Watch CBS News

Flight Attendant Says Billionaire Taubman Groped, Harassed Her

BLOOMFIELD HILLS (WWJ) - Detroit area shopping mall mogul and philanthropist Alfred Taubman is facing some shocking allegations in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by a former flight attendant on his private plane.

Nicole Rock claims in her suit that, while working for six years for the billionaire real estate developer, she was forced to endure "horrific acts" in a pattern of abuse.

Among the worst of the allegations, Rock claims Taubman pushed her down on the bed in the plane's cabin and attempted oral sex. She also says Taubman, on multiple occasions, kissed her and groped her private parts against her will, intentionally ripping her pantyhose and blouse. He also, she said, asked intimate questions about her sex life.

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the complaint - (Note: This .pdf document contains content of a graphic sexual nature).

So, why didn't Rock tell anyone until now?

Her attorney, Tom Warnicke, says she did.

"She complained repeatedly, it's my understanding, to her direct supervisor at the company, and she also complained directly to  Mr. Taubman," Warnicke told WWJ's Sandra McNeil.  "The response was, essentially, that nothing was done and nothing could be done because he was in charge of the company and he owned the company."

Warnicke said the alleged abuse grew increasingly worse over the six-year period. "When Mr. Taubman became aware that my client was pregnant he told her that she should get an abortion, and that's alleged in the complaint," Warnicke said.

Rock said she was eventually left with no choice but to resign in early 2011.

She is seeking $29 million for discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination in the lawsuit filed in Detroit federal court. Warnicke said that is about 1 percent of Taubman's worth.

Taubman spokesman Chris Tennyson told WWJ the allegations are not true. He said Taubman will address the complaint through the appropriate legal channels.

Taubman is 88 years old. In 2002 he served a 10-month prison sentence in a price-fixing case involving Sotheby's auction house.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.