Friday, July 12, 2024

FBI Releases Whitney Houston Files– Including Stalker and Possible Extortion by Ex Employees


Before anyone gets too excited: the FBI released files they had on Whitney Houston today. The biggest news is that she had a stalker or crazed fan in 1988. And then in 1992, there was some attempt to extort money from her by former employees. It’s not clear whether they were the same people who Houston was sued for discrimination by 12 years later in 2004. Silvia Bejar and Rose Hunt threatened to go public with private information about Houston. Her lawyers sued them in advance.

Here’s that story the Daily Record in Bergen county by Peggy Wright:

Ex-employees sue Houston, Brown for discrimination

Date: February 7, 2004

Two women who worked for Mendham Township superstar Whitney Houston have filed discrimination lawsuits against the pop diva and her husband, former pop star Bobby Brown, with one of the ex-employees alleging that Brown made unwelcome sexual advances.

Silvia Vejar of Fort Lee, a former personal assistant to Houston, and Rose Hunt of East Orange, an assistant and dressmaker for Houston, filed suit on Friday in Superior Court, Morristown. The complaints, filed by Morristown attorney William Koy, demand compensatory and punitive damages from Houston, Brown and Houston’s corporation, Nippy Inc., based in Newark.

Aware that the lawsuits were imminent, Houston’s attorneys, Jed Marcus and Ivan Novich, two weeks ago attempted to launch a pre-emptive strike designed to stop the ex-employees from publicly airing their grievances against the celebrity couple.

They sued Vejar and Hunt to block them from disclosing information about Houston and Brown, saying that the women, both fired in the spring, violated employment confidentiality agreements.

But Houston’s suit was filed using fictitious, generic names and initials. Superior Court Judge Kenneth MacKenzie, sitting in Morristown, refused to seal the singer’s request for an injunction against her two former employees and ordered that the document be filed with true identities disclosed. Marcus and Novich said they would appeal, but some of the information that Houston apparently sought to keep confidential now has been made public in the lawsuits filed by Vejar and Hunt.

Neither Marcus nor Novich could be reached for comment on Friday. Koy also said he had no further comment.

In her lawsuit, Vejar said she worked for Nippy Inc. for 17 years, most recently as a personal assistant to Houston at the singer’s home in Mendham Township. Vejar alleged that, beginning in 1997 and ending with her termination in May 2003, Brown engaged in a pattern of conduct that “included unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical conduct of an offensive nature.”

Brown’s conduct created a hostile working environment that interfered with Vejar’s job performance, the lawsuit said.

Vejar reported Brown’s conduct to Houston and unidentified others, but his alleged harassment did not end, the lawsuit said, adding that Vejar believes her firing was a direct result of rejecting Brown’s advances and reporting them to Houston.

Hunt, a 14-year employee who most recently worked as an assistant and dressmaker to Houston until she was fired in March, corroborated Vejar’s claims in her own lawsuit.

Hunt’s complaint also cites the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination — which protects employees against sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation — and said she believes that her dismissal was a consequence of reporting Brown’s harassment of her co-worker.

Both women allege that they were punished for speaking out about Brown’s behavior, and that they have suffered emotional and psychological distress, anguish and anxiety, and damage to their reputations and careers.

Lawyers for Houston have been in Superior Court, Morristown, numerous times over the last decade, usually seeking restraining orders against alleged stalkers or people falsely representing themselves as related to or connected to Houston.

Brown, who also has had numerous run-ins with the law.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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