No one messes with Kandi Burruss! After The Real Housewives of Atlanta star’s ex-employee Johnnie Winston sued her for not paying overtime wages, she fired back by accusing him of defamation! RadarOnline.com can reveal exclusive details on their bitter court battle.
In the filing obtained from the U.S. District Court for the Northern Division of Georgia, Burruss, 40, is accusing him of attempting to “intentionally malign Defendants’ reputation and harm their reputation and public persona through false and malicious accusations.”
Burruss claims Winston, who owns his own event planning company, tried to gain free publicity by “creating a false story line to stay relevant on the nationally and internationally broadcast cable television show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
The mother-of-two claims he filed his wage lawsuit to coincide with filming the last season of RHOA and that they had a relationship with no complaints for months until RHOA began filming.
“Mr. Winston’s statement were not only slanderous, defamatory and calculated to injure Defendants’ public persona and professional brand, but were also in breach of the Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement signed by Mr. Winston,” the filing continues.
The Bravo star claims he appeared on an episode in relation to an event that occurred in August 2016. Between February 2016 and August 2016, no request for additional pay was made on Winston’s behalf.
The first time she learned that he was unsatisfied with his pay was during filming of RHOA, which was six months after their business relationship ended.
On the episode, she claims she fired him because he “kept dropping the ball,” but she continued to hire his company for events. He became upset because she let him go without having a “closer conversation.”
Later in the episode, which aired on January 8, 2017, he met with her co-star Phaedra Parks to discuss possibly suing her.
He also claimed they planned to open a restaurant together, but that she decided to open one with her husband Todd Tucker instead.
“This isn’t the first time that an idea has been ripped off,” he said on the episode. "Just like the play 'A Mother’s Love.' I came up with the whole concept of the play and they ran with it.”
Burruss claims his comments were made with “actual malice, as Mr. Winston was aware his statements were false and/or had a reckless disregard for their falsity."
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Burruss alleges she “suffered, and are suffering damages, including humiliation, ridicule, hatred, contempt, injury or impairment to their reputation and/or standing in the community and/or embarrassment, which damages will continue to be suffered now and in the future.”
She is demanding a jury trial and damages.
As RadarOnline.com reported, Winston sued Burruss in January for “failure to pay overtime and minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.”
Winston, who served as a studio manager, event planner and production coordinator from August 3, 2013 to February 29, 2016, claims Burruss failed to pay him wages for time spent working in the recording studio, planning events, running errands, preparing meals for events, performing handyman and housekeeping duties, attending meetings, and more.
When his title was changed to event planner in February of 2014, his duties allegedly increased and he was required to work for seven days a week for 20 hours a day.
“Beginning in August 2013 and continuing through his termination on February 29, 2016, Defendants failed to pay Mr. Winston any overtime pay for performing his duties as required by the FLSA,” the filing read. “Defendants failed to pay Mr. Winston the required minimum wage for performing his duties as required by the FLSA.”
Burruss denied the allegations against her and asked the case be dismissed with prejudge.
The Jasmine Brand was the first to report on the countersuit.
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