Seth Hurwitz, a highly regarded figure in the Washington, D.C. concert scene, was arrested Wednesday on solicitation of prostitution after a massage therapist who felt harassed by Hurwitz helped police set up a bust.
Hurwitz, owner of the 9:30 Club and Anthem venues and chairman of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, was released on $5,000 bond after being taken into custody in Montgomery County, Maryland. He faces potential penalties of a year in jail and a $500 fine.
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According to police reports, the solicitation began Aug. 15 when Hurwitz got a massage and suggested to the therapist that she could make more money doing sexual acts. She alleged that she declined cut the session short after the request but continued to get texts and calls from Hurwitz with further offers. Local police were reading texts and listening in to calls via speakerphone after she contacted law enforcement. A meeting was set up for Wednesday, and when Hurwitz showed up with $1,000 in hundred dollar bills, an amount he’d allegedly offered as a payout for sexual services, he was arrested.
The arrest report added that the suspect did a search of himself on Google for her benefit during the initial encounter. Later, when police became involved and were listening in on calls, detectives say he “became offended” when she asked whether payment would precede or follow services, allegedly saying the wealthy musicians he deals with don’t get paid until “the gig is over.”
According to a detective, Hurwitz was shown some of the texts and admitted sending them after being confronted by police.
Hurwitz started the music booking company I.M.P. in 1980 and has built it into a major force in Washington over the last 40 years.
He wrote a note to employees: “Folks… Obviously the recent events have caused a great deal of embarrassment to everybody. We are working to resolve this… I only ask that you don’t pass judgment until that day. But, until then, this is not a matter that concerns our business and please soldier on as usual, doing the great jobs that have made us who we are…and I say WE because who we are is not just about me. I am, however…VERY sorry for any embarrassment & stress this is causing any of you.”
In a press statement, his attorney, Pau F. Kemp, wrote, “In response to the numerous inquiries about the misdemeanor charge placed yesterday, it is far too early to comment on the allegation. The facts will come out in due course. In the meantime, we ask that you give consideration to Seth and his family. Seth is presumed innocent under our laws. We look forward to a prompt resolution of this case.”