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NHL owner Daryl Katz paid underage ballerina for sex, lawsuit claims

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A new lawsuit claims that the owner of the NHL team Edmonton Oilers allegedly paid an underage ballerina for sex.

Billionaire Daryl Katz allegedly paid the dancer $75,000 for “her sexual favours”, the lawsuit states, as per a report in CBC News.

The allegations come after a sexual abuse lawsuit was filed by seven aspiring ballerinas last year against dance teacher Mitchell Taylor Button and his wife Dusty Button, a former member of the Boston Ballet.

Mr Taylor Button and his wife filed a counterclaim in a Nevada District Court, in which they admitted to having a consensual “throuple sexual relationship” with the lead plaintiff Sage Humphries.

The cross-claim states that the “loving and supportive” affair started when Ms Humphries was 18 years old in 2017. It also alleges that she had three earlier sexual relationships when she was underage involving older men, including Mr Katz.

The third-party claim is looking to hold those men accountable. The filing states that the possible price to be paid for the alleged abuse “should be paid by those who actually engaged in illegal acts with her”.

A lawyer for Mr Katz rejects the allegations, says CBC News.

The lawsuit includes several unproven claims concerning Mr Katz, Ms Humphries, and her family.

“Humphries was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire and her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz,” the lawsuit states.

One of the exhibits in the lawsuit is a screenshot of a text conversation, allegedly between Mr Katz and Ms Humphries.

“If my guys send u funds will u spend it on/keep it for yourself?” Mr Katz wrote, according to the screenshot.

“Of course I would keep it for myself. I listened to all of the advice you gave me the last time and I don’t take anything for granted”, Ms Humphries allegedly replied.

“And just between us? Even though [you are] wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way”, Mr Katz added.

“Yes .. Just between us”, she said.

“OK will have one of my guys email [you]. He will send you 50K”, Mr Katz wrote, according to the exhibit.

“I’m completely speechless, thank you so much..” she said, adding, “We still meeting up in [New York] in a couple weeks??”

“Will let [you] know when I figure out schedule. Likely the week of 19th. When [are you] off?” he said.

“I have most weekends off unless we are doing shows”, she allegedly replied.

The court filing states that Mr Katz was 53 at the time and that Ms Humphries was 17.

Mr Katz’s attorney, Robert Kleiger, told CBC News that Mr Katz didn’t have a sexual relationship with the dancer. He claims the pair met two times in the spring of 2016 when Ms Humphries pitched a project to Silver Pictures, Mr Katz’s film production company.

“One of Daryl’s friends connected him with Sage because Sage was working with some producing partners on shopping a motion picture project that they had put together, basically, and it was based in the ballet world”, Mr Klieger told the outlet.

He added that he couldn’t verify if the texts in the court filing are authentic, but said that Mr Katz did have $75,000 sent to Ms Humphries in relation to their business deals.

“They ultimately decided to pass on the project. But during the period of time that the project was under consideration, they asked for some help to keep with the funding of the project to keep it going. And that’s the $75,000 that is at issue”, the lawyer said.

An IMDB listing states that the project is in development.

Mr Klieger said the claims in the court filing are “baseless and scurrilous”, adding that “it’s designed to be a distraction and a shakedown”.

The lawyer for Ms Humphries and the other dancers told CBC that the third-party claim was a “meaningless sideshow”.

Managing partner at Boies Schiller LLP Sigrid McCawley wrote in the filing: “As is typical of abusers facing serious litigation, the Buttons have filed counterclaims that distract from and distort the truth and weaponize the serious allegations of abuse that have been brought against them.”

“Their counterclaims falsely implicate others and are an unfounded attempt to portray the women they abused as liars”, she added.

Declining to comment, Las Vegas attorney Marc Randazza, who represents Mr Taylor Button and his wife, told CBC News: “We are not trying this case in the press.”

Mr Randazza’s website states that he’s an expert in civil rights, defamation, the adult entertainment business, as well as the “protection of erotic expression”. He has previously represented conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars and neo-Nazi website publisher Andrew Anglin. He’s also been involved in disciplinary proceedings from the state bar associations in three states – Florida, California, and Nevada.

Mr Katz has previously faced allegations that he has paid for sex. Professional gambler RJ Cipriani sued PR crisis management firm GF Bunting+Co, which represented Mr Katz, for defamation in 2017. The court filing alleged that Mr Katz approached Mr Cipriani’s wife Greice Santo, a model and actress, during a photo shoot in Hawaii. The lawsuit claimed that Mr Katz offered her $20,000 a day for sex. He allegedly sent her $35,000 that she donated to charity after declining the deal. At the time, a Katz spokesman said the claims were “false, malicious and entirely without merit”.

Mr Klieger said “there was nothing to” the 2017 case.

“There’s no continuing animosity or anything between them,” he told CBC News. “But I can’t go into details of exactly how they resolved that.”

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