Hawaiian Tropic Zone Reneges on Sex Suit Settlement

NY – from www.gothamist.com – After agreeing to settle an explosive $600 million lawsuit filed by five female former employees, Hawaiian Tropic Zone has backed away from a deal to settle out of court for $2 million.

It’s a surprising move for HTZ, which is famous for its bikini-clad servers; having reopened its midtown location in May, you might think the Riese Organization, HTZ’s parent company, would just want this to go away. Each of the women have accused upper management of looking the other way as the former general manager at the midtown location turned the establishment into a “sexual playground” for “boyhood fantasies.”

The allegations against general manager Anthony Rakis [pictured] include charges that he drugged and raped former floor manager Giulietta Consalvo in the back of a cab in 2006, and sexually assaulted and harassed other employees.

Daniel Riese, CEO, claims Consalvo told him in 2006 that she was in fact not raped and even recommended a friend of hers to be Rakis’s personal assistant after the alleged attack. But Consalvo says Riese gave her a $10,000 raise and thanked her for not reporting the rape to police.

Another plaintiff, former hostess Stephanie Cheng, says Rakis forced her to perform fellatio on him in a basement storage area, telling her, “Don’t say anything or else you’ll be in hot water like I will be. I have a wife and I have kids and I can’t afford to lose this job.”

The lawsuit also charged that Rakis and other managers frequented the dorm-like Upper East Side walk-up where many waitresses got a rent discount through HTZ , and Rakis allegedly impregnated one of the women.

Cheng and three co-defendants also say they complained to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, but Rakis was never charged; the Riese Organization later terminated him after an internal investigation.

Sordid stuff, and now you’re hearing all about it again because lawyers for Riese backed out of the settlement Tuesday—they were to have paid each of the women between $75,000 and $800,000, according to the Daily News. Looks like Riese thinks it can win this one, but is there no such thing as bad sexual publicity?

In this case, maybe not—it’s hard to imagine HTZ’s fratastic businessman clientele organizing a boycott over a guy who allegedly acted out his “boyhood fantasies.” (By the way, this lawsuit is not to be confused with the HTZ ghetto mouth lawsuit.)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply