Mounds View adman arrested in prostitution sting

  • Updated: October 31, 2013 - 9:20 PM

Bill Hillsman, known for his ad campaign work for former Gov. Jesse Ventura and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly engaging in prostitution.

Hillsman, 60, was one of 19 suspects arrested by Mounds View police during a prostitution sting at a hotel in the east metro suburb on Monday and Tuesday, according to Mounds View Police Chief Tom Kinney.

Hillsman and the other suspects were booked and released from the Ramsey County jail pending further investigation. Charges could be filed in a few weeks, Kinney said.

“Most of the evidence and information has already been gathered,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting all of that and the reports together and presenting charges.”

Kinney said he didn’t have specific details about Hillsman’s case, but said that none of the suspects resisted arrest.

Mounds View police, working with St. Paul police, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, posted an ad on the website backpage.com, which is known for its prostitution and sex-trafficking ads.

The suspects met with an undercover officer at a hotel, Kinney said, and were arrested after certain elements were met, including an exchange of money.

Hillsman, who lives in Minneapolis, is founder and president of North Woods Advertising and has worked for campaigns in and out of Minnesota. His work was credited with helping to elect Ventura and Wellstone, and he has served as a political pundit for media.

Hillsman did not return a call seeking comment.

CHAO XIONG

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