The hotel housekeeper at the center of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial had a tough time last week as the faltering case against the former International Monetary Fund chief seemed close to failure and speculation swirled about what the effect on her may be--from tax trouble to deportation--should the prosecution fall apart. But this week is starting out much stronger for her, following a vote of confidence from local community groups. More importantly, a piece of evidence in her lawsuit against the New York Post has come to light, and while it doesn't exactly destroy the Post's story altogether, it hints that the process by which she came to work at the Sofitel hotel was more upstanding than the Post made it seem. The information reportedly provided to the Post was the accuser's job application at the Sofitel, which The Atlantic Wire has obtained.
The Post had indicated that the New York Hotel Worker's Union, Local 6, was arranging for its members to work as prostitutes on the side of their housekeeping duties, and that DSK's accuser was similarly set up. In the story, organizer Josh Gold denied that: "These allegations are absurd," Gold told the Post. "She never registered at our hiring hall. We never sent her for a single interview. We absolutely did not place her at the hotel and we do not track tips."
The accuser's job application would seem to support this story: if she had been hired through a hiring hall, she probably wouldn't have made a direct application to the hotel.
First reported on Friday in the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, the news of the job application hit U.S. shores in the Washington Post today, when Erik Wemple pointed out that the New York Post had documentation "challenging the reliability of its only source in a story alleging that the accuser had worked as a prostitute." But while the application certainly does document the maid's journey to employment at the hotel, it doesn't prove one way or another how she behaved once she worked there, and it provides little insight into her character other than what a potential housekeeping employer might glean.
The three-page application definitely does provide some clues as to the woman's journey to the Sofitel. She uses, as a reference, a man named "Jimmi," a placement officer with the International Rescue Agency whose profile on the group's Web site details his own journey to the United States from Vietnam as a refugee. His name is Jimmy Lu. Her former workplace, an "African American restaurant" in the Bronx where she worked from 2005 to 2007, is her only prior employer listed. Her reason for leaving: a "family emergency." The report filled out by her interviewer assigns her some predesignated traits (in the form of checked boxes) including "sure of self" and "likeable." There's no mention of a union on the application, as Wemple points out. Union spokesman Josh Gold declined to comment today.
For the record, our Union had absolutely nothing to do with the hiring of this member, according to not only our records but also the records of the Sofitel itself. As an example, the member's application for employment, which was provided to us by the hotel, indicates that she was referred to the Sofitel not by us but by the International Rescue Committee, a highly-respected organization that assists refugees. We should add that this week the general manager of the Sofitel confirmed this information. There is absolutely no record of this member having ever been employed at any other union hotel prior to her being hired by the Sofitel. She never registered at the Union's employment office. In fact, we have incontrovertible evidence that the Sofitel room attendant became a member of our Union only after she became employed at the hotel.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney's office has announced that Strauss-Kahn's next court date has been postponed from July 18 to August 1. Spokeswoman Erin Duggan said in a statement, "The investigation into this case is continuing. No decisions have been made."