US$5M Lawsuit Hangs over Royal Hotel

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Ms. Lloa Bass-Golakeh, the daughter of Mr. Fred Bass-Golakeh, is asking the Sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court in Montserrado County, to rule in her favor a US$5 million lawsuit she has brought against the management of the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor.

According to court documents, Ms. Bass-Golakeh said the amount is for the alleged “pain, emotional distress, embarrassment, trauma, humiliation and disgrace suffered and continues to be suffered,” at the hands of the defendants, who include Royal Grand Hotel’s president and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Ezzat Eid, as well as Mr. Joseph Chouity, aged 31.

Chouity, until January 1, 2015, was the Food and Beverage Manager of the hotel. He has since been relieved of his post by the hotel management following the alleged incident.

Management records seen by this newspaper shows that Chouity had signed off from work by 1 a.m. and got allegedly involved in the sexual assault on Ms. Bass-Golakeh two hours later. He was not on active duty when he allegedly committed the act.

29-year-old Lloa, a graduate of Kean University in New Jersey (USA), complained to the court that by 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day, she and three of her friends decided to take pictures while enjoying themselves on the terrace/rooftop of the hotel.

According to court document, as Lloa and her friends stood to take the picture, “she felt a hand go up under her dress, in between her inner thighs, and pulled down her underwear.” She told the court that she immediately turned to see Chouity, the food and beverage manager, seated behind her at the bar, “grinning.”

She further told the court that this alleged action by Chouity has made her suffer “great physical and emotional trauma, embarrassment, humiliation, disgrace and ignominy.”

Speaking with our reporter via mobile late yesterday evening, the owner of the hotel alleged that someone had approached him few days ago in the name of the Bass-Golakehs asking him for US$1 million so that they (Bass-Golakehs) could drop the case, which is already in court before this new suit.

“When I refused to agree to the request, then I received this new lawsuit against the hotel,” he told the Daily Observer.

The police had announced on Tuesday, January 5, that they had charged Chouity and forwarded him to court.

A legal expert, who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, stated that suing for US$5 million in this case could mean that the Bass-Golakehs want to take ownership of the hotel, as it was constructed for US$7million.

The expert further stated that Lloa and her family have virtually abandoned the criminal suit, which is in court. According to him, the action shows that the plaintiff has no interest in seeing justice done.

He also maintained that if Chouity had truly signed off by 1 a.m., then Royal Hotel management can’t be legally held liable for the actions of an off duty employee.

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