Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz is denying allegations made against him in a civil lawsuit claiming he paid an underage ballerina tens of thousands of dollars for sex.
Katie Strang of The Athletic reported on Thursday that Katz was named as a third-party defendant in a civil lawsuit claiming the Oilers owner paid in excess of $75,000 to a teenage ballerina in exchange for sexual services.
The civil suit, which was filed earlier in July in Nevada on behalf of several ballerinas, according to Strang, alleges the young dancers were sexually abused by dance teacher Mitchell Taylor Button and his wife, Dusty Button. The latter was a popular ballerina and former principal member of the Boston Ballet.
The Buttons filed a counterclaim shortly after, saying both Mitchell and Dusty were in a consensual "throuple" relationship with plaintiff Sage Humphries which didn't start until she turned 18. Katz, however, is listed in the counterclaim as one of three "much older men" to allegedly have been involved in sexual relations with Humphries when she was underage.
“Billionaire Daryl Allan Katz paid Sage at least $75,000.00 for her sexual favors while she remained underage. Humphries was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire, and her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz,” part of the claim reads, per the Edmonton Journal.
The Buttons included photos of alleged texts between Katz and Humphries in which the billionaire Oilers owner indicated he would send Humphries money in two separate installments of $50,000 and $25,000. In the alleged messages attributed to Katz, he repeatedly stressed how the relationship needed to remain secret.
"And just between us? Even though u r wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way,” one text reads. The alleged messages do not specify what the money is for.
The allegations have been refuted by Katz’s legal team, who claim the money exchange was a business transaction regarding a film project Humphries was pitching to Katz. Robert Klieger, legal counsel for Katz, provided comment, saying that his client will defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the suit.
"One of Daryl's friends connected him with Sage because Sage was working with some producing partners on shopping a motion picture project that they had put together, basically, and it was based in the ballet world," Klieger said, according to the CBC.
“Daryl Katz denies the allegations against him by Mitchell Taylor Button and Dusty Button without reservation. There has never been a sexual relationship of any kind between Mr. Katz and Ms. Humphries," said Klieger in his statement to The Athletic.
“Critically, the allegations against Mr. Katz are not being made by Ms. Humphries. The accusations are instead being made by the Buttons, who Ms. Humphries and six other women have accused of exploiting their position of power and influence in the dance world to sexually abuse young dancers across the country. Mr. Katz has never met the Buttons, and their false accusations against him are a transparent and pathetic attempt to distract attention from the abhorrent acts with which they stand charged.”
A lawyer for Humphries also denied that Katz ever paid her for sex, per the Edmonton Journal.
The NHL released a statement on Thursday, saying it is “in the process of looking into the matter.”
“Mr. Katz has advised us that he categorically denies the allegations,” the league wrote.
NHL statement on allegations against Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz: pic.twitter.com/GMMdXFX3wU
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) July 21, 2022
As Strang noted in her report, Katz has been accused of paying for sex previously. According to claims from a 2017 defamation suit, model and actress Greice Santo detailed how Katz offered her money in exchange for sex during a magazine photoshoot.
Katz has owned the Oilers since 2008. None of the allegations made as part of the lawsuit have been proven in court.
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