NEW YORK (AP) – An aspiring entertainer who sought work as a model with the clothing retailer Barami has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan accusing the company’s head, Bahram Hakakian, of groping her and offering her drugs during a job interview.

Kelly Alexander, 22, says in court papers the offensive behavior occurred Sept. 1, 2004, in Hakakian’s Manhattan office on West 36th Street, where he interviewed her for the modeling position. She says she had been invited to apply after a salesperson saw her in a Barami store two months earlier.

During the interview, court papers say, Hakakian harassed and abused Alexander by refusing to leave the room where she was dressing, offering her wine and illegal drugs, showing her sexually explicit and offensive illustrations on his computer and groping and fondling her buttocks and breasts.

Because Alexander rejected Hakakian’s unwelcome actions, she was not hired, her court papers say.

Alexander is now a health club receptionist and a student at the State University of New York at Buffalo, her lawyer Jack Tuckner said Tuesday.

Alexander’s lawsuit, filed late Monday, names Hakakian, Barami Enterprises Inc., Barami Studio and Barami as defendants. It seeks unspecified monetary compensation for emotional distress and loss of income and punitive damages for Hakakian’s alleged conduct.

Tuckner said his client’s experience shows yet another male, in this case “a powerful international retailer, arrogant and foolish enough to think he can objectify her” and “subject her to sexual behavior.”

Barami lawyer Kenneth Schachter said Tuesday he had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment on it. But he added that Hakakian had denied similar allegations lodged by Alexander in a proceeding earlier this year before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Tuckner said the EEOC proceeding and negotiations concluded in June 2005 without a resolution.


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