Agents who guarded Russian defector Arkady Schevchenko let their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages last summer and thereby set in motion last month's bizarre kiss-and-tell security scandal. At least that's the script according to Judy Chavez, the 22-year-old escort service hostess who blew the Whistle on Schevchenko following their summer-long romance that she says began when an FBI agent phoned an escort service selected blindly from the Yellow pages. The agent requested a woman to entertain a "French diplomat."
Of course the diplomat was Russian, and after two dates he was so smitten by Chavez that the two became pair, traveling, dining and shopping with federal funds, according to Chavez, who her agent promises, will tell this and more in a paperback due out next March.
"What's been in the newspapers is only the tip of the iceberg," says Lucianne Goldberg, a New York literary agent familiar with controversy; while traveling as a reporter aboard George McGovern's campaign plane in 1972, she also provided (for $1,000 a week plus expenses) political intelligence to Republican operative Murray Chotiner.
Today Goldberg represents, among others, Jack Anderson, Victor Lasky, Maurice Stans and Kitty Kelley. Her newest star client, Judy Chavez, is in hiding, but Goldberg and Hal O'Brien, a Washington outcall massage service owner for whom Chavez worked briefly this summer, reveal these tidbits about the mysterious Chavez:
O'Brien - who doesn't think it was his service that paired Chavez with the defector - says she once told him she worked for one other outcall massage service in Washington. She first contacted him last May and worked sporadically, keeping $50 of the $69 per hour clients paid for nude, reciprocal massages. O'Brien says he last talked with her in August, when he asked her why she wasn't accepting more assignments; he doesn't recall her answer.
Chavez, says Goldberg, has "tapes, diaries and pictures" to bolster her claim that government funds paid for her consorting with Shevchenko, whose wife committed suicide in Russia shortly after he announced his defection.
Under an identity given him by the government, Shevchenko lived in a condominium across from the Shoreham-Americana Hotel. When she first visited him there, Chavez was greeted by a stern federal agent; fearing a trap, she asked if he was a policeman. No, he said, merely secretary to the French diplomat who had requested her company.
According to Chavez's literary agent, during the summer affair both the CIA and FBI agents repeatedly asked Chavez which agency was more popular with her lover. They sometimes balked at money, Chavez told Goldberg; when the couple bought a $1,000 stereo, the two agencies argued about who should pick up the tab. (For the record, the government denies subsidizing the lovers.) The agents particularly enjoyed the couple's jaunt to the Virgin Islands, Goldberg says Chavez told her.
A former Wall Street Journal and Washington Daily News reporter, Jack Vitek, will write the as-yet-untitled book. Dell expects a manuscript by January, a paperback on the shelves by March. No one is talking about the size of the advance, though Goldberg makes whistling sounds when asked.
In Washington, Chavez lived in a Georgetown brownstone alone with a fishtank full of piranhas.