SA Premier Mike Rann has now been challenged to take a lie detector test over s-x claims with a parliament house waitress.
The challenge has come from the woman herself.
The woman, Michelle Chantelois, has described what she says was a steamy s-xual affair with the Premier. Her own sister, Lisa DeGuzman, said yesterday from her home in California that she saw Mr Rann flirting with Chantelois when the two were being taken on a personal tour of Parliament by Mr Rann in 2001.
“I left going ‘he likes you’,” Ms DeGuzman told New York-based reporter Carly Crawford. “I’m not surprised that what happened happened. He was flirtatious and I just felt like he was drawn to her,” she said.
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Mr Rann, for the first time yesterday, admitted he flirted with Ms Chantelois, but emphatically denied having had s-x with that woman.
But the Premier cut short a carefully stage-managed and somewhat bizarre media conference at an Adelaide southern suburbs footfall field, before reporters could ask for further details of the many contradictions between his and Ms Chantelois’ accounts.
For example, Ms Chantelois said the pair had had s-x in Mr Rann’s parliamentary office.
“He had me on his desk, his Parliament House desk, in his office,” she said. “At the very end when it was finished it was almost like ‘OK, I have a meeting now, I have to go’.”
Yesterday Mr Rann said it would have been impossible to have had s-x in the office “while Parliament was sitting”.
“There were suggestions that I had s-x on the floor of Parliament House, in my office, between meetings while parliament was sitting. Any one of you who is a political reporter would know how absolutely ridiculous and absurd that would be,” Mr Rann said.
“My office is like a train station, revolving door on grand central station which is constantly surrounded by advisers and members of parliament coming out, ministers coming out, staffers coming out, members of the Opposition coming out.”
But Crikey has been unable to find a reference to Ms Chantelois claiming the s-x occurred on a Parliamentary sitting day. And as any one of us who are political reporters would know, it is absolutely ridiculous and absurd to think that at night, on a non-sitting night, there are other than ghosts wandering the silent corridors.
And Mr Rann walked away from the conference, reporters still shouting questions, before he could be asked about a film he supposedly told Chantelois to watch.
“Some fantasy, a lot of fantasy talk,” is how she described their relationship, “like how often would you have sex with your husband and he actually asked me to watch this particular movie which was called Unfaithful.
“In the scene, the leading lady goes to the cafe with her girlfriends and she meets the guy that she’s having an affair with and they go to the restroom and it’s a very hot steamy s-x scene.
“He actually asked me to watch that . . . because that was one of his fantasies, I guess.”
She said she rented the movie, watched the scene, and acted out the fantasy.
“Yes, the kissing immediately started, he pushed the furniture aside and that’s where it occurred on the floor in his office.”
Mr Rann admitted yesterday he had phoned media baron Kerry Stokes before the television interview went to air, but denied he had asked Mr Stokes to pull the story. He said he now intends suing Channel Seven, but not Chantelois herself.
Any action between Chantelois and the Premier would see the two slugging it out in court together.
But the issue is now not only about whether it was a s-xual affair. It’s about whether the Premier is telling the truth.
If a stranger or even a casual acquaintance asks if you’d ever in your life had a married lover, you might say it’s none of their business.
At that stage it was none of our business if the Premier had or he hadn’t.
But it is our business if our premier, our partner, our mechanic or the bloke down the road lies to us. Then it becomes our business.
Faced with the fallout of the scantest public suspicions of an affair, Rann thought it would be best to say that he knew the woman involved, but it was all above board, innocent. A friend, he called her, from the past. Then yesterday he said it was a flirtatious relationship.
He knew full well that the wounded husband suspected an affair, that the marriage had broken up through it, that the husband had written to Rann and had sent phone calls and text messages, and that because of a suspected affair the now-estranged husband allegedly (he’s been charged) lashed at the Premier’s face at the national wine centre on 1 October shouting “Remember my wife!”.
Days after the assault, Rann said he did not know the attacker’s identity or the reason for the assault.
He said, when asked days after the attack, that he didn’t know what “Remember my wife” was about.
Yet he knew about the marriage breakup. He knew the husband had already accused him of conduct unbecoming.
This has to be settled now, without long drawn-out legal proceedings against Seven. The last big case against Seven in South Australia took five years before Seven won. SA has an election in March. We want to know before then if a candidate for Premier told the truth or lied to us.
Forget the tryst. It’s inconsequential compared with this. Did he tell the truth, or did he lie? I think it’s possible Rann may have known who the husband was, and what it was about.
We need to know.
And that’s very much our business.
Hendrik Gout is editor of Adelaide’s Independent Weekly