New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged in Florida with soliciting prostitution, after being captured on video engaging in sex acts with a worker at a massage parlor, police said on Friday, Reuters reported.
Kraft, 77, a billionaire businessman who built the Patriots into the National Football League’s most dominant franchise, was swept up in a police sting targeting sex-trafficking in day spas and massage parlors in several Florida counties. The operation has led to hundreds being charged, Reuters notes.
Kraft, who lives in Massachusetts but owns property in Palm Beach, Florida, is accused of visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two separate occasions to solicit sex. The two charges he faces are misdemeanors.
Authorities have video evidence depicting the acts in question after installing hidden cameras inside the spa, police officials said, adding that Kraft had been dropped off by a driver, Reuters adds.
A spokesman for Kraft and the Patriots, Aaron Salkin, said in a statement, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
Kraft could face discipline under the league’s personal conduct policy, which applies to team owners and prohibits “conduct detrimental to the integrity” of the NFL. In 2004, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 after he pleaded guilty to driving while on drugs.
In a statement, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
According to Forbes magazine, Kraft, who made his fortune buying out and building up his father-in-law’s product-packaging business, is worth $6.6 billion.
Since Kraft bought the Patriots 25 years ago for $172 million, the team has become the most successful franchise in the NFL, appearing in 10 Super Bowls and winning six titles, including Super Bowl LIII on February 3. The franchise is now worth an estimated $3.7 billion, according to Forbes.