have charged her with soliciting prostitution and now they have a case to prove and I will take my chances in court over a crime that could potentially end-up with a two year sentence," he added. “I have no problem with the police cracking down on protecting minors and on prostitution but this was not that kind of case."

Brennan also said, “Both she and her husband are doing well under the circumstances and we are confident what the final outcome will be.”

Finkelstein is a graduate student at the University Of Pennsylvania and works at the Wistar Institute that specializes in biomedical research. On her Facebook page, she says she dreams of being “a Phillies groupie.”

She also questioned the integrity of the Bensalem police who have a hard-line reputation when it comes to tackling prostitution. A friend of Finkelstein’s replied on the Facebook site: “I share that thought with you Susan. But on the bright side it’s good to know they have completely eliminated all of the violent crime in Philly and now have the time to focus on insignificant issues.”

Finkelstein faces a preliminary hearing on Dec. 3.

(FYI: For all my friends in the UK, the World Series is the baseball equivalent of the FA Cup final. It is a best of seven series, which is played half the time in one of the team’s city, then changes to the other team’s home stadium. The Philadelphia Phillies are playing the New York Yankees for the baseball title. Some folks are calling the current spectacle ‘the Turnpike Tussle’ because of the road connecting the two cities — The Curator)

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