SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A lurid sexual harassment lawsuit accuses a founder and CEO of a real estate brokerage of raping and brutalizing an employee.
Danielle Snyder Potter sued Realty One Group, its CEO Kuba Jewgieniew, Apal LLC and Everest Escrow, in Orange County Superior Court.
The 14-page lawsuit contains a litany of accusations against Jewgieniew, including that he "threw her on her desk, ripped her pants off, abused and raped her while holding her down, hurting her, and bruising her arm".
Potter claims that Jewgieniew harassed and abused her for months, from the time she went to work for him on Sept. 1, 2011 through January of this year.
She describes 14 incidents of alleged abuse in a single paragraph of the lawsuit, specifically, that Jewgieniew:
"c. Repeatedly told plaintiff that he could not stop thinking about her, sent her inappropriate texts, spoke of sex and sexual acts, asked her about her body parts, demanded she take inappropriate pictures of herself and send them to him;
"d. Repeatedly placed his hand on plaintiff's neck in a choke hold;
"e. Repeatedly grabbed plaintiff's hair and/or grabbed the back of her neck or head;
"f. Repeatedly touched or rubbed her legs and thighs;
"g. Tried to put his hands down her pants, and on another occasion put his fingers in plaintiff's vagina;
"h. Touched or grabbed her breasts several times;
"i. Picked her up by her hips to bring her close to him;
"j. On February 1, 2012, on a pretext of showing plaintiff a file in his Bentley in the dark parking lot after what was supposed to be a business related dinner meeting, exposed his penis to plaintiff and physically and with threats forced plaintiff to perform oral sex on him, and smacked her face and called her a dumb bitch for spitting out his ejaculation and threatened her that she would have to make up for that;
"k. Forcibly pulled down plaintiff's blouse and bra exposing plaintiff's breast in public, and started sucking on it;
"l. In May 2012, repeatedly threatened plaintiff, her job, and made insulting comments about plaintiff's husband and her relationship with her husband;
"m. On November 7, 2012, Kuba Jewgieniew demanded over plaintiff's objections that plaintiff go to dinner with him to discuss fourth quarter at ROG and the family of companies. After dinner at a nearby restaurant, Kuba Jewgieniew told plaintiff that he had forgotten important documents at the office and claimed not to have a key. Again over plaintiff's objections, he ordered her to drive back to the office and let him in the office. At the corporate offices of ROG, he ordered plaintiff to unlock her office, he immediately locked the door behind them, picked up plaintiff by her hips and threw her on her desk, ripped her pants off, abused and raped her while holding her down, hurting her, and bruising her arm; and
"n. On November 7, 2012, after forcibly abusing and performing sexual intercourse on Plaintiff, Kuba Jewgieniew pulled plaintiff's hair with one hand and choked her with the other hand and forced his penis into plaintiff's mouth, then plugged her nose and ejaculated while verbally abusing and threatening her."
The next paragraph of the lawsuit states: "Plaintiff observed and perceived that Kuba Jewgieniew, individually and on behalf of ROG, Apan or Everest, flaunted the law, competed unlawfully, used his power and position to maliciously and vengefully harm competitors and individuals, including members of his own family, created, destroyed, or changed documentation, lied, hid behind a charming front, purposefully and systematically misclassified some employees as independent contractors to circumvent employment and tax laws, manipulated people and disrupted their careers to his advantage, and fraudulently reported data to an insurance carrier to reduce expenses. Plaintiff also observed that turnover of employees and those misclassified as independent contractors was high, and terminations generated by Kuba Jewgieniew were often based on other than performance. These actions and trends of defendants further instilled in plaintiff fear for her family and herself physically and financially, as well as for her career in real estate in the Southwest. Such conduct and behavior by Kuba Jewgieniew made plaintiff deathly afraid to resist Kuba Jewgieniew's behavior more than she did and caused her to believe that reporting it internally or externally or bringing any complaint, claim or lawsuit because of it would be futile.
"On or about November 23, 2012, plaintiff's physician informed her that lab results confirmed she had contracted a vaginal infection that was likely caused Kuba Jewgieniew's performing sexual intercourse on her. Plaintiff treated with antibiotics."
In January this year, Potter says in the complaint, she told Jewgieniew "that she was not going to tolerate his actions any longer, that for the last year and a half he had threatened her job, her life, and her livelihood, that he had taken advantage of her emotionally, mentally, and now physically. She told him that he gave her a bacterial infection. Kuba Jewgieniew responded substantially as follows: 'Don't threaten me. I don't care if you got an infection. I don't even care if I got you pregnant. I'm not getting treated for any infection and if I got you pregnant, you will have an abortion. I can't have you waddling around the office for nine months pregnant with my child. It would ruin my personal and professional life. Clean up my messes like you always do and keep your mouth shut.'"
Potter claims she was placed on a paid two-week administrative leave, and "considered herself constructively terminated" when Realty One declined to investigate her claims of sexual harassment.
Realty One Group, which has offices in California, Nevada and Arizona, was named by Inc. magazine on its annual list of the 5,000-fastest growing companies in America.
In a statement to Courthouse News, Realty One said: "Realty One Group is committed to providing a workplace free of harassment and discrimination and in accordance with the law. It is the company's policy not to comment on litigation and we have every intention to aggressively fight this matter. We are confident that the facts of the case will reveal that these allegations are completely without merit and this is nothing more than a frivolous lawsuit."
Potter seeks lost wages and benefits, future wages and benefits, and punitive damages for sexual harassment and failure to prevent harassment.
She is represented by Robert Robinson of the Quest Law Firm in Tustin.
Jewgieniew was the subject of an admiring article in the April 16, 2010 Las Vegas Sun.