KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The owner of the Kansas City Power & Light District has filed a defamation lawsuit against two attorneys who claimed in an earlier lawsuit that the entertainment district discriminated against minority customers.
Real estate company Cordish Cos. and two related entities filed a defamation lawsuit this week alleging that attorneys for former Cordish employee Glen Cusimano knowingly made false statements to the media that damaged the district’s reputation.
Cusimano alleges in his lawsuit that the district employed people to provoke confrontations with black customers, who would then be kicked out of district clubs, in 2012 and 2013. He also alleges he was wrongly fired from his job as a general manager of the Mosaic nightclub, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/RwZnxE ).
Cordish denies it sought to evict black patrons, saying in its lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, that Cusimano, his lead attorney, Linda Dickens, and another attorney in her firm, Austin Johnston, concocted the story to “extort money” from the company.
Dickens on Thursday dismissed Cordish’s countersuit as “a bullying tactic” meant to distract from her client’s claims.
In a letter to Cordish dated Dec. 10, 2013, Dickens alleged that in the summer of 2013, Cusimano used the plan or saw it being used 20 to 30 times.
A man Cusimano claimed to have hired for such a task, Tom Alexitch, said he was given free drinks and cash to start fights that led to people being ejected. He told The Star on Thursday that he generally would start trouble by insulting the black men or flirting with their dates. The black patrons were ejected for the night but Alexitch said he was allowed to return and start more trouble if needed.
Cordish said no people were ever employed for that job and the Dec. 10 letter was an attempt to extract a settlement payment. The lawsuit claims no records of such ejections exist.
Cusimano is seeking $10 million in actual and punitive damages. Dickens has filed a separate class-action lawsuit on behalf of two black men who claim they were discriminated against in the district.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com
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