A New Jersey restaurant is the subject of two new legal cases.
Nine employees have filed lawsuits with the Sussex Superior Court in New Jersey over Mohawk House, a steakhouse in Sparta, and its owner Steve Scro for sexual harassment. The suit claims that Scro repeatedly grabbed and fondled both male and female employees, asking women to “dress sexy” and “show division to make more money.” At the same time, the steakhouse filed a separate lawsuit accusing employee James Kruzelnick of defaming the restaurant.
A sexual harassment plaintiff said Scro touched her “vaginal area”. The men suing Scro and the Mohawk House alleged that he hit them on the buttocks. Kruzelnick said Scro had discriminated against him because of his sexuality, “labeled him a gay slur and asked if he had HIV”. The former employee was fired, believing the move was out of retaliation. After his release, Kruzelnick was sued for “devising a scheme for posting negative reviews”.
The harassment record states: “While (Steve) Scro has sexually abused and discriminated against his staff without apology over the years, he has constantly reminded them that he had close relationships with many powerful people in Sparta, including Spartan judges. Police department and local politicians. “However, a Mohawk House attorney replied,” The charges against Scro and the restaurant were designed to generate media coverage. “
Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
The lawsuit against Kruzelnick relates to violations of the state RICO law. The law is usually reserved for organized crime organizations involved in extortion. It covers “Bribery, extortion, counterfeiting and fraudulent practices, securities fraud and all crimes listed in Title 21C Chapter 21 of the New Jersey Statutes”.
Commenting on the harassment dispute, Stephen J. Edelstein, Mohawk House attorney, said: “Mohawk House has been an anchor in the community for over 15 years and many of the 45+ staff have worked there for five years or more. This retaliatory lawsuit was initiated by a former employee who repeatedly turned to the courts with outrageous accounts in order to get a heavy payday. The other employees’ complaints were investigated and found to be unfounded. We look forward to the facts. “
That statement pointed to an earlier lawsuit brought by Kruzelnick against former Supreme Court Justice Andrew Napolitano, an analyst for the Fox News network. In both cases he is represented by the Manhattan-based company Joseph & Norinsberg. In the Napolitano suit, Kruzelnick insisted that the judge “feel him” and “grab his buttocks” and said, “You’re just so hot.” Plaintiff believed he should “continue to do sexual favors for Napolitano if he wanted Napolitano to help his (imprisoned) brother”.
Bennitta Joseph and Jon Norinsberg of Joseph & Norinsberg said the lawsuit against Kruzelnick was “nothing more than Scro’s misguided attempt to silence and intimidate Mr. Kruzlenick”. They added in their joint statement, “Scro’s allegations of retribution are an attempt to paint himself a victim,” when in fact he is being held accountable for his heinous and reprehensible actions. “
Mohawk House and former employees are handling lawsuits
Former employees say the owner of the prestigious New Jersey restaurant harassed and groped them