BOSTON -- Washington lobbyist Craig Spence, a flamboyant figure in a Washington male prostitution scandal, apparently committed suicide in a barricaded room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, published reports said Sunday.
Spence, 49, was found dead, lying in bed in a black tuxedo after police and firefighters sawed through the barricaded door to Room 429 of the Ritz-Carlton shortly before 4 p.m. Friday, officials said.
Results of an autopsy performed Saturday were kept secret, but the Boston Sunday Herald cited police sources who said Spence committed suicide, possibly by drug overdose. The Boston Globe also said Spence committed suicide, but did not mention the drug connection.
Spence wrote a farewell note with a black magic marker on a bureau mirror addressed to someone called 'chief' that said, 'This is my resignation,' the Herald said. A source said Spence had registered at the posh hotel under the name 'Kane' and was found with a telephone cradled to his ear, the newspaper said.
In an account of an interview published Aug. 9, the Washington Times said Spence 'threatened on four occasions to kill himself,' going so far as to hold a razor over his arm and say, 'The man who cuts himself across the vein is looking for help. The man who cuts down the vein is looking to die.'
'Death, you know, is only painful to the ones you leave behind,' he said during the interview.
The Boston police spokeswoman said Saturday that firefighters had to saw Spence's hotel room door 'in half in order for police and the EMT's to get into the room.'
'The door was barricaded by the bed, with a chair also jammed between the bed and the bathroom door,' the spokeswoman said.
Spence checked into the hotel Nov. 4 and was scheduled to depart Friday, Ritz-Carlton public relations director Patricia Cutler said.
Police were summoned shortly after 3:30 p.m. Friday when the housekeeping staff was unable to get into the room, she said.
Spence graduated from Boston University in 1963 and worked on Beacon Hill as a press aide to then-Gov. Endicott Peabody. Spence later worked as an aide to former Massachusetts House Speaker John F.X. Davoren in the 1960s.
Spence, who later became a lobbyist and president of Craig Spence Associates, turned up on the front pages of newspapers this past summer when he was identified as a major client of a homosexual escort service.
The service, Professional Services Inc., is being investigated for possible credit card fraud.
Spence was under investigation by federal authorities in Washington in connection with the service, which reportedly was patronized by government officials, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen.
In June, The Washington Times reported that Spence arranged, with the help of a Secret Service officer, to conduct a private White House tour for two call boys one night in the summer of 1988. He reportedly gave the Secret Service officer a Rolex watch in exchange for his troubles.
Police in New York City arrested Spence on drug and weapons charges on July 31 after they found a small amount of cocaine and a .32 caliber pistol in his room at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Spence had a reputation as a man about town in Washington, reportedly hosting parties for many prominent people.
'Spence's friends say he often boasted of being a CIA agent, of associating with high-ranking government officials, of bugging his friends and associates and of blackmailing people,' The Washington Post reported earlier this year.
The New York Post reported that Spence's parties in Washington included as guests journalists Eric Sevareid, Ted Koppel, the late CIA director William Casey, former Attorney General John Mitchell and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.