Suit: Raunchy Wall Street CEO Offers to Make Young Employee 'Cumm,' Sends Her His Jerk-Off Video, Fires Her
"I wanna make u cumm like u never had is that a bad thing I know ul love it," Thomas Guerriero, CEO and president of Guerriero Wealth Holdings Inc., texted Karen Lo, 20, this past February 2, Lo's sex-discrimination suit claims.
When she tried to fend off his messages by saying she had a boyfriend and wanted to keep her relationship with Guerriero professional, the suit says, Guerriero subsequently texted her: "His lil dick please don't make me touch myself thinking bou u lol at least feel me close."
Guerriero, the founder and principal of the firm, also sent her a video showing a man masturbating to ejaculation, the suit says, and later indicated to her that he was the man in the video.
That was just part of what Lo's suit describes as an "assaultive barrage" of text messages and the video and of actual touching, all of this taking place in the firm's offices at 110 Wall Street.
"Guerriero had no compunction about emailing repulsive pornography and obscene text messages to a 19-year-old who idolized him for his financial prowess," Lo's attorney, Jack Tuckner, tells the Voice. "Like a rich kid spoiled rotten, he's saying, 'I'm so powerful and entitled, I act on every sexual impulse I have, without shame, fear or empathy for my victims.' "
"The allegations are entirely without merit," says Brian King, an attorney for Guerriero. "This was not sexual harassment. There was some flirtation going on between her and Mr. Guerriero, but this was not sexual harassment."
King contends that it was Lo who instigated sexual discussions between herself and other men in the office in order to trap them into saying things. "My client intends to defend this action vigorously," says King. "Her comments are manufactured in order to gain unwarranted financial windfall."
Lo, a student at SUNY-Stony Brook, was hired in October 2009 as an entry-level stockbroker, working for the firm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays.
She "aspired to emulate Guerriero's professional trajectory," her suit says. But the barrage began immediately. She fended off every advance, saying she wanted to keep things "professional."
"I tried to keep everything he did separate from my work, because it really was my dream," she tells the Voice. "It was really uncomfortable, but, at the end of the day, it was really my dream job . . . because I guess he would be like the shepherd leading me to wealth and success."
With a few nightmares thrown in, according to her suit. Even after she stopped replying to his texts, the suit says, he continued to text her. He also touched her legs and left a Post-It note with a sexual message on her desk, says Tuckner. Subsequently, the suit says, she got this text message from him: "I know deep down u are curious how I could feel lol I love touching ur legs when ur near me ur sexy . . . I had a dream about u it was so real lol."
In another example cited in the suit, when Lo sent her boss an email with a link to a news story about Wall Street bonuses, he wrote her back a note in which he said that he was thinking of her when he was drunk at a spa the previous night, and that he wanted to record and send her "another video," but "wasn't sure" how much she liked the last one. "I would like to try to keep things professional still," the desperate Lo replied.
Lo, under what the suit calls "severe emotional and psychological distress," sought counseling. In mid-February, she was fired.
Guerriero Wealth Holdings describes itself on the web as specializing in "trading and investment strategies for high net-worth individuals, professional investors, hedge funds, money managers, and institutional investors."
Guerriero's bio says he is a former senior vice president at First Union National Bank, now part of Wachovia. Guerriero Wealth Holdings boasts an internship program, a fellowship program, and a "Guerriero Institute of Finance."
In the promotional material, there's a clear emphasis on recruiting young brokers. "Mr. Guerriero's unique ability to recruit, train, and mentor service professionals has made his training and development program one of the best in the industry," the site says.
In a 2005 profile of Guerriero in Black Tie International, headlined "Leading the Way to Wall Street's New Era," he's quoted as saying, "I believe the most successful people in this industry are the ones that refuse to be satisfied. And are willing to go that extra mile to set a new standard of excellence."