Shelly Sterling, the ex-wife of disgraced former Clippers owner Donald, is denying she fired longtime employees after she complained about asbestos exposure.
As we first reported, earlier this week, Shelly and her company Beverly Hills Properties (BHP) are being sued by four former employees Dean Seagal, Sean Douglas, Alberto Carlos, and Juan Cuevas.
Shelly runs BHP and Donald has a stake in the business. The former employees accuse Shelly and the company of wrongful termination. The four men all worked at The Ambassador Towers in Los Angeles.
Dean worked at the building as a Chief Engineer since 1999. He started working for Shelly after she bought the building in 2002. He says he was wrongfully terminated on October 6, 2020.
He claims it happened after he complained about unsafe work conditions and the presence of “disturbed asbestos.” Sean Douglas worked at the building since 2007. He said he was also fired on October 6 after he complained about the working conditions. Alberto was a janitor who worked at the property since 1999.
He claims he was let go on the same day, but he also raised concerns about the lack of PPE equipment. The men claim they first became aware of the building’s alleged issue in April 2020.
They claim Shelly and her company greatly delayed telling them and other tenants about the alleged asbestos issue. Once she did, the ex-employees claim she told the residents the asbestos was “stable” and wouldn’t cause any harm.
In September 2020, the men say Shelly arrived at the building with a team along with representatives from a new management company.
The former Mrs. Donald Sterling reportedly told the employees the building was underperforming and the new managers were taking over. As a result, the plaintiffs say they were terminated after decades of work.
Shelly’s attorney says the decision to let the employees go came after Shelly and BHP decided to bring in the new management company.
He says, “The third party property manager assumed management of the building and interviewed all of the existing building staff. The professional property management company determined which employees should be hired to continue working at the building.”
The lawyer claims two of the four men suing were offered jobs but declined. He also claims none of the four employees “had any meaningful interaction with Rochelle or Donald Sterling, neither of whom was involved in the day-to-day management of the Irolo property.”
In regard to the alleged asbestos in the building, the lawyer says the employees were well aware of it before they were terminated.
He says, “Asbestos in a building of this age is common and presented no risk to any employees or tenants. Highly qualified asbestos professionals were consulted regarding the remediation plan and remediation is being undertaken and coordinated with the State of California.”
He ended, “The Sterling Family Trust will vigorously defend the claims and demonstrate the falsity of those claims.”