Zumba instructor accused of running prostitution ring out of studio

Zumba instructor accused of running prostitution ring out of studio

Alexis Wright, 29, left, sits during her arraignment on 109 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her Kennebunk fitness studio and office, Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Maine. (Joel Page/AP Photo)

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by ABC NEWS

WHAS11.com

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 11 at 12:09 AM

(ABC NEWS) -- A Zumba instructor in the seaside resort town of Kennebunk, Maine, is fighting charges that she used her workout studio as a brothel and her alleged client list includes area mayors, a lawyer involved in the case said.

Alexis Wright, 29, and her friend and former business partner, Mark Strong, 57, both pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of prostitution and promoting prostitution, respectively.

According to an indictment filed last month in York County, Wright was using her Zumba gym, Pura Vida Studio, to have sex with men in exchange for money, ABC News affiliate WMTW reported. She allegedly had a video camera set up in the room to film the acts as well.

Strong was charged with promoting prostitution as well invasion of privacy for his role in setting up the camera and connecting it to the internet to record individuals without their knowledge, according to WMTW's reports.

Wright's attorney did not immediately return calls for comment. Daniel Lilley, Strong's attorney, says his client denies any involvement in a prostitution business. Strong loaned Wright money to start her Zumba studio, money that she repaid him completely, Lilley said.

Police say they have more than 100 hours of video from their investigation into the alleged brothel, and have confiscated an alleged client list containing more than 100 names.

Lilley said he has not seen the video, hard drives, or images taken from his client's home and business and allegedly used in the case. He has seen the list of names of "patrons," he said, whose titles include multiple mayors, attorneys, and prominent local figures, but no national figures.

"The Bushes aren't on the list, since I've already been asked that," Lilley said, referring to the family of president George H. Bush and George W. Bush, who have a vacation home in neighboring Kennebunkport.

The list of men who allegedly came to Wright for sex could be released to the public, according to a ruling Tuesday by a judge in the case, WMTW reported.

Justice Nancy Mills refused a motion by the state to seal the client list. Lilley said he would not release the list out of concern for the wives and children of the clients, and did not know if another attorney would.

The clients are now being interviewed by police about their involvement, Lilley said.

"I think there's a lot of people talking and probably some people that are sweating bullets about that list that may or may not come out," Kennebunk resident Brian O'Donnell told ABC News.

The Attorney General's office, which is handling the prosecution, also did not return calls.

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