Triple Five Group Board Member Sued For Unwanted Sexual Advances
Kristen Kruczowy filed a lawsuit in New Jersey state court, alleging that Triple Five Group board member Paul Ghermezian made sexual remarks and invited the staffer to join him in a luxury suite during a concert in December, according to NorthJersey.com.
Ghermezian, a member of the Ghermezian real estate dynasty, also requested that Kruczowy sign a nondisclosure agreement before entering the luxury suite, according to The Real Deal. While aware of the situation, Triple Five CEO Don Ghermezian, who is Paul's brother, turned a blind eye to the action, Kruczowy alleges in the suit.
According to the suit, Kruczowy said the owner of a sports bar at the American Dream also made unwanted sexual advances to her during a separate concert, The Real Deal, which cited NewJersey.com throughout its article, reported. She also alleges there was a string of other instances, including unwanted advances from a mall supervisor and a racist comment from an unnamed mall executive in regard to her career advancement.
Kruczowy, who started her position at Triple Five in February of 2021, alleges she was axed in June 2022, along with another colleague, as part of a corporate restructuring. She alleges the unnamed colleague was subject to sexual advances as well and they were the only two employees dismissed in that restructuring.
American Dream told NorthJersey.com in a statement that it doesn't tolerate harassment, discrimination or retaliation and instead called the allegations “a frivolous lawsuit by a disgruntled former employee who was properly terminated,” according to TRD.
Kruczowy is seeking her job back with back pay, damages and a jury trial as well as wanting to force the mall to adopt an anti-harassment policy along with an outside group to audit claims of harassment, according to TRD.
The lawsuit is the latest problem for Triple Five and the saga of the $5B, 3M SF indoor supermall and entertainment venue in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that had to be shuttered soon after its 2019 opening due to the pandemic. It reopened in stages through 2020.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority withheld funding from its Economic Redevelopment and Growth program, forcing American Dream to miss an $8.8M payment on $290M in municipal bond debt previously issued for the project, according to Bloomberg.
The bonds are funded by a portion of the sales tax generated in the mall. According to Bloomberg, the authority had not approved documents detailing Triple Five's expenditures on the mall as of July, a necessary step in order for it to release bond funding.
TRD also reported that American Dream did not make a semiannual $800M payment on the municipal bond on time. In February, Triple Five depleted nearly all of its reserve account to make a $9.3M payment on municipal bond debt.
American Dream is saddled with a $1.2B senior loan and a $475M mezzanine loan from 2017, both of which were supposed to be repaid in 2021, Bloomberg reported. Lenders on the mall include Starwood Property Trust, Goldman Sachs Group, CIM Group and iStar, according to Bloomberg.