Not so long ago I wrote here about how male politicians involved in sex scandals tended to fare better than the women they were involved with, citing, among others, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. I mentioned that Vitter — who was a Families Value Man and by some accounts a pamper-wearer — was reported in 2007 to have been a client of brothels in New Orleans and D.C.
His name first surfaced when his phone number was found in a list of records of a company run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the “D.C. Madam.” In 2008, when she was facing years in prison for running a prostitution ring, Palfrey was found hanged and her death was ruled a suicide. Vitter apologized to his constituents, who reelected him to the senate two years later.
Here’s a story on a second woman linked to Vitter who ended up an alleged suicide, and this case — which has been bizarrely underreported — is potentially far more disturbing.
Here’s what happened — and I should mention here that this tale has been vigorously pursued by Jason Berry, a Louisiana blogger, and that Washington Babylon Research Director Melissa Eckert Garriga assisted with this post.
Vitter reportedly had a sexual liaison with two escorts in one night, at a New Orleans party in 1996. Jeanette Maier, the so-called Canal Street Madam, told Berry that she sent the women to the party for then-Congressman Vitter and both returned saying he had paid them for sex.
One of the women was named Michelle Mosgrove. On August 7, 1997, the 28-year-old Mosgrove was found dead of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Her body was found on the Aera, a boat docked in Biloxi Mississippi that was owned by William Andre Droulia, or “Big D…Big Daddy” to his friends.
In 1995, Droulia, who frequented the company of escorts had been charged with possession of crack cocaine and was on probation at the time of Mosgrove’s death. Wendy Ellis knew both Droulia and Michelle Mosgrove. Wendy Ellis, a former prostitute who knew Mosgrove, told Berry that Droulia was her “sugar daddy” and that the two of them spent a lot of time together in the days leading up to her death.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to, from Wendy Ellis to numerous unnamed sources who knew Mosgrove, have stated they do not believe Michelle committed suicide that night on the Aera,” Berry has written. “They all believe something more nefarious took place and the crime scene was made to look like a suicide. When I asked what the motive for the murder would have been, three of the sources stated the same thing, ‘She was running her mouth’.”
Another curiosity here is that Droulia was an heir to the Helis Oil and Gas empire, which over the years contributed significantly to Vitter’s campaigns. Droulia died in 2014 but his firm continues to give money to Vitter, who has been a major ally of Helis Oil and Gas’s bid to further oil drilling and fracking in St. Tammany Parrish.
Berry, who is writing a fuller story about the case for Washington Babylon, isn’t suggesting that Vitter was involved in the “suicide” of Michelle Mosgrove, but he’s found evidence that Vitter had a relationship with William Droulia dating bak to the 1990s and that he may have been on the Aera, himself. (Vitter has rejected Berry’s requests to comment on the story.)
Whatever the truth, a few obvious questions spring to mind:
Was the suicide of Michelle Mosgrove investigated properly? Why was a man who was on probation for possession of crack cocaine not thoroughly investigated as a suspect when a dead prostitute was found on his boat? What sort of relationship did Families Value Man Vitter have with the troubled Droulia? And was there any political interference into the police investigation of Mosgrove?
Look for more on this story here soon.