An attorney for a former employee of the American Airlines Center in Dallas wants to depose Mavericks owner Mark Cuban regarding allegations of racial discrimination, including an incident involving a noose found at the arena in 2011.
Michelle Newsome was fired last year after 13 years with the Arena Operating Company, which manages the American Airlines Center, and she filed a petition Thursday in Dallas County indicating she’s “seeking information regarding Cuban’s knowledge of and/or passive or active encouragement of [or conspiracy regarding] sexual harassment and race discrimination that has been occurring at AAC and adversely affecting employees,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
Newsome, who filed a $13 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the arena last year, alleges the work environment she endured as a sales suite executive is “very similar” to earlier reports that prompted the NBA to investigate a woman’s allegations that Cuban sexually assaulted her in an Oregon bar in 2011. The Mavericks also hired outside counsel to probe allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery after a Sports Illustrated report described a hostile workplace for women.
“The Animal House culture that has been described at the Mavericks’ office is very similar to what’s going on at American Airlines Center, and they [arena operators] are very aware of it,” Newsome told the Dallas Morning News Thursday.
The noose, according to Thursday’s filing, was discovered by a man, who remains employed by the arena’s management company, on Feb. 22, 2011, one day before a Mavericks home game. The employee, whose name was redacted from a legal declaration, said Cuban saw the noose near his suite, grabbed it and threw it out.