A Colorado businesswoman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit this week against an Alaska Native regional corporation, its chief executive and a former company official, alleging corporation leadership mishandled her complaints that the official harassed her.
The lawsuit claims the woman was subjected to retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior.
An attorney for Calista Corp. and its chief executive, Andrew Guy, said the claims are "without merit."
"Calista Corp. intends to vigorously defend against them," Walter Featherly, an attorney with the law firm Holland and Knight, said Wednesday.
The six-count civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Larimer County District Court in Colorado, is the latest chapter in a dispute centered on how Guy responded to the woman's allegations of sexual harassment. The Anchorage Daily News generally does not name victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
The official in question, George Owletuck, was fired last year after an internal investigation found evidence he violated the company's sexual harassment policies. He is now believed to be living in Ecuador, according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, the woman, who came into contact with Owletuck about a proposal to sell her company, reiterates complaints of "incessant" harassment from Owletuck, including flowers, a love letter and Victoria's Secret lingerie. The lawsuit states the woman confronted Owletuck and told him his behavior was inappropriate.
Owletuck allegedly responded the gifts were meant to test whether the woman had the moral character to be involved in a business venture with Calista and "she had passed the test," according to the lawsuit.
The woman also claims in the suit that Guy, the chief executive, tried to cover up Owletuck's behavior and that the corporation retaliated by rejecting her business proposal.
She claims "substantial economic losses and emotional distress" in the lawsuit, and is seeking damages that include the value of the rejected business deal. The lawsuit says that the woman proposed the value of the sale at $5 million in December.
Calista Corp. has denied that Guy mishandled the sexual harassment complaint and said the woman had not told Guy she was sexually harassed.
Featherly said Calista Corp. would respond to the specific allegations in its court filings.