Sources at Whigham Funeral Home are revealing that Raffles van Exel, a notorious Hollywood hanger-on known for latching on to vulnerable super-stars, including the late Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, and the late Ray Charles, is responsible for taking the picture of Whitney Houston in her casket, reports Forbes Magazine.
When Carolyn Whigham, owner of Whigham, held a press conference concerning the accusations that someone on her staff may have been responsible for leaking the disrespectful picture of Whitney Houston to the National Enquirer, her anger and frustration were palpable. Though she declined to name names at the time, she hinted that the Houston family knew exactly who took the picture and though they had halted the investigation, she would not stop until she and her business were publicly exonerated.
The secret is out.
Though on the surface van Exel, who is also a good friend of Whitney’s on-again/off-again companion, R&B singer Ray J, is the legitimate CEO of Raffles Entertainment, LLC, an entertainment “consultant” firm, he has been known on the Hollywood circuit for years as a shadowy con man who seems to always be on the edges of an entertainer’s personal tragedies while they’re being played out for public consumption.
See video below for how he navigates Hollywood and avoids suspicion, including lying about being the son of guitarist and vocalist George Benson, stealing $25,000 from the musician then disappearing.
According to Forbes, Whigham Funeral Home employees saw van Exel snap the pictures and immediately informed the Houston family, who still have not acted upon the information:
Van Exel, who has aliases of Raffles Benson and Raffles Dawson, was at the two private viewings of Whitney’s casket held at the Whigham Funeral Home. The first viewing was on the Friday night before the memorial service. The second one was on Sunday morning before the burial.
The people at Whigham noticed van Exel right away. Even though he’s not a member of the Houston family, he traveled with them on the private plane from Los Angeles to New Jersey. He was the only non family member who accompanied Whitney’s sister in law/manager and newly appointed executor Pat Houston in her car to Whitney’s memorial and funeral and to the viewings.
“They didn’t do anything ab0ut it,” says a source. “They’re protecting him. How come they haven’t gotten him out of their circle?”
Van Exel has not responded to any inquires, but Carolyn Whigham will not rest until the Houston family publicly states that Whigham Funeral Home is in no way responsible for the unprofessional and unconscionable actions of the person who betrayed their trust.