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Daryl Katz, a Canadian billionaire and owner of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, is reportedly facing allegations that he paid thousands of dollars for “sexual favors” from a ballet dancer who was underage at the time.
The allegations were made in the US District Court in Nevada as part of a third-party counterclaim, CBC News reported Wednesday. The counterclaim was in response to a 2021 lawsuit filed against dance teacher Mitchell Taylor Button and his wife Dusty Button who were accused of sexual abuse. The counterclaim stated Katz had a sexual relationship with ballerina Sage Humphries when she was 17. The business mogul was 53.
The new counterclaim was filed after Taylor Button and his wife filed another counterclaim stating the Buttons were in a so-called “throuple sexual relationship” with Humphries when she was 18. The alleged counterclaim Katz and two other men had sexual relationships with Humphries when she was underage and seeks to hold the men responsible for damages, CBC News reported.
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“Humphries was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire and her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz,” the claim alleged.
CBC News published text messages allegedly exchanged between Humphries and Katz. The NHL owner allegedly texted, “And just between us? Even though ur (sic) wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way.” Humphries allegedly responded “Yes.. just between us.” It was not clear what the context was.
The text chain showed Katz allegedly saying “one of my guys” would send Humphries $50,000. Katz is accused of sending the ballet dancer a total of $75,000.
Robert Klieger, an attorney for Katz, denied the allegations to CBC News, saying the two never had sexual relations, but they did meet two separate times in 2016 after the 17-year-old was pitching to Katz’s film company, Silver Pictures.
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“One of Daryl’s friends connected him with Sage because Sage was working with some producing partners on shopping a motion picture project that they had put together, basically, and it was based in the ballet world,” Klieger told the outlet.
He said he could not verify the texts but said Katz arranged $75,000 to be sent to Humphries, but only for their business dealings.
“They ultimately decided to pass on the project. But during the period of time that the project was under consideration, they asked for some help to keep with the funding of the project to keep it going. And that’s the $75,000 that is at issue, ” he said, adding Katz would defend his reputation against “baseless and scurrilous” claims.
The lawyer for Humphries and the other dancers dismissed the counterclaim as a “meaningless sideshow.”
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An attorney for the Taylor Buttons declined to comment to CBC.