Oakland, CA – Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis is being sued by a former team employee who claims he "sexually harassed, intimidated and stalked" her for several months beginning last year, according to court documents.
In addition, Erika Smith is also suing the Warriors for failure to prevent harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of distress, among other charges.
In the suit, filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court, Smith claims she suffered emotional distress because of the harassment, which included unprompted texts from Ellis, including a picture of the player's genitals.
Smith was fired from her job as director of community relations on August 5, nine days after she told the Warriors a reporter contacted her about Ellis, according to the suit.
She alleges that Ellis harassed her with non-work related text messages using a "secret" cellular telephone kept by the team's equipment manager and billed to the player's grandmother.
At least 61 texts were passed back and forth between November 17-December 16, 2010, with Smith reluctantly replying to messages sent by Ellis that included "I want to be with you" and "Hey Sexy."
Smith was told on December 16 by the Warriors that Ellis complained about her work performance, leading to a warning directed at her. The next day, Smith received a picture message on her phone from Ellis of a man's genitalia, which the player said was his.
The suit says Smith worried that complaints to the Warriors would be ignored and Ellis would be protected as a franchise player. Fearing retaliation, she believed she needed to "humor" Ellis, according to the suit.
Also named as defendants were Warriors co-executive chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, general manager Larry Riley and human resources director Erika Brown.
According to the suit, Smith claims the team has "condoned, encouraged and/or ratified" other instances of sexual harassment. Among them, the Golden State Warriors Girls were made to perform for Lacob and his golfing friends.
She says the Warriors covered up or swept under the rug other allegations of sexual harassment.
Ellis is entering his seventh NBA season, all with the Warriors. He averaged 24.1 points and 5.6 assists in 80 games last season.
In her suit, Smith alleges that Ellis' wife called her to tell her she knew about the player's "secret" phone. She says Juanika Ellis went to the Warriors and told executives she wanted Smith fired.
Smith alleges the Warriors waited until after a game against the Lakers about a week later to tell Monta Ellis of his wife's knowledge of the situation, not wanting to ruin a big game.
On January 13, Smith was accused by team officials of texting Ellis during off-work hours. She says she was pushed into a wall by Juanika Ellis in the tunnel during a game.
Smith was encouraged to resign in mid-February or take money, according to the suit, which called the offer a bribe. The Warriors took away any of Smith's work assignments that included Monta Ellis.
Smith said she suffered a heart-related issue on March 18 due to the stress of the situation.