Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - For over 6 months, WHAS11's Andy Treinen has been digging into allegations that the man in charge of a local modeling agency is actually running a male escort service.
Models say the guy who runs Models Today L.L.C. isn't placing men in modeling jobs but several of them say Russell Claxon is making offers.
"He's like, would you rather suck a **** for $10,000 or would you rather not make the money?" said Kyle Dever, who took Claxon to small claims court.
Dever didn't do research on-line until after he'd paid Claxon $450.
"I'm in a lot of credit card debt and I needed money very badly and I made a really bad decision," said Dever.
Dever was awarded his $450 dollars in Judge Jacquelyn Eckerts court room.
15 people have filed complaints against Claxon with the Better Business Bureau and of those 15, 7 models mentioned solicitation for prostitution or inappropriate sexual propositions.
WHAS11 News tracked 5 of them down.
"He actually offered me a job that day. He said give me one hour of your time and I'll give you $4,500."
WHAS11 News wanted to get a better idea how the business worked so we started by trying to contact Russell Claxon. His criminal file indicates he spent time for promoting prostitution in the early 90s. WHAS11 News wanted to know if he was back at it.
"How is your business different now from when you were charged and convicted of promoting prostitution?” asked Andy Treinen.
Claxon talked to Andy on the telephone one time and he said if he called again he'd file a complaint for harassment. He has since repeatedly turned down e-mail requests to talk.
All the while Claxon is expanding his client base. WHAS11 News happened upon him taking pictures of a model near Cherokee Park. Michael Casolari also had pictures taken in a park.
"I had to actually strip down in the woods to change and it kind of just a really odd scene," said Casolari.
Louisville Metro Police have taken several phone complaints about Claxon including one from a man who says he traveled to Louisville one night to have sex with other men for money. He says the money was promised by Russell Claxon.
One model says that one night he had sex with 4 different men who showed up and left a hotel room anonymously. He says that all the while audio from the encounters was transmitted over a cell phone.
"You seem like a normal guy. How does this happen, how do you end up in that hotel room?” asked Andy.
"He's showing me pictures of a guy he claims has done this and bought a Mercedes, brand new Mercedes, $70,000 to $80,000 car doing this,” he says.
But just like the other guys, this model never made a dime. When he was in bad health didn't show up to get pictures taken for the web site, Claxon sent a collection agency in pursuit of $600 for breach of contract.
A sergeant in Louisville's Vice Unit tells WHAS11’s Andy Treinen this is a very difficult crime to prosecute because promoting prostitution has to be caught in the act but there is an open investigation into some of the claims you've heard in this story including fraud and promoting prostitution.
As for the models, many of which are still on Claxon's web site, they simply want to be left alone.
The Better Business Bureau has 15 complaints against Russell Claxon. They forward them on to him, and in some cases on to police. At this point the B.B.B. says Claxon chooses not to answer those complaints.