St. Maarten investigates alleged strip club payoff


Associated Press

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 11:06 PM

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) — Authorities in St. Maarten said Friday that they are investigating a video in which a legislator appears to accept money from the manager of an adult entertainment club as they discuss business permits.

Solicitor General Taco Stein told The Associated Press that he is studying the video after a local newspaper posted it online. He declined further comment and said he did not know how long it would take to analyze the tape.

The video is dated Sept. 30, 2012, and shows legislator Patrick Illidge putting stacks of money into his pocket that the manager of the "Bada Bing" club had just taken from a safe inside the strip club in Simpson Bay.

In the video, the manager, Jaap van den Heuvel, and Illidge are heard talking about documents needed to secure a club permit as well as extension of employment permits for the dancers. One of the manger's requests was that his business be allowed to remain open until 5 a.m.

Van den Heuvel is heard saying in Dutch: "At this moment I only have 15. We're almost there, it's almost arranged, only 30 left. You know what it is, we just had a very (expletive) quiet month. I can't take too much out. If I take too much out, then it will be obvious. Understand what I mean?"

Illidge is a member of the governing coalition in Parliament. He is currently in the Netherlands for business with a delegation from St. Maarten and could not be reached for comment. He was quoted as saying in The Daily Herald newspaper on Friday when asked about the video that he "will continue to work for the people."

St. Maarten is a Caribbean country that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Van den Heuvel laughed off the video in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, saying it was "incredible story," and suggested the tape shows him giving only fake money that the strip club passes out as advertising.

The club manager's mobile phone rang unanswered Friday.

The video was recently left anonymously in the newspaper's mailbox, said Gordon Snow, managing editor of The Daily Herald.

Leaders of the main opposition party issued a statement saying they were very disturbed about the video.

"The allegations are there and there needs to be a speedy and thorough investigation to ascertain what exactly transpired," the party said, adding that it would call for an urgent meeting of Parliament.

The video has sparked a heated debate in St. Maarten, with many people condemning it on social media sites.