10 Years Ago This Month: ‘The List’ and the Kennbunk, Maine, Zumba Instructor
One of the most infamous news stories in Maine history turns 10 this month.
"Who's on The List this week?" That was the question back in the fall of 2012. The List was a list of names that came out every other week after Zumba instructor Alexis Wright was arrested and charged with prostitution. It seems men were going to the Zumba studio for more than some Latin dance moves. According to the New York Daily News, Wright, who graduated from Mt Ararat and went to USM in L/A, videotaped many of the encounters (which of course, leaked online), and kept records of her clients and the $150,000 she made in a year-and-a-half with the extracurricular activities.
After the arrest of her and her business partner, Mark Strong, THE LIST, as everyone called it, started coming out. Every two weeks on Friday, the Kennebunk police log would be released, and with it, the names of "johns" who had allegedly frequented the Zumba studio.
Because the names were leaked out over many weeks, anticipation ran wild as the public readied for another installment. The List, according to the Bangor Daily News, included a former mayor, former coach, and former pastor. It was all we talked about for weeks. And unfortunately, rumors ran amok.
In fact, the BDN reported that legendary Joe Cupo from Newscenter was forced to clear the air and tell viewers that he was not on "The LIST." Yup, this story was sad, and totally out of control. It was just the kind of salacious stuff that the national news media craves to cover.
Kennebunk became inundated with satellite trucks from CNN and other news networks from around the world. The town was flooded with cameras and reporters who wanted a piece of the story. Vanity Fair did a long piece called "Town of Whispers." Boston Magazine reminds us that "I'm Not On The List, Are You?" t-shirts were sold in Kennebunk. This was not our finest hour.
According to that Vanity Fair article, rumblings of what was going on in Kennebunk surfaced in 2011 when Kennebunk police were getting reports of suspicious activity at all hours of the day and night at the strip mall that housed the Zumba studio. Pretty soon, everyone around town knew of Alexis Wrights' dirty little secret. Wright was charged with over 100 counts of prostitution. She pled guilty to 20 counts and served six months in jail. The johns who were charged paid a fine of about $300.
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