|By James Walsh, Star Tribune,
MinneapolisMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
February 22, 2010 --When the lawsuit was filed back in December 2008, its sordid details challenged news outlets' ability to write about the case without offending, shocking or, um, titillating readers.
After all, you don't often read about a couple of former hotel employees suing former bosses for allegedly firing them after conducting a drunken sex orgy in the hotel ballroom.
But last week, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court, the former employees and the Hilton Minneapolis settled their lawsuit. Unlike the attention-inducing complaint, however, no details were provided.
Calls to attorneys representing the former hotel workers -- Deborah Smith and April Bezdichek -- and the hotel were not immediately returned Monday. The only details in the court file said "Settlement reached. Terms stated on the record."
It also stated that any transcript or audio file of the settlement would be sealed.
At the time the suit was filed, Smith and Bezdichek said they were fired from their jobs after they complained about what they witnessed. Smith, who was the night manager of a hotel restaurant, said that she opened the door to a hotel banquet room and saw an orgy involving Hilton Hotel upper management.
"In fact, she observed Hilton executives on top of a table engaging in sexual activity," according to the suit.
After Smith walked away, she said, a hotel manager threatened to fire her. She was later fired, the suit alleges, after "a campaign of harassment and retaliation."
Bezdichek, who was a server, alleged that she didn't know the orgy was going on until after the same manager who had threatened Smith brought her to the banquet room, "pulled her onto his lap and pumped her up and down."
She said that she was forced to resign in October 2007 after she complained and was shunned and was no longer called in to work.
Hilton officials denied allegations of any misconduct at the time the suit was filed.
James Walsh --612-673-7428
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