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What a hooker, a john and an abandoned house have to do with corporate secrecy

This house in Atlanta's Ashview Heights neighborhood is owned by shell company Ilimite, LLC

This house in Atlanta’s Ashview Heights neighborhood is owned by shell company Ilimite, LLC. It’s where I interrupted a hooker and her john.

You know you’ve got a good story to tell when you interrupt a hooker and her john at an abandoned house, which is what I did as I worked on a recent piece about legal corporate secrecy. The problem is that these kinds of bizarre tales are better for the barroom than the newsroom. Typically, they’re not relevant to the story.

This time, the story was essential, so the hooker and john were the story’s lead anecdote

The front door of the house owned by Ilimite, LLC has been left open, revealing holes in the wall and discarded liquor bottles.

The front door of the house owned by Ilimite, LLC has been left open, revealing holes in the wall and discarded liquor bottles.. The abandoned house was owned by a shadowy limited liability corporation or LLC, a type of business entity that owners have misused to do wrong in secret. And crime is exactly what this kind of legal corporate secrecy can bring to a neighborhood.

So for those who are curious, here’s a longer version of what happened when I showed up to 1045 Ashby Grove, a west Atlanta house owned by Ilimite, LLC:
I had been trying to track down the people behind this corporation for days with no luck, so I returned to the house to look for more clues. Some teens at a nearby house recognized me from an earlier visit and started to wave their arms.
“They’re in there! They’re in there!” The kids were jumping up and down.
They? As in the owners? A battered blue pickup was parked outside.
I approached to knock on the front door, but it was wide open. I settled for the door frame.
“Hello? Anyone here?” I went on like this for a couple of minutes and the teens started to squeal. A man appeared from the side of the house, saying he was thinking of buying the house. The kids knew better and lifted their phones to take video.
That’s when the hooker emerged from the brush with a dazed look, demanding payment.
“You better not be taping this,” the man warned the teens.
“We are,” the teens said and laughed. So much for that threat. The couple climbed into the pickup and drove off.
I gave the kids my cards and told them to call me on my cell phone if they spotted the owner. They never did.

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