El Salvador night club owner denies USSS report

Owner of El Salvador night club, Dan (DJ) Ertel, downplays reports of riotous behavior by U.S. government agents. CBS News

Owner of El Salvador night club, Dan Ertel, downplays reports of riotous behavior by U.S. government agents.
CBS News

(CBS News) EL SALVADOR - The brewing Secret Service scandal that has touched this small Central American country centers around "Lips," a strip club owned by an American that caters to VIP, military and government personnel.

Earlier this week, citing an unnamed Salvadoran sub-contractor and other sources, CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO reported in the week prior to President Obama's visit to El Salvador in March 2011, "vanloads" of Secret Service agents "descended on the club," drank heavily over the course of two or three days, paid for "sexual favors" from the dancers, and at least two agents openly offered money to have some strippers return to their hotel rooms for "special favors."

As part of his story, KIRO investigator reporter Chris Halsne said he spoke at length to "Lips" owner Dan (DJ) Ertel. There, Halsne said, Ertel confirmed a large number of Secret Service agents had "descended on his club," claiming the agents were there at least three nights and it was "no surprise to me." In addition, Halsne cited "guards, managers and other employees" at the club that backed up the story.

On Friday, in an interview with CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian outside a downtown hotel in San Salvador, Ertel described Halsne's account of their on-the-record conversation as "totally inaccurate."

"He distorted everything I said," Ertel told Keteyian. "He took everything I said and twisted it all around."

Watch CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian's interview with Dan Ertel below:

In the interview with CBS News, Ertel said he had "no idea" if Secret Service agents were even in his club. "I guarantee you there were no Secret Service in my place showing badges saying, 'I'm Secret Service.' If they were any in there, I'm completely unaware of it. And there were definitely no vanloads."

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In addition, said Ertel, no badges or government identification was ever shown to his long-time doorman during the period in question. "I have no knowledge ever of a Secret Service in any of the three Presidential visits ever going into my club."

KIRO-TV Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne told CBS News, "Mr. Ertel is free to tell different stories to different reporters. That's his right. We are confident that KIRO-TV accurately summarized his statements to us. Both me and my crew, which happens to include a private investigator, heard the exact same things."

  • Armen Keteyian

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