Washington's Man from Nowhere

Who is Craig Spence, and why were all those VIPs at his parties?

"Hang a lamb chop in the window," was the advice legendary hostess Perle Mesta gave those who wanted to make a place for themselves in the capital. Craig Spence, a would-be power broker with a taste for Edwardian suits, took that advice to heart when he arrived in Washington in the late 1970s and hurled himself into high-intensity party-giving at his elegant town house in the fashionable Kalorama section of town.

Before long, the man from nowhere (he was, in fact, briefly a reporter for ABC in Viet Nam, and was said to have ties to Asian businessmen who were paying...

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