Lawsuit by a former bartender at exclusive Rancho Santa Fe country club alleges sexual harassment
A former bartender at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, one of the nation’s most exclusive country clubs, filed a lawsuit alleging that she was subject to sexual harassment during her five years working there.
A complaint filed against the club Aug. 12 in San Diego County Superior Court also includes allegations of failure to provide meal and rest periods, itemized wage statement violations, and breach of contract.
Stephen Gibson, CEO of The Bridges, said via email that the club is taking the allegations “very seriously.”
“The Bridges has engaged a third party to conduct a neutral investigation,” Gibson said. “We cannot comment further on a pending investigation or litigation matter.
Kirsten Tiger, the plaintiff in the case, was 24 when she began working at The Bridges in 2017, according to the complaint. Tiger alleges that she was propositioned for sex and was the target of other sexual misconduct among a few club members and a security guard before resigning in April 2022. She alleges that she reported the allegations to multiple superiors, but no action was taken.
Tyler Belong, an attorney representing Tiger, said she “just wanted to continue to work without being harassed.”
“Our firm believes that all women, like Ms. Tiger, have the right to work in an environment free from harassment on the basis of sex, regardless if it is an exclusive country club comprised of wealthy members,” he said.
One member, Tim Blansett, allegedly offered her up to $30,000 for sex, according to the complaint. Reached by phone, Blansett immediately hung up. His attorney, Courtney L. Baird of Duane Morris, emailed a statement.
“Anyone can make inflammatory allegations of sexual harassment that have no merit,” she said. “My client vehemently denies the allegations made against him in the complaint filed against The Bridges Club at Rancho Santa Fe. We will vigorously defend my client’s reputation and look forward to the truth coming out.”
Another member, Ben Walderman, allegedly sent her texts asking to “hook up” and sent half naked pictures of himself, according to the complaint. The actual texts were not included in the complaint. Attempts to reach Walderman by phone and at a Rancho Santa Fe address listed for him were unsuccessful.
Lorne Abrams, also a member, allegedly asked Tiger if she or her friends needed a sugar daddy, and followed up with a message that he was “totally serious” about the offer, the complaint said. Abrams declined comment.
A security guard at The Bridges, who is not named in the complaint, also allegedly propositioned Tiger and pulled her hair as she got into her car one day, according to the complaint.
Tiger is seeking a jury trial for damages, including wages that she alleges the club still owes her.
The case was assigned to Judge Timothy Taylor, according to the court’s register of actions. A case management conference is scheduled for Jan. 13.
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