Waffle House chairman claims extortion plot in lawsuit

Waffle House Chairman of the Board Joe Rogers Jr. says in a lawsuit that three attorneys hired by his ex-housekeeper used extortion as a means to force him to settle the woman’s sexual harassment claims.

The lawsuit filed in Cobb County Superior Court is the latest legal action involving Rogers and one of his former employees, Mye Brindle, who served as Rogers’ housekeeper and then personal assistant from May 2003 until June 2012. Rogers has admitted in court filings to having “infrequent consensual sexual encounters” with Brindle. However, he denies engaging in sexual harassment and claims the woman initially sued as an attempt to extort money.

In his suit filed May 30, Rogers accuses attorneys David Cohen, Hylton Dupree and John Butters of scheming with Brindle to illegally obtain evidence, file false police reports and force Rogers to meet their demands. The attorneys deny the allegations.

“Mr. Rogers’ baseless allegations are an act of desperation,” Dupree told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We will respond in court at the appropriate time.”

Earlier this year, Rogers filed complaints with the State Bar of Georgia against Cohen and Butters, according to documents obtained by The AJC. But the Bar found no violation of the state’s ethics rules and the grievances were dismissed.

In June 2012, Brindle hired the three attorneys to represent her. According to the lawsuit, it was the three attorneys that instructed the woman to record sexual encounters with Rogers.

“As part of their scheme, Defendants decided that a video clearly depicting the sexual encounters would enable them to force Rogers to pay exorbitant sums under the threat that they would disclose publicly the sexual encounters which had occurred between Brindle and Rogers,” the lawsuit states.

In July 2013, a Cobb County Superior Court judge ruled that Brindle may have illegally videotaped the acts with Rogers, stating “the video recording makes it clear that (the woman) was a willing participant in the sexual encounter and is not the victim of sexual battery.”

Cohen previously said he and Butters did not encourage or assist the woman in the videotaping of the sex act, which took place in Rogers’ bedroom. She hired the attorneys on June 6, 2012 and made the video on June 20, 2012.

In Rogers’ most recent suit, he contends he is entitled to damages because his relationship with Brindle was publicized.

“The public disclosure of the sexual relationship between Brindle and Rogers is objectionable and offensive to a reasonable person,” the suit states. “Rogers is therefore entitled to recover compensatory damages, including general damages, in an amount to be proven at trial.

The suit also accuses the three attorneys of racketeering and asks for punitive and compensatory damages for Rogers, who is seeking a jury trial.

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