JOHN Issa, the SuperClubs chairman, declared that he was not running a "whorehouse" and that, to his knowledge, "whores are not working" in his Hedonism hotel.
Issa was giving a follow-up deposition in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida, in pursuance of a lawsuit he filed in the US, claiming that he was defamed by e-mails traced to computers originating in that US state.
Attorney Reginald Clyne of Clyne and Associates, representing the defendants in the lawsuit, asked Issa: "Do you think having sordid sexual activities occurring at Hedonism, does that do damage to your name?"
The Jamaican hotelier responded: "What occurs at Hedonism can only be sordid in some people's eyes. Some look at it as a way of life. I don't know who you subscribe to, but we are not the Taliban that tells people their morals and how to live. Stop trying to bring the Taliban type of thinking to Jamaica and
Clyne: "Mr Issa, with all due respect, you're the one that says you can't have anybody saying anything negative about you."
Issa's attorney, Joe DeMaria objected, saying: "That is not what the complaint says, I believe."
Issa: "There are laws against libel and you, as an attorney, should know better and not try to confuse me by.there is a law against libel and libel breaches the law and there are remedies before the courts for libel."
Clyne: "You realise that your reputation is at issue here. You're claiming it's been damaged by some e-mails. Do you understand that?"
Clyne: "And in order for me to show that there is no defamation, I have to show what was stated in those e-mails was true. Do you understand that?"
DeMaria: "You're mis-stating Florida law and I object to the form. You have to show the defendants did not send the e-mails."
Clyne: "So one of the statements was that your hotels are, basically, a brothel?"
DeMaria: "Objection. Not basically. Object to the form."
Issa: "The statement was that I'm running a whorehouse."
Clyne: "And under oath are you going to tell me that whores are not working in your hotels?"
Issa: "I'm telling you, I'm not running a whorehouse. To my knowledge, whores are not working in the hotel. If it came to my knowledge, they would be thrown out of it, if that is so."
Clyne: "When these e-mails came out and someone
made that statement, what investigation did you do to make sure whores are not working in your hotel?"
Issa: "That e-mail was so sleazy and low life, attacking my family and saying such ridiculous things, I wouldn't give it the honour to check those things. That's something we monitor regularly. We have undercover people going there to try and
stop drug sales which take place at the airports and in public places."
Clyne: "The question is, with these allegations of prostitutes working out of your hotels, don't you think as a good businessman you should check and make sure prostitutes are not working there?"
DeMaria: "Hold on. Objection. He has already answered that. He answered it had nothing to do (with)
e-mails. He does it as a regular practice."
Clyne: "Not prostitutes, drugs... You check for prostitutes?"
DeMaria: "He answered that."
Issa: "The management team knows they are to run these people out of the place. If any of the entertainment troops misbehave, they are not to be called back. This is what is set down as our rules."
Clyne: "You don't bring Brazilians so they can (have) sex with your guests?"
Later, Clyne asked Issa whether he wanted guests being provided with drugs by his staff and he replied: "No. It's a constant battle to keep it out of all hotels in Jamaica."
Clyne: "You wouldn't permit, say, people on your property, to be openly selling drugs?"
Issa: "We try very hard to stop it, if it's happening."
Clyne: "If your bartenders are telling them 'you can go buy drugs here', 'here is what you can have', that would also be something inappropriate, would you agree?"
Issa: "Yes, and I'm telling people it's very hard to catch, and if you don't have it recorded, and we have labour laws in Jamaica, so you can't fire people based on innuendo. You have laws."
Clyne went on to ask Issa: "You would agree it would be improper for your managers to sell day passes to prostitutes to come to your property and service the guests?"
Issa: "The managers don't sell day passes. People come to the front desk. They buy a day pass and they go and spend the day. When they book to stay on our website, they can book online, they arrive at the airport, they stay at the hotel. You do not ask them their race, their religion, their sexual preference, so much less do we ask "are you a doctor, are you a lawyer, are you a prostitute, and I put prostitutes and lawyers close together."
To be continued.