Home / Trending / 5 Women Accuse the Architect Richard Meier of Sexual Harassment

5 Women Accuse the Architect Richard Meier of Sexual Harassment

In 2009, all over her first week as Mr. Meier’s 24-year-old assistant, Laura Trimble Elbogen mentioned that the architect, who was once then 75, invited her to his condominium to rejoice her new task. When she arrived, she mentioned, he introduced her a tumbler of wine, confirmed her images of bare girls he had taken after which requested her to undress.

She declined, left the condominium and mentioned not anything as a result of, she mentioned, she was once too intimidated and apprehensive about maintaining her task.

“The incident felt shameful and embarrassing, even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong,” she mentioned in an interview. “I was worried about my co-workers and what would happen to their reputations if Mr. Meier’s behavior was exposed. Speaking up didn’t feel like an option.”

But she in the long run did divulge her enjoy to control, she mentioned, after she was once later laid off in what the corporate described to her as a downsizing.

Management additionally heard from Alexis Zamlich, a 22-year-old communications assistant, who reported that Mr. Meier uncovered himself all over her seek advice from to his condominium that very same yr. Ms. Zamlich is alleged to have won a $150,000 felony agreement that required the company to carry sexual harassment coaching.

Ms. Zamlich is barred through a confidentiality settlement from discussing the instances of her departure, however two other folks acquainted with her grievance and the corporate’s reaction — together with the former leader working officer — described the outlines of the agreement.

Ms. Zamlich, they mentioned, were requested to paintings at Mr. Meier’s condominium each Friday to lend a hand with the architect’s collages, which integrated pictures of feminine genitalia.

According to her account, after a number of weeks, Mr. Meier pulled down his pants in entrance of Ms. Zamlich, who briefly departed. The subsequent day, she met with a couple of different girls at the company, reported what had took place after which instructed the companions.

Scott Johnson, who served as leader working officer at the company between 2003 and 2010, showed that he handled Ms. Zamlich’s and Ms. Elbogen’s proceedings. “We did everything we could to look into the claims and set up a strong sexual harassment policy and training,” Mr. Johnson mentioned, “which everyone, including Richard, participated in.”

Richard Meier & Partners is thought of as one of the international’s main structure companies, with distinguished initiatives like the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Jubilee Church in Rome. Mr. Meier based the company in 1963, and in 1984 he was the youngest recipient of the Pritzker, structure’s easiest honor.

“In his search for clarity,” the Pritzker jury mentioned in its quotation, “and his experiments in balancing light, forms, and space, he has created works that are personal, vigorous, original.”

In Mr. Meier’s absence, the company mentioned Tuesday that 4 affiliate companions would set up daily operations of the New York headquarters: Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Bernhard Karpf and Dukho Yeon. Michael Palladino, a spouse and head of the corporate’s Los Angeles administrative center, will oversee all of the company’s operations and initiatives.

“We believe,” Mr. Palladino mentioned in a commentary, “that women should feel comfortable and empowered in all workplaces – including ours.”

Mr. Meier was once lengthy recognized to were flirtatious, however the girls’s accounts paint a darker image of a person who confused girls at the same time as he signed directly to in style feminist reasons, like a petition to honor a girl, Denise Scott Brown, who many assume was once unfairly denied a proportion of the Pritzker gained through her husband, Robert Venturi.

“He was always chasing women, and nothing stopped him,” mentioned Lisetta Koe, a former communications supervisor for the company. “He made an attempt to come on to me, and I turned him down.”

Stella Lee mentioned in an interview that Ms. Koe warned her about Mr. Meier when she got to work for him in 2000. “Ms. Koe told me that if anything were to happen, I should write two copies of a letter detailing the incident, and to mail one to myself so that I have an unopened postmarked copy should I have to prove the veracity of the date and the details of the abuse,” Ms. Lee recalled.

Photo



Stella Lee, left, and Alexis Zamlich, two of the girls who say they have been sexually confused through Richard Meier.

Credit
Gabriela Herman for The New York Times

Having adopted this recommendation, Ms. Lee mentioned, she saved the letter till a couple of years in the past. “I felt resigned to put this away and forget about it forever,” she mentioned.

What Ms. Lee mentioned she detailed in writing was once arriving at the architect’s condominium to seek out him dressed in just a blue terry fabric bathrobe that was once open in entrance, exposing his penis.

“I was petrified when I saw that,” Ms. Lee recalled. “I tried to channel my panic by focusing on the work, but over the course of the day he made several inappropriate suggestions of which a colleague had warned me — that I try taking a sauna in his bathroom, asking if I liked saunas.”

She deflected and the subsequent day instructed her manager that she not sought after to paintings by myself with Mr. Meier at his house. She mentioned her manager didn’t ask for to any extent further main points.

The manager instructed The Times that she didn’t recall the incident. Ms. Lee mentioned she thought of leaving however had made pals and loved the paintings. “It was my first job out of college,” she mentioned, “and I wanted to follow through and see where it would lead me. I felt that it would have been extremely unfair if I were to leave because of his bad behavior.”

Judi Shade Monk mentioned she additionally were warned about Mr. Meier’s advances after beginning paintings at the company at the age of 26 in 2003. “A couple of people at different levels said, ‘Just don’t stay in the office late by yourself,’” she mentioned.

Then at the administrative center vacation celebration about two months later, she mentioned, whilst guiding Ms. Monk over to satisfy two distinguished architects Mr. Meier moved his hand from the small of her backpedal to her in the back of, the place he performed along with her thong lingerie via her get dressed.

“He started to roll my underwear around in his fingers,” Ms. Monk recalled. “One of the more senior members saw it happen and asked if I was O.K.”

Carol Vena-Mondt, a furnishings clothier who didn’t paintings for the structure company, mentioned that she had an scary enjoy with Mr. Meier in the 1980s in Los Angeles, the place he was once designing the Getty Center, which is lately celebrating its 20th anniversary with occasions like ultimate Saturday’s Family Festival (“make a crown inspired by Richard Meier’s design”).

Mr. Meier invited Ms. Vena-Mondt to a cocktail party at his place of abode, she mentioned, however she became out to be the simplest visitor. After dessert, Ms. Vena-Mondt mentioned that Mr. Meier forcefully attempted to kiss her, and she or he went to go away. “He grabbed me from the back with both of his arms — and he’s a big man — and started pulling me backward,” Ms. Vena-Mondt mentioned. “I twisted and pulled clear of him, and he grabbed one of my palms and began dragging me down the hallway towards the bed room. I used to be digging in my heels looking to lean again.

“He pushes me on the bed and lays down on top of me while I’m twisting and pushing him away and saying, ‘No, no, no,’” she persevered. “I’d never had anything like this happen. I was pretty aggressive about telling him no, but he wasn’t listening.”

She mentioned she in the end broke unfastened, ran to her automotive and locked all the doorways. “Then he was right at the window: ‘Come on, come back in,’ she said. “I got the car started, got to the bottom of the long driveway, stopped and just sat there in my car crying and shaking.”

She didn’t document the incident, she mentioned, as a result of she felt afraid. “I didn’t want to offend him,” Ms. Vena-Mondt, now 70, mentioned. “That’s the era I was raised in.”

In 2004, she in the end instructed her good friend Jim Isermann once they visited Mr. Meier’s Atheneum in New Harmony, Ind., on one of their architectural street journeys.

“We put 7,000 miles on a rental, and we talked about everything,” Mr. Isermann mentioned in an interview. “I was horrified.”

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