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Report: Stabenow's husband paid prostitute in sting

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Courtesy of Freep.com


Thomas Athans, the husband of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and cofounder of a liberal talk radio network, told Troy police detectives that he paid a prostitute $150 for sex at a Troy hotel in late February, according to a police report obtained Wednesday by the Free Press under the Freedom of Information Act.



Athans, 46, was not arrested or charged, but agreed to fully cooperate with police in their investigation of Internet-based prostitution at hotels in the city, according to the report. Athans was pulled over by police on I-75 minutes after leaving the Residence Inn on Livernois, just east of I-75 and south of Big Beaver, the evening of Feb. 26. He was driving a Cadillac DeVille registered jointly to him and Stabenow at their address in Lansing.


He was ticketed for driving on a suspended license. When questioned during the stop, he acknowledged he had been at the hotel with a woman he met on the Internet. On further questioning, he acknowledged he had paid the woman $150 for sex.


“This is very disturbing and serious. Obviously it’s a deeply difficult and personal matter,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in an official statement issued late this morning, in response to the Free Press story.


Athans and Stabenow, a U.S. senator since 2001, were married in 2003. Stabenow did not show up for a news conference this morning at the Capitol.


"He was very cooperative. He didn’t tell officers who he was. He did not ask for any special treatment,” said Lt. Gerard Scherlinck, the information officer for the Troy Police.


Police arrested, Alycia Martin, 20, of Westland in the hotel room. She was charged with prostitution. Police confiscated a cell phone, a laptop and $431. She told police she had only been working as a prostitute for about a week and didn’t know how many men had visited her the day she was arrested, according to the report.


The room Martin was in was an 800-square-foot, two-story penthouse suite.


Police went to the hotel after a detective working on Internet-based prostitution at hotels in the city came across a solicitation for sex on a Web site, backpage.com. Plainclothes detectives went to the hotel and set up a surveillance and watched Athans drive up, go inside and then leave about 15 minutes later.


Athans is a radio producer who’s spent the past several years trying to launch liberal talk shows that could counter popular conservative radio programming.


Before starting his current firm TalkUSA Radio in 2006, Athans was the head of syndicated programming at Air America, the liberal network that declared bankruptcy that year. TalkUSA launched one syndicated talk show last year.


Athans has strong ties to Democratic Party officials and liberal activists; Sen. Hillary Clinton publicly acknowledged him during her speech in Detroit last month.


According to the Washington Post, Clinton and other senators attended a fund-raiser in 2004 for Athans’ previous network, Democracy Radio, which raised $1.8 million to launch the talk show of Ed Schultz. Athans dissolved Democracy Radio in May 2006.


He was also an Oxford Village council member.


Stabenow, 57, has been a major figure in Michigan politics for several decades. She has served in the Legislature, in the U.S. House and in 2000 upset incumbent Republican Spencer Abraham. In 1994, she lost a race for governor.

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