Best Sex Scandal of 2007



By Marc Perrusquia, Memphis Commercial Appeal 

Memphis police are investigating allegations by a former topless club cocktail waitress that she was recruited as bait in a plot to blackmail Mayor Willie Herenton by luring him into a sexual rendezvous. 


The waitress, who has told her story to Herenton and Police Director Larry Godwin and who says she will file legal papers today, says the plot was never consummated.

Yet, Gwendolyn D. Smith has touched off an official inquiry with her account, contending that she’s been paid as much as $18,000 — money she says came from rich businessmen trying to smear Herenton, the city’s first black elected mayor, to keep him from seeking a fifth term in October.

“I think the city of Memphis should know what so-called powerful businessmen are doing to their leaders,” Smith told The Commercial Appeal on Wednesday.

“I think it should upset not only the African-American community, but the whole city.”

Herenton confirmed that Memphis police took a tape-recorded statement from Smith after she approached him earlier this spring with her account. Herenton said he was initially suspicious but became convinced after she repeated it to Godwin and another officer.

“I’m utterly appalled, disappointed and I’m just simply shocked that individuals in this community would go to an unreasonable extent to try to embarrass me by orchestrating such a diabolical plot,” Herenton said.

Smith, 29, contends the plot’s mastermind was Richard Fields, a prominent Memphis attorney who represented her in a criminal forgery case and who also once served as Herenton’s personal lawyer.

“I’m amazed that Richard, who was my former attorney, an individual who purported to be a friend, really just went off the deep end,” Herenton said.

Reached Wednesday evening, Fields said legal ethics forbid him from commenting on Smith’s contentions.

“This is totally untrue. I wish I could go further,” Fields said. “If she waives the attorney-client privilege, I’ll be happy to respond to all allegations. Ms. Smith has some serious problems personally as well as legally.”

Smith, a cousin of one of Fields’ ex-wives, said the lawyer recruited her into a plot to smear Herenton after he represented her in a criminal case in Nashville.

Smith pleaded guilty in 2004 to five felony forgery counts after she defrauded merchants with stolen American Express gift checks and counterfeit identification. Faced with a drug charge that violated her probation, Smith hired Fields in 2005 and he worked out a deal to keep her from jail by extending her probation.

Smith said she was smoking marijuana at the time, but has since amended her ways. “I’ve learned my lesson,” she said.

Smith said Fields later learned that she had worked in 2000 as a waitress at Platinum Plus, a notorious East Memphis topless club closed by state and federal authorities in December.

She said Fields initially asked her to help in an FBI investigation but that his interests later turned to her having a secretly videotaped sexual encounter with the mayor.

“He told me to try to sleep with him and (Herenton’s longtime friend and former mayoral aide) Reginald French,” Smith said.

The plan, she said, was to approach Herenton at The Peabody’s lobby, where he and French were known to socialize. Smith said Fields paid her $2,000 a month between January and March — money she was told came from a prominent Memphis businessman — and that Fields also gave her the use of an account at a boutique where she bought expensive handbags and accessories.

Smith said Fields promised her a free apartment and other perks paid for by businessmen who were behind his plans.

One offer, she said, came from car dealer Russell Gwatney, who offered to give her a new Chevy Tahoe. Smith’s account caused Herenton to summon Gwatney, an old political supporter, to his City Hall office.

“I got a call from Willie Herenton wanting me to come down to his office. He said, ‘Russell you’re going to be named in a lawsuit,’ ” Gwatney told a reporter Wednesday. Gwatney said he told the mayor he knew of no plot but confirmed that Fields and Smith had come to him about two months ago inquiring about a car.

“She came in our dealership one time, and Rich Fields came in there and told me that he needed to buy a car for the girl,” Gwatney said. “And he told me that people were going to pay for the car, but they wanted to me to basically front all the money on the car.”

Gwatney said he refused.

He told the newspaper Fields was interested in getting Smith a small SUV and assured the car dealer he would be paid back.

“They wanted me to front the money to pay for the car so they could pay me back over time. I got real uninterested real quick.”

“I don’t know who the business people were, don’t even know.”

If I were to start giving out awards for the best sex scandal, this would be it. 

11 thoughts on “Best Sex Scandal of 2007

  1. This is crazy! I believe the girl. But guess what… Because of her criminal background, her true accounts of what went down will be viewed as uncredible and an out right lie. But Fields, the attorney, knew that when he carefully selected her. I believe he knew if he got a woman, who has a questionable past, if she decided to ever spill the beans/get caught and name him in the story, no one would believe her. Well, she might be believed, but her testamony would not stand up in court.

    That’s why Obama better keep his nose clean. The enemy ain’t playing. He better know that someone will plant a bomb right in the middle of his camp, just so they can try to bring him down. No matter how fine and sexy the woman is, he better steer clear of all offerings of the yum.


    I’m with Angie – I totally believe her.

    Just what Black folks need – another conspiracy theory 🙂

    But, I think it’s true. It totally fits to me.

    Good for the mayor for not falling for it…his wife will be happy. 😉

  3. How does this “fit?” How many more sex scandals is WH going to have? Who benefits from this scandal? why not try and frame him getting a check for $82,500 from . . . someone? If Fields is actually doing this, then he’s dumber than anyone knew. I think, if this is actually true, WH is the dumb one for trying this preemptive strike, which is only drawing attention to it.

  4. blacktygrrrr

    I hate to admit it, but as important as the Gaza Strip is, I always enjoy a good sex scandal. In fact, rumor has it “The Gaza Strip,” is a sex video, but that is unconfirmed.

    Than you Tennessee, summer is heating up!

    I would consider it a privilege if you would add my blog “The Tygrrrr Express” if you feel the quality is high.

    Happy June.


  5. This is reallyOT and long, but I thought I would go ahead and post it for you and anyone that cares to use this resource to try to get questions in. God bless…

    Tavis Smiley To Moderate Live Broadcast On PBS; American Blog To Host
    Citizen Commentary And Dialogue Via 50-State Blog Network

    SAUSALITO, CA (JUNE 18, 2007) — American Blog Inc. and Tavis Smiley
    announced today a strategic alliance that will give ordinary Americans a
    chance to voice their opinions via the Internet during the first of two
    presidential forums broadcast live on PBS.

    Tavis Smiley, host of “Tavis Smiley” on PBS, will moderate the “All
    American Presidential Forums on PBS” 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. EST June 28 at
    Howard University in Washington, D.C. This first forum will feature all
    eight Democratic presidential candidates: Joseph Biden, Hilary Clinton,
    Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama
    and Bill Richardson. The Republican presidential candidate’s forum will
    take place Sept. 27 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

    Smiley, journalists Michel Martin of National Public Radio, nationally
    syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. and USA Today and Gannett News
    Service columnist DeWayne Wickham will pose questions to the candidates.

    American Blog will capture the forum questions and send them out via the
    Internet across American Blog’s fast-growing 50-state blog network.
    Citizens in the Blogosphere can log into the state where they live and
    enter the forum by discussing and commenting on any of the candidates’
    responses within and across the USA.

    The “All-American Presidential Forums on PBS” marks the first time that a
    panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color will be represented in
    primetime. The candidates will be asked about issues ranging from
    healthcare and housing to Katrina relief, the economy and the environment,
    among others outlined in the #1 New York Times bestseller, Covenant With
    Black America.

    “For this historic event we are pleased to open the discussion to all
    Americans, who through American Blog’s 50-state online network, will be
    able to engage in the conversation, express their views, and comment on
    the views of neighbors from the entire spectrum of our society,” Smiley

    Smiley continued, “From the title to the format, the “All-American
    Presidential Forums on PBS” was created to provide fresh perspectives and
    an unprecedented level of inclusion for all Americans in general, and
    people of color in particular, in these critical discussions about our
    country’s future. As the candidates express their positions and discuss
    the issues, the American public can join American Blog’s community of
    bloggers and engage in the discussion as it unfolds.”

    The Republican presidential candidates’ forum will be held on September
    27, 2007, on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
    American Blog will support this forum in the same manner.

    “We believe these forums will be rich ground for the American public to
    join in and discuss the critical issues of the day,” said John Boone,
    founder and CEO of American Blog, Inc. “We are proud to have a part in
    connecting Americans with one another, and giving them a voice in this
    crucial election process.”

    Immediate public feedback on the performance of the candidates will be
    conducted by noted pollster Frank Luntz, who will appear on “Tavis Smiley”
    Friday, June 29, 2007, on PBS the following evening to discuss his

    The “All-American Presidential Forums” will be simultaneously webcast on .
    Video of both events will be archived for download and
    viewing on the website. American Blog will provide a link to the webcast
    archives so bloggers can view the content while expressing their views on
    their personal blog rolls.

    About American Blog
    American Blog, Inc., founded 2005, is designed to promote collaboration
    and conversations between citizens, educators, politicians, students, and
    the community. American Blog’s state-by-state blog network presents a
    unique opportunity to use technology to bring the community together in an
    authentic learning event. American Blog, Inc. engages the motivational
    force of technology for citizens to participate in discussions and the
    authentic publication of their work. In addition to the technology, the
    interaction adds a vital creative element that goes well beyond the
    limitations of the typical journal experience.

    The 50 associated American Blog sites provide a free blogging venue for
    anyone wanting to write about the attractions, peculiarities, political
    activities or any aspect of the goings-on of their state or region. Each
    state Blog carries relevant topic categories including Arts &
    Entertainment, Politics, Business & Finance, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle,
    Sports, Technology, and Travel.

    To further encourage new Bloggers, the site is designed to be simple to
    use. Upon visiting ,
    new Bloggers can post their
    first Web log in minutes.

  6. SB: The information I posted in my last comment came in an e-mail to me. I tried to find a link that would take you to a site that had the information, so that I didn’t have to post the whole e-mail. But I didn’t find a link to that press release. If you think it is too long, feel free to remove it. If you find a link, that’s even better.

    Have a good one…

    BTW: Did you get an offer from one of those employers you interviewed with? Just wondering…

  7. The mayor is not married and this scandal opened up Pandora’s Box concerning politics in Memphis. The mayor is up for re-election for a record 5th term. His politics and his character are questionable. He lost the support of many blacks in Memphis because he only catered to the rich power brokers and his inner circle of friends.

    Many communities suffered badly during his tenure and crime is out of control in Memphis. If you think the CA story is interesting you must see the 45 minute press conference the mayor did on the same day this story broke. Check out any of the news station in Memphis website, (WREG, WMCTV, FOX 13, or Channel 24 and 30) they all have the video of his press conference.

    Memphis politics during election an election year never seems to amaze the people, but I have to admit this summer is definitely one political soap opera not to be missed.

  8. skepticalinmphs

    I don’t believe it. A blackmail plot has to involve something that illegal or that the blackmailed would not want revealed. Mr Herenton is a single man and I don’t think there is anything in his job description that says he can’t have sex. A single man having sex with a single woman (who describes herself as a college student and airline stewardess) is not illegal and certainly nothing that would embarass the mayor enough to “shame” him out of office. The only thing thats a “shame” is that Memphis is in the limelight again with grandstanding and negative publicity…

  9. Ramelallswids is a free porn site – We provide the world with free: porn videos,porn movies,xxx free movies,free porn,free sex.
    Best porn hub and tube on the web

Comments are closed.