Former NGKF Employee Sues Firm, Alleging Sexual Harassment
UPDATE, AUG. 16, 6:54 P.M. CT: David Kutzer was dismissed from this suit in July 2017.
A female former employee of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging she was sexually harassed by senior management at NGKF's West LA office.
The woman, referred to as "Jane Doe" in the lawsuit, has hired star attorney Mark Geragos, who once represented Michael Jackson, and his law partner, Ben Meiselas.
The lawsuit names NGKF former managing director Michael Arnold, director of operations John Picard and senior managing director David Kutzer as defendants.
Eight complaints were filed. The woman contends she was the victim of sexual harassment, sex and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination. She also alleges intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit states she began experiencing sexual harassment from Arnold while in the NGKF West LA office shortly after she began working there in 2015. She alleges she was groped "despite her protests" and forced to listen to "graphic and repulsive sexual comments" in the workplace and outside of work.
She reportedly complained to Picard, who she said told her "there was nothing he could do," according to the lawsuit.
"Jane Doe" claims she was harassed by Arnold during an ICSC convention in Las Vegas where she also witnessed NGKF executives using cocaine.
The lawsuit also asserts Arnold sexually assaulted her in his car.
After she reported the alleged incident, she claims she was transferred to NGKF's downtown LA office where Kutzer began sexually harassing her, "including insisting that Ms. Doe accompany him on business trips to ski resorts, and pack nothing but a bikini," according to the lawsuit.
The suit's wrongful termination complaint asserts the emotional distress from the harassment caused her to lose clients and eventually suffer a severe panic attack, and she resigned due to the hostile work environment.
The Daily Mail first broke the news that the lawsuit had been filed.
NGKF declined to comment on the case.