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Law

MSG CEO James Dolan Accused of Sexual Assault, Sex Trafficking

  • A masseuse alleges Dolan “pressured” her into an “unwanted” sexual encounter about a decade ago.
  • Lawyer for Dolan says there is ‘absolutely no merit to any of the allegations.’
James Dolan
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

A masseuse has alleged that Madison Square Garden Entertainment CEO James L. Dolan “pressured” her into an “unwanted” sexual encounter more than a decade ago, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday. 

Kellye Croft, who worked on a 2013 tour of the band the Eagles, listed Dolan, convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, and Eagles manager Irving Azoff as defendants in the civil case filed in U.S. District Court of the Central District of California. The lawsuit alleges that the New York Knicks and Rangers also owner committed sexual assault and sex trafficking along with allegations of rape made against Weinstein.

“I have suffered so profoundly because of what James Dolan and Harvey Weinstein did to me years ago, and it was not an easy decision to come forward and seek justice,” Croft said in a statement released by her attorney, Douglas Wigdor. “But for me, to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability.”

E. Danya Perry, Dolan’s attorney, said in a statement to Front Office Sports and other outlets that “there is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan.”

“Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” Perry continued. “The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. … Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter, and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”

The lawsuit alleges that Dolan manipulated Croft “to lure her under his control” during the Eagles tour. 

“Dolan was extremely assertive, and pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him,” the lawsuit states. “She felt disgusted and terrified of the situation, but the extreme isolation she felt from others on the tour, coupled with Dolan’s attention to her, his assertions that he would take care of her, and her recognition that this man held immense power over everyone’s position on the tour—including hers—led her to submit to Dolan’s advances.”

Croft also alleged that Dolan flew her in January 2014 to Los Angeles to continue her work as a masseuse for the Eagles, where she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in a hotel room. According to the lawsuit, Croft “immediately” told Dolan what had transpired; in response, he is said to have told her  “We all know” Weinstein “has problems,” and that those around Weinstein were “trying to get him ‘help.”

“James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein,” Croft said in her statement. “My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”

Wigdor, Croft’s attorney, has sued Dolan and MSG previously, including when he represented former Knicks great Charles Oakely. Wigdor also represents former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and former NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter in lawsuits against the NFL. 

“These claims reflect an act of retaliation by an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Mr. Dolan and has not won—and cannot win—a judgment against him,” Perry said. 

In a statement to FOS, Wigdor said that “it is time to finally hold Dolan accountable for his outrageous conduct.”

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