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Not the slammer, not the hoosegow, but a five-star hotel room

January 27, 2007|Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writer

A businessman sentenced to home detention for conspiring to illegally videotape Michael Jackson is doing his time in an especially sweet home: the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey.

Jeffrey Borer, sentenced in October for conspiring to sell a videotape of Jackson in 2003 when the pop singer was facing child molestation charges, has been living at the hotel with his wife.

He is paying his debt to society with access to a harbor-side pool and restaurant, two tennis courts and a spa.

Lloyd Kirschbaum, Borer's attorney in an ongoing civil case, said Borer was being detained at the hotel for six months at his own expense because his Marina del Rey house was infested with mold, to which his wife is allergic. "It's all squared away with the probation department," Kirschbaum said.

Kirschbaum said Borer was unavailable for comment.

Borer, owner of the Santa Monica charter jet company XtraJet, and Arvell Jett Reeves, owner of a Chino aircraft maintenance firm, installed video cameras in one of Borer's Gulfstream jets. The cameras were used to videotape Jackson and his lawyer, Mark Geragos, on a flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in the midst of Jackson's molestation trial. Jackson was later acquitted.

The videotapes came to light when Fox News reported in 2003 that a private party had offered to sell them to the network.

Borer, 62, pleaded guilty in March to the federal charges.

Federal probation officials declined to comment on Borer's detention. But Daniel N. Shallman, the federal prosecutor in Borer's case, called the hotel stay outrageous.

"When someone is sentenced to electronic monitoring, normally the presumption is he's not going to be holed up in a four-star hotel," Shallman said.

Actually, the Marina del Rey Ritz is a AAA Five-Diamond hotel, one of only seven in the Los Angeles area with that distinction. Only 93 hotels out of 60,000 visited by Auto Club officials in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean earn five diamonds, said Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Five-diamond properties are required to include such amenities as a fax machine in the room, a scale, an illuminated makeup mirror, two robes, two pairs of slippers and a minimum of 10 clothes hangers, Montgomery said.

Should Borer need any personal items, the hotel's gift shop is stocked with such things as hand-embroidered silk shirts at $135 each.

Borer faces a civil suit from Geragos, who said the videotaping violated attorney-client privilege. A ruling on that case is pending from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Soussan Bruguera.

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