Erika Ross Smith Says Warriors Monta Ellis Sent Dirty Texts - NBC Bay Area

Erika Ross Smith Says Warriors Monta Ellis Sent Dirty Texts

Erika Ross Smith alleges that the team covered up its star guard sending explicit text messages.



    Erika Smith tells her story to the press. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011)

    A former Golden State Warriors' employee is suing the team and Monta Ellis for sexual harassment.

    Erika Ross Smith alleges that Ellis sexually harassed her from November 2010 to January 2011 with a series of text messages and explicit pictures.

    Smith filed a lawsuit with her attorney Burton F. Boltuch at the Superior Court of Alameda County in Oakland on Wednesday morning.

    Read legal complaint here.

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    The Warriors' star guard allegedly texted Smith several times a day from a "secret" cell phone, according to court documents.

    The documents allege that Ellis informed Smith that the phone was being taken care of by the team's equipment manager and that the bills were being sent in his grandmother's name.

    The texts included a graphic image that Boltuch called "disgusting" and several phrases, such as "Hey sexy" and "I want to be with you."

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    From Nov. 17, 2010 to Dec. 16. 2010 Ellis allegedly sent at least 61 test messages to Smith, according to court records.

    Boltuch said his client rejected Ellis' advances and eventually Smith's job description was changed by the Warriors after Ellis complained about Smith's performance to the team.

    The suit alleges that after the complaint was filed, Ellis sent "a picture of the genitalia of an African-American male" via text message saying it was his.

    Eventually Ellis' wife, Juanika Amos Ellis, found out about the texts and confronted Smith directly, according to the court documents.

    The lawsuit also alleges that the team ultimately fired Smith to avoid dealing with a potential sexual harassment lawsuit. She had worked with the team for almost four years.

    The suit names Ellis, the Warriors, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and General Manager Larry Riley and the team's executive director of human resources, Erika Brown, all as defendants.

    Juanika Amos Ellis is six years older than Monta Ellis and she previously worked as a police officer in Memphis. The couple have two children together.

    The Warriors denied Smith's charges Wednesday but acknowledged that Ellis and the team's former employee had a relationship.

    "When we were made aware of a consensual relationship between Mr. Ellis and the Plaintiff, we did what an organization should do," Warriors President & COO Rick Welts said in a statement. "We told both to stop – promptly, directly and fairly. The Warriors have never taken any action against the Plaintiff for any inappropriate reason, and we deny the allegations she is making."

    Boltuch said his client was unhappy with the Warriors' response.

    "We are very upset that the Warriors are now saying it was consensual," Boltuch said in a statement. "That is an absurd position."

    Welts went on to say that the team will "vigorously defend" the reputation of the Warriors and that the team would have no further comment.