Masseuse accuses New York Knicks owner Jim Dolan of sexually assaulting her and looking the other way when Harvey Weinstein did, too

Harvey Weinstein (L) and James Dolan attend a celebration for Bryan Cranston at House of Elyx on December 13, 2015 in New York City.
Harvey Weinstein (L) and James Dolan (R) attend a celebration for Bryan Cranston at House of Elyx on December 13, 2015, in New York City.Andrew Toth/Getty Images
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  • A masseuse alleges in a lawsuit that Jim Dolan "trafficked her for his own sexual gratification."

  • Plaintiff Kellye Croft also alleged that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her.

  • Attorneys for both Dolan and Weinstein denied the allegations in statements to BI.

A Tennessee masseuse has alleged in a new lawsuit that sports mogul Jim Dolan "unlawfully trafficked her for his own sexual gratification" and didn't care when she told him disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her.

Dolan is now the CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. and owner of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. Attorneys for both Dolan and Weinstein denied the allegations in separate statements to Business Insider on Tuesday.

The plaintiff, Kellye Croft, said in a statement that she has "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."

"James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein," Croft said.

The massage therapist alleges the sexual assaults happened in 2013 and 2014

Croft said she met Dolan in 2013 when she was 27 years old and he was 58 years old. She was working as a massage therapist on tour with the rock band, the Eagles, the civil suit, filed on Tuesday in a California federal court, says.

Dolan's band, JD & The Straight Shot, opened for the Eagles at the time and Croft said she believed that Dolan significantly bankrolled the tour.

The suit alleges that in mid-November 2013 while Croft was in Miami for the Eagles tour, Dolan scheduled a massage with her and forced himself onto her during it.

"Towards the end of the massage, Dolan pulled Ms. Croft towards him. She tried to push away, stating that she was very uncomfortable and that she took her job as a masseuse very seriously and that she wanted to remain professional," the suit alleges.

Croft tried to bring the massage to an end, the lawsuit says, but Dolan "proceeded to come on even stronger."

"Dolan then grabbed Ms. Croft's hands, dragging her to a couch in the same room and forcing her hands between his knees as he sat down," the suit alleges, adding that Croft was "adamant that she did not want to have any sexual interactions with Dolan."

The suit alleges, "Dolan was extremely assertive, and pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him," leaving Croft "disgusted and terrified."

"Following this unwanted sexual contact, Ms. Croft was summoned to Dolan's room multiple times during the remainder of that part of the tour," the lawsuit says. "On each of these occasions, Dolan made unwelcome advances toward Ms. Croft, and she felt obligated to submit to sex with him."

The suit says Croft was "disgusted" by Dolan, "but her youth and extreme loneliness while on the road with strangers, as well as Dolan's immense power, made it possible for Dolan to manipulate Ms. Croft and lure her under his control."

Croft said she was hired at the time to perform massages for the Eagles and other tour members, and she was asked again to join the tour in Los Angeles. But, "in reality, Ms. Croft was flown out to Los Angeles for the purposes of engaging in unwanted sexual acts with Dolan," the suit says.

"Dolan expected Ms. Croft to have sexual interactions with him during the tour, and she spent her time either isolated by herself or waiting for instructions from Dolan," the lawsuit says.

The Azoff Company, the management firm that represents the Eagles and is named as a defendant in the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI on Tuesday.

James Dolan
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, center, watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors, on Saturday, February 9, 2019, in New York.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

During the Los Angeles leg of the tour in January 2014, Croft said, she met Weinstein, who told her that Dolan was "one of his best friends."

Weinstein — who was later convicted of rape and sexual assault and remains locked up in a New York prison — was accused in the suit of sexually assaulting Croft at a hotel after he brought up "what sounded like a dream job opportunity," the lawsuit says.

"Weinstein came behind Ms. Croft on the couch and began rubbing her shoulders, again requesting that she massage him. Uncomfortable, Ms. Croft again stated she would not perform any massage without the proper set up," the suit says.

At one point, Weinstein put on only a bathrobe and asked again about a massage, the lawsuit says. When Croft tried to leave, he blocked the door, she alleged.

Croft got away and went to her hotel room, but Weinstein "barged" in, "backed Ms. Croft onto the bed, forced her down, and forced her legs open," the suit says.

"Standing between her legs, he undid his robe, and shoved his fingers inside of her, using his other hand to hold her down. He tried to force his penis inside of her, although he struggled to do so," the lawsuit states.

During the alleged attack, Dolan called before a "rattled and shaken" Croft got away and went to Dolan's hotel room, the suit alleges.

Croft told Dolan that she met Weinstein and that he was "sexually aggressive" with her, and Dolan did not "express any surprise at the news," the lawsuit says.

"To the contrary, Dolan responded to Ms. Croft's report of sexual assault in a completely matter-of-fact tone, noting that Weinstein was 'a troubled person' that had a lot of 'serious issues,' but that his friends were 'trying to get him to address' those issues," the suit says, adding, "Dolan intimated that Weinstein was not a 'safe' person but did little to console Ms. Croft or help her to report the assault to the authorities."

Lawyers for Dolan and Weinstein denied the allegations

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein listens in court during a pre-trial hearing for his Los Angeles sexual misconduct trial on July 29, 2021.ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dolan's attorney, E. Danya Perry, told BI in a statement that "There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan," and Croft and Dolan "had a friendship."

"The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. 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.

Perry continued: "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."

Croft's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said in response that "Dolan believes he is above the law."

"His own lawyer originally characterized the relationship as a consensual romantic relationship – which it was not. Our Firm has not lost multiple cases to Dolan—that is a fabrication," Wigdor said. "Most egregious, however, is Dolan's assertion that our client has made up being raped by Weinstein when she told Dolan at the time what had happened to her and when Dolan admitted to knowing about Weinstein's predatory behavior. It seems as though Dolan still stands with Weinstein, a convicted felon."

Weinstein's attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told BI that Weinstein "vehemently denies these meritless allegations and looks forward to litigating these claims in a court of law where the truth will be revealed."

Read the original article on Business Insider