Who is R. Bruce Dye?
R. Bruce Dye is a well-known Fort Wayne entrepreneur who has founded several companies, notably Heritage Food Service Group, Inc., and Hotel Fitness. According to state records, Dye is one of the top donors to the Indiana State Republican Party, having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent election cycles. He was first the defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit by Kathy Gonya, Dye’s former executive assistant at his company, Brigadoon Financial, Inc. dba Brigadoon Fitness. Gonya filed the suit in late 2014, after claiming she was terminated from the company due to reporting incidences of sexual abuse and misconduct. Dye filed a counter suit to combat the allegations claiming that he and Gonya shared a consensual sexual relationship for several years.
Who is the Plaintiff?
The new lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in May 2015 by Marilyn K. Lahr. Lahr is the sister of Kathy Gonya, who was also appointed president of Dye’s Brigadoon Financial, Inc. in October 2012. She is a trial attorney who received her J.D. from Southern Methodist University, and currently operates a law practice in Fort Wayne.
What is the Lawsuit Alleging?
According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Lahr’s current suit accuses Dye himself of assault and battery, and his company Brigadoon Financial of negligent supervision and training, negligent retention, breach of contract, sexual harassment, and sexual retaliation. Lahr is also alleging that Dye groped her and attempted to enter her hotel room by force while they were on a business trip together in New Orleans.
What are the Next Steps?
Currently, Dye has retained Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steven Shine, a partner of Shine & Hardin, LLP, to defend him from the claims in both lawsuits. Through the counter suit against Gonya, Dye is seeking $1 million in damages both for himself and his company, Brigadoon Financial, and claims that Gonya attempted to extort him through her lawyer before the original suit was filed. According to a statement from Shine, the claims in Lahr’s and Gonya’s lawsuits are completely unfounded, and Dye is will continue to defend himself in court against them.