A Tennessee woman filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing James Dolan, chairman of Madison Square Garden and governor of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, of pressuring her into unwanted sex nearly a decade ago while also facilitating an encounter with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who she also claimed sexually assaulted her.
In the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California and obtained by ESPN, Kellye Croft says she was 27 and working as a licensed massage therapist when she met Dolan in fall 2013 while on a tour with a rock band, the Eagles. (Dolan’s band, JD & The Straight Shot, opened for the Eagles during the tour.)
During one encounter, the lawsuit alleges, Dolan became “extremely assertive, and pressured Ms. Croft into unwanted sexual intercourse with him.” In subsequent encounters, the lawsuit alleges, Croft was summoned to Dolan’s room, where he made “unwelcome advances toward Ms. Croft, and she felt obligated to submit to sex with him.”
Croft alleged that in January 2014, Dolan helped arrange for her to travel to Los Angeles to join the tour. There, Croft alleged, she met Weinstein at The Beverly Hills Hotel where Dolan was paying for her to stay. Weinstein, she alleged, introduced himself as one of Dolan’s “best friends,” then asked whether she was the massage therapist that Dolan had mentioned and previously praised.
She accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her at the hotel, after which she informed Dolan, who allegedly responded by telling her that Weinstein was “a troubled person” with “serious issues.” The incident predated Weinstein being convicted for years of sexual abuse following investigative reports in 2017 by both The New York Times and The New Yorker.
That alleged incident also predated remarks by Dolan that he was unaware Weinstein, who had been a close friend, was allegedly a serial abuser of women. In 2018, Dolan, who served as a member of the board of directors of The Weinstein Company in 2015 and 2016, released a song with his band titled, “I Should’ve Known,” which he later connected, in part, to Weinstein.
ESPN typically does not name victims of sexual assaults, but Croft issued a public statement Tuesday, saying in part, “James Dolan manipulated me, brought me to California to abuse me, and then set me up for a vicious attack by Weinstein. My hope is that my lawsuit will force Dolan to acknowledge what he did to me and to take responsibility for the harm he has caused.”
Croft, now 38, is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
E. Danya Perry, an attorney for Dolan, dismissed the allegations.
“There is absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan. Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship,” Perry wrote in a statement provided to ESPN. “The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. These claims reflect an act of retaliation by an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Mr. Dolan and has not won, and cannot win, a judgment against him. Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims.
“Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”
Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer for Weinstein, said in a statement provided to ESPN that Weinstein “vehemently denies the meritless allegations in the recently filed lawsuit. We look forward to litigating this case in a court of law where the truth will be revealed.”
Weinstein, who was originally sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual assault, had an additional 16 years added on last year for rape and sexual assault in a separate case.
During a news conference Tuesday to announce that the 2026 NBA All-Star Game will be held at the LA Clippers’ soon-to-open Intuit Dome in Inglewood, California, NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded to an ESPN reporter’s question about the lawsuit.
“I saw the article and don’t know anything else about it other than I read the article,” Silver said, “so we’ll stand by and wait to find out more information.”
In a statement to ESPN, Douglas H. Wigdor, a lawyer for Croft, responded to Silver’s remarks.
“That is a puzzling response for the Commissioner to make,” Wigdor told ESPN. “No reputable chairperson in corporate America would ‘stand by’ and ‘wait’ after reading that a federal complaint was filed against one of their executives alleging sexual assault and sex trafficking. The NBA and the NHL for that matter should be no different. We are fully prepared to participate in any fair and unbiased investigation by both commissioners as these allegations are relevant to the integrity and public confidence of the respective leagues.”
ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.