Kennebunk, Maine, is home to beautiful ocean beaches, quaint old sea captain mansions, and a small Zumba studio … that allegedly doubles as a prostitution service.
29-year-old fitness instructor and single mother Alexis Wright was arrested and is being charged with over 100 counts of prostitution, connected to a business she allegedly ran out of her Zumba studio, Pura Vida, and neighboring office space. The small town is not only in shock, but now waits with baited breath for the release of the business’ client list, which is rumored to have several high profile names. The scandal became even more – well, scandalous – when it was revealed that Wright videotaped the alleged encounters with her johns. Prosecutors have not revealed a motive for the taping, but Fox News reports that officials have “gathered more than 100 hours of video and nearly 14,000 screen shots from seized computers.”
Will Bradford, a local business owner, comments “There’s still some of that puritanical New England left around,” adding, “There are places in the world that would laugh at this.” Even in small towns, however, things aren’t always as they seem. Wright opened the Zumba center in 2010, and later that same year, an anonymous blogger accused Wright of “not being the sweet, friendly Zumba instructor she portrayed herself to be,” adding that “she’s living a double life and is a porn star. She may be a prostitute for all I know.”
Police investigations began after locals reported cars coming and going to and from the studio and office at all house of the day and night, and men going in for “a half-hour or hour at a time,” according to the released police affidavit. The landlord reported in the affidavit that another tenant sometimes heard “moaning and groaning” coming from Wright’s office.
The landlord did some investigating of his own, and discovered a massage table and a video camera set up on a tripod. He later told police investigators that he “found an online porn video of Wright that was recorded in the office, which he recognized by the walls, the floor and the window.”
The town, whose residents number around 10,000, is not a place for anonymity. Dan Breton, the owner of a convenience store and deli, commented that many people would rather not see a published list of the names of those involved, because it will “hurt families, children and careers.” He adds, “I think most of my customers were shocked this was going on. But any time something like that happens, people get curious. It’s almost like the newspapers are teasing us that there are prominent names on the list. But maybe it’ll be nothing.”
Wright’s business allegedly brought in around $150,000, just a bit more than the $6,000 she was claiming through her fitness business. The low income she claimed allowed her to take more than $10,000 in food stamps and other state public aid.
Residents say that, although an operation like this wouldn’t be surprising in a big city, it is a shock for Kennebunk, “a tourist town with traditional white-steeple churches, tree-lined streets and quaint bed-and-breakfasts.”
Getting his hair cut at a local barber shop, resident Greg Patterson comments, “The fact that it’s happening in Kennebunk shows we’re not above it all.”
Officials have not revealed whether or not Wright’s young son has been removed from the home. Wright resides in the nearby town of Wells, and is not being detained for the duration of the trial.