For years, Lisa Ann Taylor's neighbors suspected something was going on behind the doors of her white-columned, million-dollar mansion in one of suburban Atlanta's most exclusive neighborhoods.
Scantily clad women were seen posing for photos in the driveway. Cars and trucks came and went at all hours. And there were loud parties.
Despite repeated calls to police about the suspicious goings-on, there was no evidence of a crime. That is, until six weeks ago, when authorities were tipped off to a Web site showing Taylor — a former Penthouse Pet of the Month — sprawled topless on an ottoman and brazenly advertising services ranging from $300 one-hour photo shoots to "dream dates" that included a one-hour "show."
Police raided the red-brick mansion Wednesday and found what they described as a high-class brothel and the headquarters of a call-girl ring whose customers received favors limited only by their imaginations and their ability to pay.
Among the services offered was sex with the centerfold and other women for an entire weekend for $10,000, District Attorney Danny Porter said.
"Whatever was asked for had a price," Porter said.
Taylor, 42, and her alleged business partner and fellow call girl, 30-year-old Nicole A. Probert, were arrested on charges of prostitution, racketeering and conspiracy to possess cocaine. They were released from jail Thursday on $27,000 bail each.
The brothel's customers included doctors, lawyers and businessmen, and they, too, could face charges, the district attorney said, in a warning that could make men jittery across Atlanta and beyond. Taylor and her friends are accused of using their Web site to offer their services during visits to Boston, New York, Chicago and suburban Milwaukee.
Probert's attorney David Fuller denied she was involved in prostitution. He said she is a successful real estate developer and a single mother who recently came into an inheritance and did not need money.
"This is just not her. This is a nightmare for her. She can't believe this is happening," Fuller said.
It was not immediately known if Taylor had an attorney.
The mansion is near the ninth hole at Sugarloaf Country Club, home of the PGA's BellSouth Classic each May. It is in a gated neighborhood, about 20 miles from Atlanta, whose current or former residents include rapper Bow Wow, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran and Washington Redskins tight end Brian Kozlowski.
Porter could not say for sure how long the illegal activity was going on, but neighbors have been complaining for at least three years.
Among other things, neighbors thought it was odd that all the basement windows were blacked out. Also, they saw lots of modest-looking cars and trucks that appeared out of place in the well-to-do neighborhood. In addition, scantily clad women were seen in the windows of Probert's house in nearby Lawrenceville.
Taylor — a 1985 Penthouse centerfold who used the name Melissa Wolf professionally — also held lavish Halloween parties, which were advertised in fliers passed out through the neighborhood and included fireworks, costumed characters, professional decorations and a haunted house for children. But some parents declared the house off-limits for trick-or-treating.
"The neighbors told us they wouldn't let their kids go to the house because they were afraid of who might answer the door," the district attorney said.
The prosecutor's office said it was tipped off to the Web site by The Gwinnett Daily Post, after an editor got an anonymous call from someone who pointed out Web sites where Taylor's alleged customers could rate her services.
Carol Northcutt, 49, who lives a block away, said many neighbors knew Taylor was in the adult entertainment industry. Northcutt said she once saw a photo shoot in Taylor's driveway with scantily clad women posing in a convertible.
"I knew she was in adult films and that there were cars in and out," she said. But prostitution? "Did I think for a minute it was that? No."