They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Ex-Congressman's Zimbabwe Saga: Shooting Porn And Cutting Deals

Gwwybq5xttssdemyd6ep
AP Photo / M. Spencer Green

It's not the first time that sex has brought Reynolds in the crosshairs of the law.

He was convicted on a dozen sex-related charges, including statutory rape and solicitation of child pornography, in August 1995. While serving a five-year prison sentence, he was also convicted of bank fraud and lying to investigators, staying behind bars until President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence in 2001.

He attempted to mount a political comeback in the aughts, running in 2004 and again in 2013 to reclaim his congressional seat, which had since been occupied by Jesse Jackson, Jr. Neither renaissance came to fruition.

During his second bid, Reynolds told the Chicago Tribune that he was self-employed, working as a broker between African investors and U.S. businesses. The Herald said he "hogged the limelight" while facilitating an agreement in 2013 to build a new Hilton hotel in Harare.

“I knew it was very realistic to bring Hilton Hotel here because I know what’s happening in America now economically. All one needs to do is to present a project correctly," Reynolds told the Sunday Mail last September. "You see, from a business standpoint, there is no reason not to invest in Zimbabwe -- you are using the U.S. dollar, 95 percent literacy rate and 30 percent of the world’s diamonds -- what reason would an investor have not to invest in Zimbabwe? Don’t worry about the politics."

In 2011, he guided a delegation of Chicago businessmen, led by housing developer Elzie Higginbottom, on a tour highlighting the country's commercial potential for U.S. investors, according to the Sunday Mail. He also has criticized U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe.

Higginbottom and Hilton representatives did not immediately return TPM's requests for comment.

About The Author

Kyvrjhit5twjsrbnm5hd

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.