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Blazers Owner Paul Allen Settles Lawsuit Brought By Former Bodyguards

Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has settled a lawsuit brought by his former bodyguards who alleged that Vulcan CEO Jody Allen sexually harassed employees and smuggled giraffe bones out of Africa.


The Associated Press reports that Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has settled a lawsuit that was brought against him and his sister, Jody Allen, by their former bodyguards.

Billionaire Paul Allen and his sister Jody Allen have settled with two people who were in charge of their personal security teams through the Vulcan corporation. Terms of the settlement in early November were not disclosed.

There were accusations of Jody Allen's sexual harassment of the security staff and smuggling and bribery involving African ivory and penguin skulls in Antarctica.

The Allens denied any wrongdoing. Vulcan general counsel Dave Stewart said Tuesday, "Neither Paul Allen nor Jody Allen engaged in any illegal activity."

Levi Pulkkinen of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports additional details.

After two years of bitter litigation, the pair behind Vulcan Inc. - Seattle Seahawks owner and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen and his sister, Jody - have settled with two former security heads who accused their former bosses of smuggling, bribery and sexual harassment.

With unsubstantiated allegations of ivory smuggling and illegal drug use swirling, the Allens and the former heads of their bodyguard detail reached a settlement earlier in November. The settlement, the terms of which neither side was willing to disclose, came as the lawsuit was poised to head to a King County jury late this year.

Pulkkinen's piece is in-depth and fascinating. From Page 2 of the story, here's what Jeff Benoit, one of the bodyguards, and another unnamed bodyguard were alleging.

Another former Vulcan bodyguard, also a retired Navy SEAL, said Jody Allen bought tight, revealing swimsuits for the security detail and asked the men to "do a fashion show." Vulcan contends that any conduct resembling that described was entirely innocent and occured in the spirit of fun.


"I learned from team members that they believed the owners were asking them to participate in criminal conduct on their behalf, including procuring marijuana for Paul Allen, bribing foreign customs officials, smuggling, and brokering deals for the purchase and transport of artifacts outside legal channels," Benoit said in a sworn statement to the court.

Back in October 2011, members of his security team, including a former FBI agent and a Navy Corpsman, filed a lawsuit against Allen and his sister Jody, who serves as Vulcan's CEO. In March 2012, it was revealed that the lawsuit alleged that Paul and Jody Allen ordered the bodyguards to "participate in illegal activities" and Jody was accused of making "inappropriate and sexual comments" to one of the bodyguards. Vulcan maintained that the lawsuit was "baseless."

Back in March 2013, Pulkkinen reported that the "illegal activities" alleged in the suit include an accusation that Jody tried to sneak giraffe bones out of Botswana without following the proper exportation protocol.

Luggage packed with giraffe bones could mean trouble for Vulcan CEO Jody Allen and her brother -- Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner Paul Allen -- as lawsuits filed by the siblings' bodyguards proceed. The allegation - that Jody Allen tried to sneak home the bones while on safari in Botswana - is the most concrete claim made so far by a group of former Vulcan Inc. bodyguards who've sued both Allens and their firm, which was founded by Paul Allen, who remains the company's chairman.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter