A Baltimore firefighter was arrested on charges that he ran a prostitution ring out of an apartment, reports the Baltimore Sun. According to police, Jamar Simmons was living a secret double life, one that gave him an extra annual income of $60,000, but also landed him behind bars.
The 29-year-old's apartment was raided July 9, resulting in both he and his alleged partner—Franklin Coit— being taken into custody. He was later suspended from the fire department without pay, but in light of facing several prostitution charges—for the second time, the city of Baltimore's personnel policies have been called into question. As a result, Baltimore gave a second look into its procedures in dealing with employees who have committed crimes. What they found was that almost $13,000 in sick leave was paid out to a jailed employee.
During the raid of Simmons' apartment, police uncovered a make-shift nightclub complete with two floor-to-ceiling stripper poles, a stage, a large bar with a DJ booth, two bedrooms and a kitchen, plus six lockers labeled with women's nicknames. According to court records, the apartment also held a chalkboard used to write friendly reminders for the women like: do not mention sex for money on the phone, always search clients for police wires and tout the location of the third-story.
"I guess in a perfect world, public servants shouldn't have brushes with the law, but they do," said Simmons attorney, Warren Brown. "So the question becomes, 'Is it a zero tolerance policy?' If you're hauled before a court, you're not worthy of employment? I don't think that should be the case."
Brown also defended his client's actions, as simply being the norm. "It's not unlike a lot of situations around the city," he added. "After hours, once the bars close down at 2 [a.m.], these people still got a lot of energy, and they're looking for things to do, places to go, eat, smoke, drink and be merry." Brown went on to state that police have no actual evidence tying Simmons to accepting cash in exchange for prostitution.
Simmons faces 11 charges, eight of which are related to prostitution. Coit is facing a similar fate, plus two gun charges, since weapons were also found. The duo was first arrested in 2010 after they dropped a woman off at a Red Roof Inn and arranged a sexual transaction. After his arrest, Simmons told police that he was "down on his luck" after being suspended from his job so he opted to "recruit women from the internet and transport them to and from their meetings with [prospective] clients."
He apparently can't wait to be found not guilty, so that he can "get back to doing what he loves doing," as a firefighter.
On the plus side, Simmons is hardly the only person to run an illegal business out of an apartment. In nearby Philadelphia, a woman known as the "Black Madam" was arrested for botched butt injection surgeries, which she performed out of apartments.
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Photo: Baltimore Police