Boneheads: when smart people do (really) dumb things.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

It seems my father is right again. Ever since I can remember he has said, “People with Ph.D.s can do some of the dumbest things”… Then he’d reel off a list of his latest discoveries, always ending up with two or three of the waiters at a local restaurant who were, despite their advanced degrees, slinging hash. I always reminded him that those folks only had Master’s Degrees… but he’d snort “Same difference” and that was that.

When I saw this story on the wire services recently, I knew I’d have to tell you about it… and grab it before my father, a news fanatic, brought it to my attention with what comments I already knew so well.

Picture the scene…

It is 2005 and professor emeritus of political science F. Chris Garcia is moving towards the conclusion of a distinguished academic career at the University of New Mexico, including a stint as President of the university. You mull over your options…

You could write another book. You’ve already got 11 under your belt. They include “Hispanics and the U.S. Political System” and “Moving into the Mainstream”. You are a recognized expert on one of the most important subjects in American politics; how to organize Hispanics and reap major advantages.

You could get another top academic position. Your resume is stellar. You’ve done what was necessary steadily to move up the ladder: you’ve been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (1980-86); vice president of academic affairs (1987-1990); you know, few better, the arcane ins and outs of the Academy.

You could call in some of the favors you’ve laboriously acquired over the years; you think… a cushy job in Washington… well-paid lobbyist… maybe Ambassador to one of the South American countries you know so well… His Excellency the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia… maybe even Chile. Cool

There’s no rush; you’re 71 now (2011) but that, as you keep telling yourself, is the new 60… you’ve got lots of time… and lots of options. In due course, after a lot of deep and serious thought, you decide to do something you’ve always been interested in…something that will give you all you desire… something that’ll both make you a lot of money and fulfill your fastidious personal wants. The solution is obvious.

You decide to get involved in the new and exciting world of Internet prostitution a growth field if ever there was one.

Here’s how it happened:

“Burque Pops” (Garcia’s online handle) comes to know fellow academic, Fairleigh Dickinson University professor of physics Dr. David Flory. These guys hit it off right away, kindred spirits speaking the same language. They’re both about the same age (Flory’s 68), both respected in their academic fields, both restless as all get out. Time’s unceasing chariot is moving, moving, moving; if they were going to make a change, experience “real” life and have fun, they knew they needed to take fast action NOW!

And, of course, there was the thrill of Les Girls to consider, something you could never get on campus and retain your tenure. Wow! It was all good… all they had to do was come and get it.

The company that these hot-blooded academics decided to get involved with was called Southwest Companions. The idea was simple: people of influence, people of education, people of standing had human needs like hoi polloi; but they needed a level of sophistication and discretion that Joe Sixpack didn’t require. In short, they needed a gentlemen’s retreat, flattering lighting optional.

Southwest Companions was founded in 2005 by Cara Garrett. Her mug shot makes her look like what she was: a tough customer, decades younger than Garcia and Flory but with a lifetime of street smarts and survival skills these aging lotharios could only imagine. They were putty in her pudgy palms. Our hapless professors might have suspected as much, but they were not experts in the films of the Weimar Republic, most particularly the 1930s masterpiece by Josef von Sternberg, “Der Blaue Engel”. Here Marlene Dietricht takes her professor on a roller coaster ride from respectability to something way over his head. Cara Garrett knew these tricks, too…

Southwest Companions was sold by Garrett in 2007 to another suspect in the case, Mike Dorsey. He in turn sold the site in 2009 to Flory, who had homes in both Manhattan and Santa Fe.

Things prospered and the two most important aspects of the business waxed: there were more of Les Girls, lots more, and lots and lots more of the discretion-seeking daddio’s from all walks of life. In due course the ring had some 1,400 members, including 200 prostitutes.

The money was good, too… and tax-free. Members of the site paid anywhere from $200 for a sex act to $1,000 for a full hour of time. The prostitutes were paid in cash by the clients, not through the site.

Garcia and Flory took to the game with enthusiasm and the organizational skills they both had in abundance. They rose to the heady heights of being a “hunter”, the guys empowered to recruit new girls, for new girls were always in demand; fresh faces, firm bodies were what it was all about… and the academic gentlemen knew how to find and recruit them. They also advised on the creation of a handy list of police undercover agents to help members recognize them and avoid arrest. Like all good entrepreneurs, they found a need and filled it.

It was all up, up and away… but there was a weak link and its name was Cara Garrett. He life was a mess as quickly came out when she was arrested (December 2010) on drug, child abuse and prostitution charges; she was arrested again in June, 2010, this time for threatening another informant in the case. .The canaries were singing… and a lot of gentlemen — including academics Flory and Garcia — got nervous, real nervous. Cara knew all… and Cara was going to tell as much of it as necessary to save her skin. It’s a very old story indeed…

Flory, Garcia and three other “hunters” were arrested, the details ending up in papers coast to coast (June 24, 2011). The good burghers of the nation saw it, read it, read it again, then munching toast, said “Look at this, Martha. Did you ever hear of such a thing?” There was more than a little satisfaction and smug superiority in these remarks. People with advanced degrees want and get a level of respect and deference which can irritate those without. Comeuppance is sweet.

And comeuppance, lots of it, there would be. Because as Flory and Garcia now know, once a thing is on the Internet it is forever on the Internet. At the time of his arrest F. Chris Garcia, now a long way from the regalities of the Academy, was found trying to purge files and tamper with the evidence. He hadn’t a clue…

… my father could have told him: “Most Ph.D.s can’t do squat. Look at these clowns from New Jersey and New Mexico. One was even president of a university”….

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is  at , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.


I have been marketing online for 30 years helping people do it right with education, and list building tools and procedures.