Add famous Cleveland Indian player and stolen base king Kenny Lofton to the list of Cleveland sports personalities charged with sexual misconduct in civil court. According to Deadspin documents, the six-time retired All-Star former employee is now being sued, who says he was fired for allegedly bringing bad behavior at Lofton’s workplace to his employer on note, according to the documentation obtained by Deadspin. Lofton, who founded Centerblock Asset Management LLC, an investment firm and an NFT workplace, allegedly retaliated against plaintiff Brandyn Toney, who served as chief creative officer for Lofton’s company.
According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, a female employee working under Toney was tasked with monitoring Lofton’s Instagram and direct messages. The lawsuit claims that while performing her duties, the female employee was regularly exposed to sexually explicit photos of Lofton, who allegedly sent pictures of her genitals to women on Instagram. As early as February 2022, the complaint states that the female employee contacted internal counsel Mark Lui. The lawsuit also alleges that, on June 8, Lofton’s inappropriate behavior was brought to Toney’s attention by the female employee.
Hours after Toney reported the allegations against Lofton to Lui, his contract was terminated. Toney, who claims to idolize Lofton and wishes for the chance to work for him, agreed to receive a salary of $85,000 when hired, but instead says he spent seven grueling months of work. with the minimum wage after being hired in December 2021. Following the termination of his contract, the lawsuit states that Lofton’s company refused to pay him the agreed-upon salary. On June 15, Toney announced he had emailed Lui, asking about suspicion during the hour of his dismissal after reporting the allegations against Lofton for the first time. In response, Lui allegedly only informed him that he was no longer an employee of the company.
Toney is suing and seeking damages against the companies of Lofton, Centerblock Asset Management and Proxime Corporation, for violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, breach of contract, and workplace harassment. . Deadspin has reached out to Lofton and Centerblock for comment, but was unable to reach anyone willing to speak to us about the lawsuit.
“Lofton and his executive team thought they could fire our clients for protesting apparent sexual misconduct and even thought they could get away with not paying for their work. him,” Toney’s attorney Ronald L. Zambrano said in an email. “That speaks to the arrogance and dysfunction of playing every day at Centerblock and Proxime.”
If the allegations in the lawsuit are proven true, this may be an open and shut case. Given that the accusations against Lofton are fairly recent, it will be interesting to see what type of evidence Toney compiled and how Lofton defends himself. If true, it would be also an especially bizarre use of his authority to subject a female underling to his genitalia through photos sent to other women. Additionally, if Lofton was indeed brazen enough to exploit a young professional (who admired him so much he worked for pennies on the dollar) and then financially punished him for reporting accusations, it exemplifies a penchant for exploiting individuals that extends beyond the typically disgusting behavior by public figures that have been exposed in the #MeToo era.