Famous hair stylist Andre Chreky will soon be out $7 million: The owner of the K Street NW salon that once handled the coif of Laura Bush settled a sexual harassment suit with former employee Jennifer Thong. The settlement papers were submitted Friday. This was the second sexual harassment suit against the salon owner. Former employee Ronnie Barrett sued Chreky, and was granted a judgment of $2.3 million in March.
Settling with Thong ended up costing a lot more, but it might have been the best move for the business owner, who’s currently in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings. Thong’s lawyer, Jonathan G. Rose, thinks a jury trial would have yielded an even larger pot. “I think we could have gotten a $10 million dollar judgment, easily,” says Rose. Rose says one of the reasons his client agreed to settle was so Chreky wouldn’t “spend down” a large portion of his assets on court costs instead of using them to compensate Thong. According to court papers, Chreky and his salon will both be responsible for the settlement.Court papers submitted on the behalf of Thong said that Chreky “used his position as the owner and operator of one of the nation’s premiere hair salons to attempt to coerce and intimidate attractive, vulnerable immigrant females like Mrs. Thong to perform sexual acts and to otherwise engage in unwelcome physical and sexual contact with him.”
One of those alleged acts was Chreky cornering Thong at work, putting his hand under her skirt, and ripping her underwear off to keep as a “souvenir.”
In filings, Chreky’s lawyers pointed out that Thong worked for Chreky from 1998 to 2006 without ever having gone to the authorities and while maintaining a cordial relationship with Chreky.
Calls to members of Chreky’s legal team have not yet been returned.
Photo by James Bowe via Flickr/Creative Commons attribution license