Accused pimp in brothel scandal pleads not guilty

Mark Risner pleads not guilty to racketeering, prostitution charges

ORLANDO, Fla. - The man accused of running a prostitution scheme linked to a state representative and an Orange County city councilman pled not guilty to prostitution and racketeering at his arraignment.

Mark Risner, 55, was scheduled to be arraigned in an Orange County courtroom at 8:30 a.m.  Risner waived his right to appear but did not sign the paperwork, so the arraignment was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. and he was forced to be in the courtroom.

He will remain out on bond and his pretrial hearing has been set for Jan. 8.

Investigators say Risner was the mastermind behind a brothel that listed State Rep. Mike Horner and former Maitland Vice Mayor Phil Bonus as clients.

Horner stopped his re-election campaign and Bonus was stripped of his vice mayor title following their links to the brothel.

Evidence obtained by Local 6 shows Risner ran the brothel at his home on Vincent Road in east Orange County. The alleged client list shows entries for a "congressman" named "Mike" and "the city councilman in Maitland." Investigators say the full client list included hundreds of men, including local doctors, lawyers, a pro football player and teachers.

The evidence shows Risner also secretly recorded video of some of the sexual encounters.

Risner's prostitutes charged $200 for 60 minutes and earned $123,000 in 2011, according to the evidence. Investigators say the prostitutes would give Risner 25 percent of their earnings.

Risner faces more than a dozen charges for racketeering, deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, soliciting or enticing prostitution and aiding or abetting prostitution.

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