The woman that former Governor Eliot Spitzer visited at the Plaza Hotel and then, apparently later at a hospital, is apparently a 26-year-old Russian woman who has written about her life as a high-end escort.
Inside Edition reports that Svetlana Travis wrote about sex work under a pen name on Medium. In the post, "Svetlana Z" explains why she doesn't want to "spoil" boyfriends: "If someone’s not paying you, you don’t have to do blow jobs, you don’t have to smile all the time, you can be yourself. But after a while you feel like something is missing. The something is money. You’re sitting in the same apartment, you’re the same you, but something is missing. Your wallet is empty. Sex is sex, but money is money."
Police sources tell the tabloids that Travis and Spitzer were in a suite at the Plaza Hotel on Saturday night when an argument ensued, apparently about Travis's decision to return to Russia. From the Daily News:
Police sources said that after Spitzer, 56, allegedly choked and pushed Travis — someone he’s known for two years — at the hotel, she cut herself with a broken glass. “She then cut herself with the glass,” one source said. “It wasn’t really on the wrist, like she was trying to kill herself. It was more on the arm. She said she was having a nervous breakdown.”
Travis went to Roosevelt Hospital, where she named the “Luv Gov” as her attacker, the sources said. After the hospital visit, while she was being driven by police, “at one point she gets out of the car and says she doesn’t want to press charges,” a source said.
In the hours after the alleged scrap, Spitzer was caught on hotel video wearing a wool cap pulled down low over his eyes, sources said. While Travis was in the hospital, a man identifying himself as “George” called twice to ask about seeing her.
Spitzer's lawyer Adam S. Kaufmann told the NY Times, "There was no assault," and offered an alternate story, saying that Travis reached out to Spitzer last week: "'This is someone that he had a relationship with in the past,' Mr. Kaufmann said, though he declined to say how long Mr. Spitzer had known her or how the two had met."
Mr. Kaufmann said she told Mr. Spitzer, “I’m in New York and I’m going back to Russia on Sunday — I’d like to see you on Saturday.”
She asked him to book a hotel room and Mr. Spitzer did so, Mr. Kaufmann said. On Saturday afternoon, the former governor visited her at the Plaza and they talked for less than an hour — amiably, Mr. Kaufmann said — about her plans on her return to Russia.
Mr. Spitzer left the hotel but heard from her again a couple of hours later, he said. This time, she sounded distraught and asked to see him again.
According to the lawyer, Mr. Spitzer went back to the hotel around 7 and found her in “a highly agitated state.” Mr. Kaufmann said she threatened suicide, made a superficial cut in her wrist and called 911, but then tried to cancel the call.
She left the hospital on Sunday and flew to Russia as scheduled, Mr. Kaufmann said. And on Monday, she sent the email. “I just read the news, I’m so sorry,” she said, offering to send a statement to the police “that my report was all fake.” She said she would tell the police that she attempted suicide “as I had before.”
“You tried to save me,” she wrote to Mr. Spitzer, according to the copy of the email provided by Mr. Kaufmann.
She suggested that she made up the assault story because she was scared she would be hospitalized for a long period. She offered to send “documents from all mental homes where I have been — Russia, Catskill New York, California.”
“If I didn’t say Eliot started (it) all, I think I would be hospitalized in some mental home for a few months. I made up the story in order to not be hospitalized,” the person claiming to be Travis wrote.The Post's sources say
that Travis referred to herself as Spitzer's girlfriend—one added, "They met before this, and she was a prostitute at the time"—and that they've known each other for "at least" two years.
Spitzer was dating Lis Smith, his former communications director for his failed NYC Comptroller campaign, from late 2013 until December 2015. Smith was on track for a top position on Mayor de Blasio's press team but the furor (and slut-shaming) over her choice of boyfriends led her to resign. Most recently, she worked on Martin O'Malley's presidential campaign; you can see her giggling while Triumph the Insult Comic Dog poops on O'Malley.
In her essay on Medium, Travis goes into detail about her entrepreneurship—she spent thousands to ensure she had the best photographs and ad placement—and the kinds of clients she dealt with:
The big part of my job started at the door. You don’t pay attention to the envelope he has. You pretend it doesn’t even exist. You’re smiling because he’s a handsome man, and there’s chemistry. If he’s shy, you offer him a glass of wine. If he’s super shy, you ask, can you massage him, there’s nothing wrong with a massage, right?
Sometimes I would say, “Oh, you’re so handsome,” because people like to be flattered, even if it’s not true. People like to believe the better things, because believing better things is easier. And guys who are paying $1,000 an hour really believe the better things! If he can afford $1,000 an hour, he already thinks he’s cool. When a guy’s got money, he thinks he’s cool, cooler than regular people.
Spitzer himself said, "The woman who initially made the allegation was not my girlfriend. Lis Smith was my girlfriend, and I had and have deep affection for Lis. She is the love of my life."
Police are still investigating the incident, but haven't interviewed Spitzer yet.