Sex assault and harassment allegations against Denver oil tycoon

DENVER - Four women have accused a Denver oil executive of sexual assault and harassment in a counterclaim to a civil lawsuit filed in Douglas County. 

The former employees say 85-year-old Jack Grynberg used his power to gain sexual favors.

Candice Smith, Grynberg’s former executive assistance, says in April of 2015, he brought her into his office bathroom and said “time for you to start repaying me” for the house she says he bought for her and her family. 

Elwyn Schaefer, the attorney representing the women, said Grynberg was referring to “sexual favors." 

The lawsuit claims Grynberg coerced Smith into having sex with him as “leverage” for owning the house he let Smith, her husband, and five kids stay in. 

The lawsuit says the multi-millionaire is now asking for $45,000 in rent from Smith. 

Smith says she tried to reject Grynberg’s sexual advances, but the harassment didn’t stop, and in August of 2016, she learned another employee, Maxine Yzaguirre, claimed Grynberg tried to kiss her after he gave her a bonus check. 

Later in August, a third employee and Maxine’s sister, Roxanne Alvarez, says Grynberg “took her to the employer’s basement so that he could touch her inappropriately and he sexually assaulted her.” 

In December last year, Jack Grynberg was arrested by Denver Police and charged with sexual assault, but the charges were later dropped by the District Attorney’s office. 

Schaefer says when the Denver Post published the arrest of Grynberg last year, another woman called him, saying the same thing happened to her 40 years ago. She is not listed in the lawsuit, but filed an affidavit. 

“One of the things you’re seeing now with the ‘me too’ movement is that the more people come out, the more people follow them,” said Schaefer. 

According to the lawsuit, after Smith was terminated from Grynberg Petroleum Company she filed charges of sex discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

The oil tycoon is also a holocaust survivor who, according to the Jewish National Foundation, donated $1.3 million to create an exhibit in an Israel Museum.  An event planned in his honor is scheduled for Tuesday night, and we are still waiting to hear back from JNF about whether or not it is still happening. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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