You have no clue how close I was to having you put in the fucking hospital," says Scottie Ewing.
I've called Ewing to ask about the latest development in the federal tax-evasion case involving his onetime ownership of a high-end prostitution service known as Denver Players and Denver Sugar. A motion filed in early January indicates that Ewing has struck a deal to serve as a witness in the upcoming trial of Brenda Stewart, who bought the company from Ewing and was the madam-in-charge when IRS raids took the operation down in 2008.
I ask Ewing how he feels about testifying against Stewart, his former escort employee who is currently facing twenty years in prison, but the discussion quickly moves to a photograph Westword published of Ewing with his then-girlfriend in "Swap Talk," the June 22, 2006, cover story that detailed his exploits as the owner of a local swingers' club. "You totally fucked up her life, by the way," he says. "Her relationship with her parents is pretty much non-existent because of that whole thing, and thanks to you."
According to a motion submitted by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office in anticipation of Ewing's February 16 sentencing, Ewing "provided what the government believes was complete and truthful information about his participation in the charged crime. The defendant has also provided extensive information about the participation of others in a variety of crimes."
As part of the plea deal, Ewing will have to pay roughly $80,000 in back taxes on the money he earned from 2004 to 2005 while running the $300-per-hour escort business. Aside from six months of home detention, he will serve no jail time.
Ewing acknowledges that he's getting what amounts to "a slap on the wrist" following a nearly five-year investigation into the escort underworld. "But I wasn't the target," he asserts. "I was merely collateral damage in Brenda's case. And [investigators] looked at me and said he's running a legitimate business, he did good things with his money, he's paying his taxes now."
Ewing was still receiving monthly payments from Stewart's escort business in 2006 when he purchased 1395 West Alameda Avenue, a building that he converted into Sugar House, a restaurant and bar that also serves as an on-premise swingers' club. "I'm a nice guy and people like me," Ewing says. "There's a few people in Denver who don't, and that's because I was put into the public eye and that swinging is bad and all that other bullshit. And those people are busybodies that belong to neighborhood associations and all that. Other than that, I'm a good guy."
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