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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Nightmare Story About ‘A-List’ Trainer

SANTA MONICA (CN) - A luxury apartment complex advertised its spa manager as a trainer to "Hollywood 'A-list' celebrities and star athletes," despite his criminal conviction and sordid history, an alleged victim claims in court.

Elizabeth V. sued Gregory Isaacs, Palazzo Westwood Village and Casden Property Co., in Superior Court.

She claims Isaacs' employers "knew they had a dangerous sexual predator employed as the manager of the gym and as a fitness instructor," but gave him "unfettered access to unsuspecting women under the guise of providing fitness training."

She says in the complaint that during a gym session, Isaacs offered to help stretch her legs, then straddled her, "digitally penetrated" her and forced her into "oral copulation."

She says she was a resident at Palazzo Westwood Village, which touts itself as "Southern California's most luxurious rental community" with a "state of the art fitness center," the complaint states.

"Isaacs was the on-site manager of the workout facility and also acted as the fitness trainer for tenants at the complex," the complaint states. "In defendants' promotional and marketing materials, defendants described Isaacs to potential and current tenants as being 'one of the most recognized voices of fitness' who has trained a number of Hollywood 'A-list' celebrities and star athletes like Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Defendants described Isaacs as a top-notch, professional trainer with an unblemished reputation."

Palazzo "touted Isaacs and the health spa he managed as one of the primary benefits a tenant would receive by living at the apartment complex," the complaint states.

"Isaacs, however, had a long history of sexually assaulting women and had a prior criminal sexual assault conviction on his records," according to the complaint. "Isaacs had established a pattern of assaulting women by using his position as a fitness trainer to gain their trust and compliance."

According to the complaint, Isaacs was charged with felony crimes in 2006 and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge in connection with this incident: "In 2006, 'Lauren' was a member at Equinox and took a spinning class taught by Isaacs. After one class, Lauren asked Isaacs for advice about an upcoming triathlon. Isaacs offered to loan her a special bike she could use for the triathlon. He invited her to come to his house to look at the bike. Later that evening Lauren went with a female friend to Isaacs' home. Isaacs showed her the bike and then offered to stretch her in his garage (which he used as a workout room). While stretching Lauren, Isaacs put his hands underneath her clothing and touched her vagina. He acted as if nothing happened. Then he put his finger in her vagina."

The complaint calls "Lauren" Isaacs' "female victim No. 5."

Elizabeth V. claims Palazzo "never conducted a criminal background check on Isaacs. Had they done so, they would easily have discovered the 2006 sexual battery conviction."

The 30-page complaint describes incidents involving alleged "female victims" 1 through 8, all of which occurred before Isaacs assaulted her, Elizabeth V. says. Victims 7 and 8 were both employed by the defendants, according to the complaint.

Elizabeth V. claims that Isaacs' history of sexual assault dates back to 1990 when he used the prospect of meeting Sylvester Stallone to lure a woman, "Tara," victim No. 1, to his apartment.


Isaacs "picked Tara up on the pretext of taking her to the gym to meet Stallone; instead he made an excuse to go to his apartment in Century City," according to the complaint." Once there, he told Tara he needed to take a shower. He entered the bathroom, but exited a short time later dressed only in a towel. He then approached Tara, pushed her down, and forced her to perform oral sex on him."

Isaacs sexually assaulted victims Nos. 2 and 3 on separate occasions at the Warner Bros. Studio gym, according to the complaint. He offered victim No. 2 a free training lesson, during which he touched her breasts, buttocks and vagina while she "was working out or was in a compromising workout position," Elizabeth V. says.

He allegedly offered victim No. 3 a massage and then "proceeded to pull down (her) shorts down while she was lying face down on the floor," the complaint states. The woman "was scared and noticed Isaacs had an erection," and left the gym, according to the complaint.

He assaulted victim 4 in 2004 at his own gym, Greg Isaacs 360, in Brentwood, the complaint states: "Isaacs approached Katheryn and offered to stretch her. While helping her stretch, Isaacs repeatedly grunted and groaned (in a sexual manner) which made Katheryn extremely uncomfortable. Isaacs then placed his hand within an inch of her vagina. Katheryn abruptly ended the session and left."

Victim No. 6 was a personal trainer, "Ms. H," who "set up a meeting with Isaacs to discuss a potential business venture" in 2008, the complaint states.

It continues: "She met him at his home in Brentwood. During the meeting, Isaacs learned that Ms. H had a hip problem and he offered to help her with stretching. While stretching her, Isaacs pulled Ms. H's pants down to her ankles and then brushed her vagina with his hands. Ms. H immediately got up and left."

Victims Nos. 7 and 8 were both Palazzo employees, Elizabeth V. says.

Victim No. 7, "Lisa Y.[,] was a vice president employed by defendants at that time," the complaint states. "Around August 2008, about two months after Isaacs was hired, Isaacs began to sexually harass Lisa by repeatedly asking if she had a boyfriend, if she would go on a date with him, and if she would be his girlfriend. Lisa told Isaacs his behavior was inappropriate because they were co-workers and she viewed it as harassing. Isaacs continued to pester and harass Lisa. He tried to massage her shoulders several times. Each time he tried, Lisa would move away and tell him to stop," the complaint states.

Victim No. 8 was Bridget M., the on-site property manager for the apartment complex, according to the complaint.

"The most serious assault was remarkably similar to what Isaacs would do to plaintiff," the complaint states. "One day in 2008, Isaacs told Bridget she looked tense and offered to help her stretch. Trusting Isaacs because of his credentials and reputation and because he was the manager of the health spa at the complex, Bridget allowed him to help her stretch. As he stretched her in his office, Isaacs intentionally and blatantly touched and groped Bridget's vagina. She told Isaacs to leave. Bridget, despite having an obligation to do so, failed to immediately report this serious sexual assault by Isaacs."


The complaint adds: "Around spring 2009, Lisa Y. and Bridget M. were discussing staffing issues and Isaacs' name came up. Both then shared certain sexually harassing events or comments that Isaacs had done or said. However, Bridget did not tell Lisa about the serious physical assaults. Lisa decided to report Isaacs to her supervisor.

"In April 2009, Lisa reported Isaacs' misconduct to defendants' Vice President Marisa Hanke. Lisa told Hanke about Isaacs' behavior toward Bridget also. Hanke, in turn, warned Isaacs about his sexually harassing behavior. Specifically, Hanke warned Isaacs he was not to sexually harass staff members or co-workers. Hanke also told Isaacs he was not to have tenants inside his office at the fitness center at any time."

But Isaacs began harassing Lisa and Bridget again in July 2009, and Lisa reported his behavior to Hanke, the complaint states.

"Marisa Hanke did nothing more than warn Isaacs again about his behavior and had him attend a sexual harassment class," according to the complaint.

Elizabeth V. says she moved into the Palazzo in August 2009 and used the fitness facility two to three times a week, but had little interaction with Isaacs until the day he assaulted her.

According to the complaint: "On January 18, 2010, plaintiff was working out at the Palazzo gym when Isaacs approached her and offered to show her some stretching exercises. Isaacs started showing plaintiff some stretching exercises, but then told her the gym was getting too crowded and asked her to come to his office (in the gym) so they could have more room. Once inside the office, Isaacs had plaintiff lie face down on a mat. Isaacs began stretching plaintiff's legs by lifting them up. Isaacs then began massaging plaintiff's back and then suddenly pulled plaintiff's pants down to her ankles. He straddled plaintiff such that his weight was on top of her body. He then digitally penetrated plaintiff several times and otherwise sexually assaulted her several times, including forced oral copulation. Isaacs did this in a violent manner, causing plaintiff to bleed. Plaintiff was finally able to break free and ram from the office and the gym. Plaintiff was crying and was hysterical. Plaintiff immediately reported the sexual assault to the complex and to the police, who arrived on the scene and arrested Isaacs."

Elizabeth V. says she told Bridget and Marisa Hanke all the details of the incident.

"Of course, both employees were well aware of their own history with Isaacs. Soon thereafter, Bridget then told both Lisa Y. and Marisa Hanke about the physical sexual assaults that Isaacs perpetrated upon her," the complaint states.

Unbeknownst to Elizabeth V., Bridget told the police about her interactions with Isaacs and became a key witness in his criminal case, according to the complaint. Elizabeth V. says she didn't find out until later about Isaacs assaulting Bridget and being disciplined for it.

In late January 2010, Elizabeth V. says, she learned about Isaacs' prior criminal conviction. She talked to the investigating detective about filing a lawsuit. The detective and the deputy district attorney told her that a lawsuit could jeopardize the criminal case and she should wait until it was over, Elizabeth V. says.

"In one of her conversations with Bridget in late January or early February 2010, plaintiff asked Bridget if she knew about Isaacs' prior criminal conviction. Bridget expressed surprise and said she did not know about it. Plaintiff asked Bridget if she knew of any other complaints and Bridget said she did not. Plaintiff then told Bridget she was considering a lawsuit against Isaacs and also against Palazzo because she thought Palazzo hired him knowing about his prior criminal record for sexual assault," the complaint states.

Elizabeth V. says she told Bridget that the prosecutor said she should file her lawsuit after the criminal case ended, and asked Bridget what Palazzo intended to do about the situation.

After speaking with her supervisor, "Bridget told plaintiff that both she and the Palazzo were cooperating with the authorities to help convict Isaacs. (But Bridget still did not disclose that she had been one of Isaacs' victims.)," the complaint states. "Bridget told plaintiff that her supervisor was also well aware of the situation and both agreed that plaintiff could and should wait until the criminal case was over before she sued anyone. Bridget said words to the effect, 'We are in this together. Don't let Isaacs get away with what he did. Don't jeopardize the criminal case. We never knew about Isaacs' prior conviction. We never had any problems with him here. Just let the criminal case run its course.'"

The complaint adds: "Defendants lulled plaintiff into a false sense of security by misrepresenting the true facts and making plaintiff believe that she could and should wait until the criminal case was over before exploring even the possibility of a lawsuit. Defendants never told plaintiff that the statute of limitations on certain causes of action could run well before the criminal case ended, yet assured her that she was doing the right thing by waiting until the criminal case was over.

"Had Bridget told plaintiff about Isaacs' history of misconduct while employed with defendants, plaintiff would have consulted a lawyer much sooner than she did."

Elizabeth V. says she did not meet with a lawyer about her lawsuit until the fall of 2012, after Isaacs had been sentenced to jail.

She claims that "defendants are equitably estopped from asserting that plaintiff's claims are untimely because defendants, acting through their representative property manager, knew the true facts; made misrepresentations bearing on the necessity of bringing a timely suit; intended its words and conduct would be acted upon; plaintiff was ignorant of the true state of facts at the time; and plaintiff reasonably relied thereon in delaying commencement of the lawsuit."

Elizabeth V. seeks punitive damages for sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, civil rights violations and negligence.

She is represented by David Ring with Taylor & Ring in Los Angeles.

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