A former TV weatherman who testified 12 days ago in a Miami federal courtroom that Latvian “Bar Girls” swindled him out of $43,000 on Miami Beach was back in the spotlight Tuesday over suggestive photos and tweets sent from his Twitter account.
John Bolaris, who was suspended from his job as a weather anchor for Fox affiliate WTXF in Philadelphia last year amid his allegations that as a tourist in South Florida in 2010 he was drugged and robbed, apparently was asleep Sunday when his fiancée Erica Smitheman drunkenly took over his Twitter account and promised to send out nude photos of herself, the New York Daily News is reporting.
The former Playboy model started her Twitter binge by writing: “Hello this is Ericalove John, he loves you all, I guess it’s ok if I send you all a naked photo or twodon’t tell my love.”
She continued to write suggestive tweets referring to her modeling past and hinting that she’d taken over Bolaris’ account while he slept, the newspaper reported.
“This is Erica, I did pose in Playboyso what,” she wrote. “I will post my naked picturesJohn has no clue... I am tweeting, he’s sleeping.”
Bolaris, who now appears on the Howard Stern radio show, has nearly 13,000 followers.
Smitheman did not post nude photos, only one suggestive one, but her offer caused a stir in the Twitterverse.
To read the New York Daily News story click here.
Bolaris last made headlines earlier this month in Miami when he testified about his misadventures in the hands of a Latvian crime ring, which used two beautiful women to lure him from a club and back to his hotel and in the process ran up his credit card, he said.
Here’s the story that ran in MiamiHerald.com on Nov. 16, the day after Bolaris testified in court:
More than two years after his “nightmare on South Beach,” former TV weatherman John Bolaris remains a little foggy about his close encounter with a couple of Latvian “Bar Girls” who swindled him for $43,000 in bogus booze charges billed to his AMEX card.
On Friday, Bolaris testified in Miami federal court that he didn’t have sex with them, though the thought crossed his mind after meeting the duo at the Delano Hotel in late March 2010. Bolaris, 55, was asked whether the B-girls suggested they go to his room at the Fontainebleau Hotel for a “threesome.”
“No, sir,” Bolaris told defense attorney Roderick Vereen. “In my right state of mind, I would not do that.” Vereen shot back: “What about in your intoxicated state of mind?”
Bolaris, who was fired last year from his job as a weatherman for FOX TV in Philadelphia, regaled a Miami jury with his tale of woe in the federal trial of four men who ran a ring of Russian-style clubs that fleeced Miami Beach tourists by deploying B-girls to seduce them.
The puppet master behind the alleged scam: admitted Russian mafioso Alec Simchuk, 46, a naturalized U.S. citizen who pleaded guilty to fraud and testified last month in the trial of his partners and associates.
In 2010, Miami Beach police and the FBI launched an undercover investigation into the B-girl network after Bolaris and other customers complained to their credit card companies about the outlandish bar tabs. A total of 18 defendants were charged in the fraud conspiracy.
Twelve defendants, mostly women, have since pleaded guilty and served short prison sentences.
On Friday, a bespectacled Bolaris, known as a man-about-town in Philadelphia who recently announced his engagement on the Howard Stern show, took the stand as the government’s most prominent victim of the B-girls.
Bolaris said he traveled to Miami Beach on March 26, 2010, with plans to meet up with a buddy who was also in the TV news business. But the friend was called to cover the NCAA Final Four, so Bolaris found himself alone on Miami Beach.
The following night, Bolaris said he went to dinner at the Delano Hotel, eating sushi and drinking a few glasses of his favorite wine, pinot grigio. He then sat down in the hotel’s Rose Bar for a few more glasses of wine. Nearby, a pair of B-girls were acting like tourists as they took pictures of each other. They struck up a conversation with him.
Bolaris described them as “very cutesy, like the girls next door ... the kind of girls you’d like to marry.” He paid for a round of wine, and later invited them to the Delano’s poolside bar, where he slipped a $50 bill to the bouncer to let them in. He bought another round of wine.
One of the B-girls started rubbing his shoulders from behind, while the other approached from the front to offer him a shot of liquor.
“Come on, do the shot,” she teased. Bolaris said, “No, no.”
But eventually he gave in and downed one.
During his testimony, federal prosecutor Richard Gregorie asked Bolaris if at that point he had the impression they were “hookers.” He emphatically said, “No.”
Gregorie further asked if he went to the Delano looking to have sex. He said he went there for sushi, “not for sex.”
Bolaris said he wanted to return to his room at the Fontainebleau, but the girls persuaded him to go to a purported art auction benefitting Haiti. They ended up at the Caviar Bar, a small, private club on Washington Avenue owned by Simchuk and his partner, Stanislav Pavlenko.
Over several hours that night, the bar billed a half-dozen bottles of fancy champagne such as Dom Perignon, Cristal and Perrier-Jouet, running up charges of about $27,000 on Bolaris’ AMEX card. Among other items billed to Bolaris: A modernistic painting of a woman that had been hanging in the Caviar Bar. The price: $2,480.
Bolaris, whose new fiancée was sitting in the back of the courtroom, said he didn’t remember ordering the champagne or signing the credit card slips, suggesting the B-girls drugged him and forged his signature. “I don’t like champagne,” he testified.
Bolaris said he only has “flashes” of memory about that night, noting he remembered one of the B-girls putting the painting in the trunk of a taxicab that took him to the Fontainebleau.
Back in his room, he woke up in a groggy state and discovered that his Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses were missing, along with more than $500 in cash from his wallet. He also noticed the painting.
One of the B-girls, Marina Turcina, called him later that Sunday to say she and her friend wanted to return his sunglasses. She also said she hoped he liked the painting, and left her cell phone number to call her.
Bolaris said he met the girls again at the Delano and got his sunglasses from them. When he suggested they go back to the Fontainebleau to fetch the painting, they tricked him into returning to the Caviar Bar for a second night, he testified. They racked up an additional $16,000 on his AMEX card.
“The next thing I know, I was being slapped by one of the girls to wake up and she was asking me if I was okay,” testified Bolaris, who successfully sued American Express over the bar charges. “I had no clue I’m embarrassed about falling for it.”