Anthony Cabassa contributed to this story
A small Twitter feud turned into multiple, heavy accusations. Former Republican Party candidate for Congress for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, Kimberly Klacik, is facing strong accusations about her past and possible fraud with campaign funds. The accusations are being leveled by none other than influential conservative personality and Daily Wire’s host, Candace Owens.
The struggle over the representativeness of black community support generated tensions between conservative commentator Candace Owens and Kimberly Klacik, who consolidated herself as a conservative influencer in social media despite her unsuccessful congressional bid. Finally, the tension manifested itself in a disagreement over President Biden’s recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Because of the disagreement, which escalated, Candace Owens claimed she had found out “incredible” information about Kimberly Klacik and would soon reveal it. This Tuesday, June 22, Candace Owens took the plunge: she revealed, after investigating, that Klacik allegedly has a foundation that functions as a front, was a stripper, used campaign money for personal expenses, and committed donation fraud.
Klacik, meanwhile, denied Owens’ allegations. Her lawyers, she explained, will act against Owens and The Daily Wire. The former candidate blocked Owens from her social media. She also disabled comments on her Instagram and Twitter posts.
The Gentlemen’s Gold Club and cocaine
Owens said that publicly available information about Klacik’s pro-women foundation Potential Me is inconsistent. On some websites, the foundation states that its purpose is to support women in their professional development. On others, it says it donates clothes to women but also claims it sells them and then helps women with the profits. The truth is that the foundation does not have a strong social media presence, nor does it have a website. There is also no information about the foundation’s staff and it did not file taxes when it should have. There is also not much information on Guidestar, one of the first central sources of information on U.S. nonprofits.
While researching Potential Me, Candace discovers that Kimberly Klacik allegedly worked as a stripper at a nightclub in Baltimore, Maryland; that her nickname was “September”; and that her ex-husband (they separated in October of last year) “was the manager of the strip club.” Upon digging, El American found that Klacik’s ex-husband, Jeff Klacik, is the manager of The Gentlemen’s Gold Club, an adult bar located on Pulaski Highway, 13 minutes from downtown Baltimore. In the online business directory of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Klacik is listed as the company’s contact person. Same on Finduslocal.com, where “Jeffrey” Klacik is listed as the owner.
On Twitter, an exchange between an anonymous user and the official account of The Gentlemen’s Gold Club draws attention. On May 29, 2020, the user @TruthBTold911 accuses the then-candidate’s husband of owning the club. From the bar’s official account, they respond, “Hi, this is not true. You’re welcome.” The anonymous account insists and the bar responds: “If we see false information we will try to correct it. We are not affiliated with any political party and would appreciate you keeping us out of false rumors. We have never met the person you reference.” At that, the anonymous account responds with a screenshot of the Chamber of Commerce page profiling Jeff Klacik as the club’s manager. Finally, The Gentlemen’s Gold Club Twitter account says, “Thank you. We will call to update the information. Appreciate the heads up. Looks like it was last updated almost ten years ago.” Even today the Chamber of Commerce page lists Mr. Klacik as the man in charge of the club.
In checking Kimberly Klacik’s personal Facebook account, one photograph stands out. In the image, posted on October 11, 2019, Mrs. Klacik is seen with her husband. The caption reads, “We’ve been together so long, neither of us knows how old we are.” In the background of both, some neon lights, a screen and a disco ball. It is, precisely, The Gentlemen’s Gold Club.
A quick internet search reveals other images of the couple at what is evidently the club managed by Jeff Klacik.
El American contacted the club but, upon inquiring about Kimberly and Jeff Klacik’s relationship, they hung up. Also, Candace Owens said in her report that she was able to speak with a stripper who allegedly confirmed to her that Kimberly Klacik had worked at the location. “She told me in writing that she knew her, that she had partied with her, that she had worked as a stripper with her.”
“Supposedly Kimberly and her husband met at the strip club and then got married,” Owens said. “The stripper assured me that they had both scammed people out of millions and, she said, and I should say this I have not confirmed, that they used campaign money to do cocaine.” Candace Owens said the stripper assured her that she has all the invoices and proof of the allegation.
In addition, El American searched for Kimberly Klacik under her birth name, Kimberly Nicole Bray, in the Maryland Judicial Case Research. The result yielded seven cases. Most of the cases found are traffic reprimands; but one catches the eye: Kimberly Klacik appears linked to the Nexus Gold Club, a now-closed but once popular and controversial Washington DC strip bar.
El American contacted Elizabeth Matory, a former GOP candidate who lost to Kimberly Klacik for the Congressional election nomination in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. Matory, who at the time denounced Klacik’s ties to the adult entertainment industry in Maryland, told El American: “The issue was never that she was a stripper. The problem still is that they a), deny it; b), try to hide the business connections.”
Matory also has heavy accusations against Klacik. She told El American: “The sex industry is huge in Baltimore, as well as human trafficking. Kim would ‘lure’ young women through her social media (especially Instagram) to get involved in this life.”
“Kim’s back story was not only known by the Maryland Republican Party, she was backed by some of the top elected officials. As a conservative, I was (and still am) angry that some key men in the party supported Kim ‘because of her husband,'” Matory said.
El American tried multiple times to contact Klacik but there was no response.
“And this is when things start to get really crazy.”
Candace Owens was already aware of Kimberly Klacik’s alleged past as a stripper, suspicions about her foundation, and now added the stripper’s accusation that the candidate was misusing her campaign money. This prompted Owens to investigate Klacik’s campaign finances, income and expenditures. The record is public at the Federal Election Commission and her discovery was stunning.
As can be seen in candidate Kimberly Klacik’s financial statement, her campaign raised $8,299,807.84. In contrast, the campaign spent $7,502,416.95. What caught Owens’ attention was an invoice for a disbursement of $119,651.67. First, because the invoice is dated November 5, 2020, after the election was over; second, the description: a meet and greet. The hired company was Pearl Events.
When searching for Pearl Events in the registry of business entities on the Maryland governor’s website, the company appears as inactive because “the business entity does not comply with one or more Maryland laws that apply to businesses and their responsibilities in this State,” as the governor’s page reads. Complicating the case further is the fact that Dusky Holman, the attorney listed as the head of Pearl Events LLC, was suspended and cannot practice law.
The Maryland Court of Appeals, in March 2016, ordered the suspension of a list of attorneys for failure to pay an annual fee in the state. Among the 363 reprimanded was Dusky Donald Holman.
Owens continued digging and three other invoices caught her eye: one from Oct. 1 of last year, one from Oct. 2; and one from Nov. 2. All three, for 75 thousand, were for Fox and Lion Communications LLC. The description is CANVASSING.
The conservative influencer continued digging and came across a website that, according to her, looks like a clear facade. When entering the Fox and Lion’s site, generic, free “stock photo bank” images appear. Owens was struck by, “How is it that if this company makes so much money they have a website like this?” Owens checked the site and found that the company was serving Democratic candidates. Upon investigating, she found that the owner of the company is Andy Pierre, a Democratic Party activist and former executive director of the Legislative Black Caucus in Maryland, as corroborated by El American, who explicitly identifies himself with the purpose of “helping” Democrats win elections.
For Candace Owens, the latter is the most serious aspect of the information she found about Klacik. She says she is struck by how Republican donor money is being used to pay a firm owned by a Democrat who is also in the business of helping Democrats win elections.
Are the accusations true?
El American was able to corroborate that Kimberly Klacik’s ex-husband manages a strip club; that the Republican candidate’s campaign paid $119 thousand dollars to Pearl Events, a then-inactive company; and that this company is operated by a lawyer whose license was revoked. In addition, it was also able to corroborate the payments to Fox & Lion, that the CEO of the company is a Democrat; and that he helps Democratic candidates get into power.
To get Klacik’s side of the story, El American, as mentioned, tried to contact her. However, after multiple attempts, there was no response. The former candidate, instead, decided to address the allegations on her social media, after blocking Candace Owens and disabling comments on her posts.
The accusations are heavy. It’s not just about Kimberly Klacik’s alleged dancing past. Instead, Owens insists the Republican may have committed federal crimes. She’s talking about fraud and money laundering. The first thing Klacik did, following Owens’ video, was to release a statement, “The allegations are offensive, false and defamatory (…) our attorneys are reviewing legal options against Ms. Owens and The Daily Wire.”
A day later, Klacik posted an image in which she acknowledged that she had hired Democrats for her campaign. “This was a strategy for flipping votes,” reads part of the text she shared on her Instagram account.
Finally, Kimberly Klacik addressed some of the concerns in a video she posted on her YouTube channel. In the video, which begins with a short interview in which she only mentions a few points, she elaborates on the fact that she hired Fox and Lion. She insists that she did not commit any crime.
“You hire a Democrat who helps you approach voters. You had to sway Democrats. We hire Republicans and Democrats so we have all the information. That’s how this works,” Klacik says in the video.
“When you’re campaigning in a Democratic district, you need Democrats to help you. You have to strategize. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to win. And we’re running to win.”
Kimberly Klacik says there is no evidence she laundered money and claims no one is investigating her. “Candace Owens in 4 days did more due diligence than the Federal Election Commission did in several years,” she quips.
“I did not have access to campaign money. We precisely had a treasurer to prevent this from happening,” she insists. She also addresses the accusation that she used cocaine at the bar during her campaign.
“It’s crazy. If she [Candace] had done her job right, she would know that the clubs in Baltimore were shut down during the pandemic.”
However, there are three points Kimberly Klacik doesn’t mention: neither does she talk about her foundation; Pearl Events, a company she allegedly paid $119,000 to for a meet and greet and whose owner is an unlicensed attorney; nor about allegations that her ex-husband owns a strip bar and that she herself was an exotic dancer. Klacik says only that she is sorry to see the work of an exotic dancer denigrated. “It is not illegal.”
To get some response to Klacik’s statements and to get her side of the story, El American tried to contact Candace Owens. There was also no response.
“Democrats think black people are stupid. They think they can control us forever. That we won’t demand, and we’ll keep voting for them. Are they right?” asks Kimberly Klacik. It’s her campaign video, from August 17, 2020. The 2-minute-and-fifty-second clip launched her to stardom within the Conservative Party.
Today, Klacik faces her most sensitive moment since taking on political life. Candace Owens is, without a doubt, the most important black voice of the Republican Party and conservatism in the United States. Her denunciations, whether or not they transpired, were a lethal missile against Klacik, who still has neither the influence nor the traction of The Daily Wire commentator. Nevertheless, Kimberly Klacik is optimistic.
“I’m going back to work. I want to flip Congress in 2022. And this is not about me. This is about the Republican Party flipping Congress,” Klacik said in her response to Owens.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.