MSG Exec, NY Knicks Owner James Dolan, Harvey Weinstein Sued for Sexual Assault |

A Tennessee woman filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing James Dolan, chairman of Madison Square Garden and governor of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, of pressuring her into unwanted sex nearly a decade ago while also facilitating an encounter with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who she also claimed sexually assaulted her.

via: Rolling Stone

The plaintiff, Kellye Croft, claims that in late 2013, Dolan enticed her into a sexual relationship and hired her for the tour on which Weinstein, whom she says was a close friend of Dolan’s, sexually assaulted her. She says when she told Dolan about the rape, she alleges he was unsympathetic. She is seeking damages for mental pain and anguish, lost wages, and attorneys’ fees, among others, as well as punitive damages.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, claims that Croft was 27 when she met Dolan, who was 58 at the time. Dolan’s band, JD and the Straight Shot, were about to embark on a January 2014 tour opening for the Eagles, and the suit alleges Dolan got her a job as a masseuse to Glenn Frey. Sending her to California for the tour, the suit claims, constitutes trafficking. It also alleges that Dolan was instrumental in “facilitating, enabling, and aiding Weinstein in meeting Ms. Croft.” Weinstein assaulted her, the suit says, on Jan. 21, 2014.

“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice,” Croft said in a statement. “But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability. James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein. My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”

“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan,” E. Danya Perry tells Rolling Stone. “Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship. The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. These claims reflect an act of retaliation by an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Mr. Dolan and has not, and cannot, win a judgment against him. Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”

“Our Firm has not lost multiple cases to Dolan — that is a fabrication,” attorney Douglas H. Wigdor, who is representing Croft and has represented others in unrelated cases against Dolan, said. “Most egregious, however, is Dolan’s assertion that our client has made up being raped by Weinstein when she told Dolan at the time what had happened to her and when Dolan admitted to knowing about Weinstein’s predatory behavior.”

“Mr. Weinstein vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in a court of law where the truth will be revealed,” the former film producer’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, Esq., tells Rolling Stone.

The suit claims that Croft was working as a masseuse in Tennessee when she got the offer to be personal massage therapist to Frey, who died in 2016. She met Dolan in November 2013 and gave him a massage at which time, he helped her with an interpersonal matter on the tour. The suit claims that after their second massage, Dolan “grabbed Ms. Croft’s hands, dragging her to a couch” where he “pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him.” She says she submitted to future advances, the suit says, because she was intimidated by his stature and influence within the touring company.

At the end of 2013, Azoff Entities — a company owned by Eagles manager Irving Azoff, whose Azoff Company Holdings, Azoff Music Management, and Azoff Company, are all named as defendants in the suit — offered her a chance to re-join the tour in Los Angeles, according the suit, which alleges her flight was expensed on “the JD credit card.” Since the California-based Eagles already had their own masseuses in L.A., she alleges the trip was “for the purposes of engaging in unwanted sexual acts with Dolan.” (A rep for Azoff says that “Neither he nor his companies had any involvement in any alleged misconduct by others,” adding that “Azoff himself Irving Azoff is not a party to this lawsuit.”)

On Jan. 21, 2014, Croft returned from shopping in Los Angeles to her hotel, where, the suit alleges, Weinstein approached her at an elevator and said he was “one of [Dolan’s] best friends.” (Dolan was once a board member of the Weinstein Company.) Croft claims he enticed her to his suite with the promise of work in Hollywood. He requested a massage and, feeling intimidated by his alleged advances, Croft said she couldn’t give one without her massage table, which was in her room. When she left to get it, Weinstein, wearing only what the suit describes as a “loosely tied bathrobe,” followed her and allegedly forced his way into her room.

“Weinstein then backed Ms. Croft onto the bed, forced her down, and forced her legs open,” the suit claims. “Standing between her legs, he undid his robe, and shoved his fingers inside of her, using his other hand to hold her down. He tried to force his penis inside of her, although he struggled to do so.”

Dolan called during the alleged assault and summoned her, according to the suit; when they met, she told him what had happened. “Dolan responded to Ms. Croft’s report of sexual assault in a completely matter-of-fact tone, noting that Weinstein was ‘a troubled person’ that had a lot of ‘serious issues,’ but that his friends were ‘trying to get him to address’ those issues,” the suit claims. “Dolan intimated that Weinstein was not a ‘safe’ person but did little to console Ms. Croft or help her to report the assault to the authorities.” Feeling traumatized, Croft left the tour.

The filing claims that Croft experienced panic attacks before massage appointments at home. She treated herself with drugs and alcohol and says she has since given up the massage profession.

The suit’s first cause of action alleges Dolan trafficked her to the Eagles concert in Los Angeles since ostensibly the only work she’d be able to do was to massage him. Other causes include claims of alleged sexual assault and forcible touching by Dolan and Weinstein, as well as aiding and abetting sexual assault and forcible touching by Dolan.

“With the filing of today’s complaint, it is time to finally hold Dolan accountable for his outrageous conduct,” Croft’s attorney, Wigdor, said in a statement. He is seeking a trial by jury.

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for sex crimes. The New York Times reports that Dolan, in interviews around 2017, cast doubt on a lawsuit that six women had filed, alleging that board members of the Weinstein company were aware of the film producer’s behavior. He later recorded a song titled, “I Should’ve Known,” which he sent to Croft, which she said in the filing effectively inspired her lawsuit.

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