- City News
- Crime Summary
- Local Deals Magazine
By Brian Hews
The first in a series of articles published by Hews Media Group-Community News last week revealed a high salaried Democratic staffer paid to contact women on the Ashley Madison adultery website and did most of the illicit work while on state time.
The data was part of the Ashley Madison data dump that occurred in 2015.
Ashley Madison is a website that touts themselves as “the most recognized and reputable extramarital affair company in the world. ”
The website made headlines in July 2015 when a group calling itself “The Impact Team” stole data and threatened to release users’ names and personally identifying information if Ashley Madison was not immediately shut down.
Ashley Madison refused to shut down, so the hackers released the information of all 37 million users online.
Journalists initially searched for prominent email user names in the database, but a user could enter a false or fictitious email, so most hit a wall and ended their search.
Consequently, those investigations did not reveal what was hidden deeper in the database.
No one in the media took a serious look at the financial records contained in the data dump until HMG-CN commissioned a programmer to sort the gigabytes of information into a searchable format.
The financial data was broken down into categories that included card user’s name, address, card number, IP address, the time the card, was charged and registered email.
Surfing for an Affair
Once on Ashley Madison, if a user wanted to take the next step and pay to contact a young woman to have an affair, the user would need to input a valid credit card number and information related to that card number.
Similar to any other website, the name, billing address, zip code, expiration date, and the three-digit “CVV” number related to the card would have to match or the charge would be declined.
The first prominent name found in the database was Trent Hager, Chief of Staff to Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton CA) and now Adam Gray (D-Merced),
Hager earns a hefty $141,408 per year according to the Senate.ca.gov website and is married to Janelle Beland, who works for Governor Jerry Brown.
The database showed Hager using the site on eleven occasions between September 2013 and May 2014.
And Hager was surfing the Madison site while on state time, making five charges on the site during regular working hours.
Hager told HMG-CN, “Here’s what I know. My credit card has been hacked 3 times in the last 4 years. The Legislative work hours are 35 hours per week. All employees are entitled to a lunch hour and breaks. ”
With that quote, Hager basically admitted he used the site on those occasions.
Now a Prominent State Senator
Finding Hager, HMG-CN began its search first looking for State Senators and State Assembly members in Southern California using current and past government rosters of politicians.
Once again the results were quite revealing.
The HMG-CN search shockingly found former speaker of the state Assembly and current State Senator Robert “Bob” Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) on the list.
Hertzberg won election to the 18th Senate District in 2014 that includes much of the San Fernando Valley.
Once his name was found, HMG-CN attempted to contact Sen. Hertzberg several times, finally receiving an answer today, Aug. 24.
His first comment to the evidence in the Ashley Madison database and questioning was very short saying, “Not true. I did not use the site. I checked with the bank and credit agency, I haven’t had a card with that number.”
Hertzberg joined the high powered Los Angles based law firm of Glaser Weil in 2014, joining the government affairs practice, which is overseen by former Beverly Hills Mayor Thomas Levyn along with Tim McOsker, former chief of staff to former mayor of Los Angeles James Hahn.
Before that he was Senior Partner with Mayer Brown, LLP, which at the time was located at 350 S. Grand Ave., Suite 250, in Los Angeles, 90071.
The three Robert Hertzberg labeled charges on the Ashley Madison website occurred in Dec. 2009.
The address on the card was 350 S. Grand Ave., Suite 250, in Los Angeles, 90071, and the name on the card was Robert Hertzberg.
Access to view the site was successfully purchased in the morning. Six minutes later a higher level was purchased to view potential matches, and finally forty minutes later another purchase was made, likely to gain more information or to meet a person on the site.
Hertzberg was subsequently told after his first comment that the card had the Mayer-Brown address of 350 S. Grand with a Suite number of 250, and that the card used was in his name, Robert Hertzberg.
Hertzberg replied, “I never had a corporate credit card at Mayer/Brown. As a policy, the firm does not issue corporate credit cards to individual attorneys working there.”
HMG-CN then informed Senator Hertzberg that the person entering the credit card data and purchasing access entered a username of ‘DDMYLES.’
Myles is Sen. Hertzberg’s middle name according to his State Bar license and registration.
The Hertzberg camp then scrambled, responding to the username revelation by saying “we are in the middle of a very busy time, if you can wait…., we can check further and give a more complete answer.”
HMG-CN will reveal additional names in the coming days, any questions, comments, or requests can be made through the email below.
Copyright-Hews Media Group, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper, All rights reserved. Reproduction by permission and attribution only.
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