MARIETTA, Ga. - (CN) Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers Jr. and his former assistant filed dueling lawsuits: she claiming he sexually assaulted her more than 100 times, and he claiming she illegally videotaped their consensual sexual encounters and is trying to extort "millions" from him.
Rogers sued Mye Brindle in Cobb County Superior Court on Sept. 19.
Brindle, a 43-year-old mother, responded and filed a counterclaim on Oct. 18.
She filed her own complaint, still under seal, in Fulton County State Court. She filed a police report on Oct. 5. Brindle claims that she worked in Rogers' home for 9 years, managing his estate, and that a condition of her employment was that she "perform sexual services," and that Rogers "required Brindle to masturbate him."
Both the complaints, counterclaims and answers were sealed until a judge unsealed Rogers' lawsuit in the last week of November.
Rogers claims: "Defendant surreptitiously filmed and recorded plaintiff engaging in sexual encounters in the privacy of his bedroom without his knowledge or consent thereby intruding upon his right to seclusion, solitude, and privacy."
He adds: "Defendant has threatened to proceed with litigation and reveal her videos if plaintiff does not agree to pay her 'millions' of dollars.
Waffle House has more than 1,700 outlets in 25 states, mainly in the South, according to industry publications. The corporation is based in Norcross, Ga., in Gwinnett County.
The Cobb County judge's order to unseal the came after the Marietta Daily Journal's reported on an Atlanta Police Department investigation of Rogers. The article was based on Brindle's police report, filed on Oct. 5.
No formal charges have been filed against Rogers.
Rogers says he hired Brindle as a housekeeper in 2003. He claims the intimate relationship began quickly.
"During the course of her employment with WH Capital as a housekeeper at plaintiff's residence, Plaintiff and Defendant became engaged in an infrequent, but consistent, series of consensual non-intercourse sexual encounters," his complaint states.
He claims they "continued their infrequent, but consistent, series of consensual non-intercourse sexual encounters until June 2008, when plaintiff's employment ended."
Both Rogers and Brindle agree that the sex stopped when she resigned.
However, according to the police report and Brindle's counterclaim, "Defendant [Brindle] admits that during the course and scope of her employment for plaintiff [Rogers] and various of his entities, and over a period of numerous years, plaintiff directed and required Brindle to perform sex acts upon him, attempted to force himself upon her sexually and otherwise committed numerous acts of sexual battery and sexual harassment against her. Defendant further admits that these acts were not consensual."
Brindle claims that after he hired her in 2003, Rogers bought a massage table and instructed her to give him massages as part of her duties as a personal assistant.
"It became Rogers' practice to be naked during the massages. Sometime, during 2003, while Brindle was giving Rogers a massage, Rogers began directing Brindle to masturbate him," according to her counterclaim.
It adds: "At a minimum, beginning in approximately 2003, Rogers required Brindle, as a condition of her employment, to masturbate him."
Brindle claims that Rogers fired her after she broke both legs and was unable to work. But in 2009, she says, Rogers and his wife offered her a new position as a house manager and she accepted, running the day-to-day operations of Rogers' household.
Rogers claims the consensual sex began again.
"At some point after defendant was re-engaged as the plaintiff's house manager, she and the plaintiff fell into the same pattern of infrequent, but consistent, non-intercourse, sexual encounters until defendant resigned from her position as house manager on June 29, 2012," Rogers claims in his complaint.
Rogers claims: "Both parties initiated the sexual encounters. On many occasions, defendant would enter plaintiff's bedroom knowing he would unclothed, and thereafter would initiate a sexual encounter."
Brindle claims she accepted the house manager position, with the condition and promise from Rogers that the sexual assaults would stop, but the abuse escalated.
"As a part of and as a condition of Ms. Brindle's employment, and against Ms. Brindle's will, Rogers willfully, repeatedly and with specific intent to harm and oppress Brindle, required Brindle to perform sexual services," she say in her counterclaim.
These services, according to the complaint, included forcing her to masturbate him, requiring her to purchase pornography, lingerie and sex toys for him as a part of her job. Brindle also says Rogers touched her breasts, referred to her breasts as "The Girls," and asked her to meet "Mr. Dick."
Brindle says she put up with the sexual assaults and harassment because she was a single mother and could not find another job that paid as much as Rogers paid her. She says she quit when her son obtained a full college scholarship.
"On June 29, 2012, she sent Rogers a letter of resignation informing him that she could no longer suffer the indignities and dehumanization of his actions. She placed the resignation letter in Rogers' sock drawer in an effort to spare Rogers' wife from pain and humiliation," Brindle says in the complaint.
Brindle acknowledges that before she quit, she videotaped their sexual encounters in Atlanta and at the Sea Island resort.
"Brindle recognized that it would be unlikely people would believe Rogers sexually abused and harassed her if it were just her word against his," the complaint explains.
In his complaint, Rogers claims he had no knowledge of the video and audio recordings in his home, nor did he ever consent to them.
"Plaintiff never consented to allow defendant to videotape or make audio recordings of the sexual encounters conducted in the privacy of his house, and plaintiff has never consented and specifically objects to defendant giving or distributing any such video or any audio recordings to others," the complaint states.
Rogers claims he has received a demand letter from Brindle and her attorneys that is tantamount to extortion.
"(O)n July 16, 2012, I received a letter from her attorney containing false allegations and strong threats. According to her attorneys, she now wants millions of dollars from me," Rogers said in a statement to The Atlanta Business Chronicle and other media.
That statement added: "I am a victim of my own stupidity, but I am not going to be a victim of a crime - extortion. I shared the threatening blackmail letter with my wife and we engaged attorneys to investigate the situation. On September 14, 2012, I initiated court proceedings and my former housekeeper and her attorneys have responded with false allegations, including filing a false police report."
Brindle says that when she and her legal counsel shared, at Rogers' counsel's request, a 6-second clip from one of the videos during mediation, a member of Rogers' legal team abruptly left the mediation to file an injunction in Cobb County Superior Court.
After Rogers demanded the injunction against release of the videotapes, a hearing was held, on Nov. 14. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley impounded the tapes, under seal, pending further order from the court.
In her counterclaim, Brindle seeks damages for battery, state RICO violations, anti-SLAPP violations, and breach of the confidentiality of mediation by filing his lawsuit against her. She is represented by David Cohen, with the Complex Law Group, of Marietta.
Rogers seeks an injunction and damages for privacy invasion, unjust enrichment, and emotional distress. He is represented by Robert Ingram, with Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele, of Atlanta.