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Robert Kraft, accused of soliciting prostitution, known for philanthropy

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After charging Patriots owner Robert Kraft with soliciting prostitution, the Jupiter police claimed they have video evidence to prove it.
USA TODAY

BOSTON – Just weeks ago, before Robert Kraft won his sixth Super Bowl as owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, he was awarded perhaps a greater honor.

The Genesis Prize is awarded to leaders of Jewish heritage “who have attained international renown in their chosen professional fields” and “have made a significant contribution to improving the world.” It’s sometimes called the Jewish Nobel Prize.

The announcement capped decades of good works by the billionaire businessman, an icon not only in professional sports but in philanthropy. The $400 million he has contributed to a wide range of causes has earned him enormous goodwill in Boston and beyond.

Now Kraft is charged in Florida with soliciting prostitution. Authorities say he paid for sexual services at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, an operation police say is tied to an international human traffic ring.

Through a spokesman, Kraft has denied any illegal activity. In addition to legal jeopardy, he could face disciplinary action from the NFL.

More: Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida spa

Kraft has been seen in the league and beyond as a figure who works to bring people together. He is credited with helping to settle the labor dispute that threatened the 2011 NFL season.

A Democrat, he is a longtime friend of President Donald Trump. He visited the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year following the mass shooting there that killed 11. A vocal supporter of Israel, Kraft has taken NFL players to the Jewish state on trips sponsored by the league.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to present the 2019 Genesis Prize to Kraft in June. It comes with a $1 million to be donated to Jewish causes.

A spokeswoman for the Genesis Prize did not immediately respond to messages from USA TODAY seeking comment following the charges.

Kraft is CEO and chairman of the Kraft Group, a holding company for several businesses. They include the Rand-Whitney Group, a family-owned packing company that launched his business career. In addition to the Patriots, he owns the New England Revolution, a Major League Soccer team.

His charitable causes include the Kraft Center for Community Health and the Kraft Family Blood Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Kraft leads a grant program that distributes gifts of $100,000 to area nonprofits, and he maintains a permanent endowment with Partners Healthcare to train and recruit health care professionals, according to the Kraft Group.

The endowment, totaling $20 million, supports the Kraft Family National Center for Leadership and Training in Community Health.

Kraft also supports interfaith relations and Judaic studies programs at Brandeis University, the alma mater of his late wife, Myra, and has supported Jewish and athletic programs at Columbia University, his own alma mater.

Reach Joey Garrison at jgarrison@usatoday.com and Twitter @joeygarrison. 

 

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