Oilers owner Katz accused of paying 18-year-old dancer for sex in Nevada civil suit
Editor's note: Daryl Katz' name was withdrawn from this lawsuit.
Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz is denying ever paying a ballerina $75,000 for "sexual favours," as was alleged in a civil suit filed earlier this month in Nevada.
The lawsuit is a counterclaim filed by a prominent ballerina and her husband, Dusty and Mitchell Button, in response to allegations they committed sexual offences against young dancers under their wing.
The Buttons instead argue they are the victims of a coordinated attack meant to ruin their reputation, and allege that Sage Humphries, the initial complainant, was trafficked by her own parents to older men, including billionaire Katz.
In the court document, the couple's lawyers call Humphries a victim of statutory rape and say, "If Sage is truly the damaged flower she claims to be, the price should be paid – but it should be paid by those who actually engaged in illegal acts with her."
The allegations are largely unsubstantiated in the claim and remain untested in court.
According to the court documents, Humphries originally filed a complaint against Mitchell Button (who is also known by his middle name, Taylor) in the late summer of 2021, later adding Dusty Button as a defendant and several other dancers as complainants.
Dusty, having trained at the American Ballet Theatre in New York and the Royal Ballet School in London, joined the Boston Ballet in 2012, and was soon promoted to principal dancer, the counterclaim lays out. Prior to the allegations, she had amassed an online following of several hundreds of thousands thanks to high-profile media attention and being named Red Bull's first ballerina athlete.
Her husband is a former ballet instructor who pivoted to managing his wife's career and designing and building custom automobiles.
In a May Good Morning America interview, Humphries reiterated the allegation against Mitchell Button: after gaining control over a number of aspects of the young dancer's life under the pretence of managing her, she says he "violated" her for the first time during a movie night.
In their counterclaim, filed July 8, the Buttons instead say they had a "consensual 'throuple' sexual relationship" with Humphries after she turned 18, which she initiated.
"The relationship between Sage and the Buttons appeared, at the time, to be one of mutual love, affection, and respect," the counterclaim reads.
It also says Humphries "fabricated accounts of abuse and shopped them to the press in order to gain her own spotlight of attention and false victimhood to further her floundering dance career."
She and six other complainants "filed this case for the specific purpose of destroying the reputations of Dusty in the dance world and Mitchell in the car industry," the claim continues.
The Buttons also allege Humphries' parents "insisted" she live with them to save money, and knew and approved of the dancer's advances on the married couple believing it would be beneficial to her career.
The court document paints Humphries' parents as fame- and money-hungry manipulators who helped their daughter launder $75,000 paid to her by Katz.
ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING KATZ
The Buttons allege Katz was only one of several older men who had a sexual relationship eight years ago with Humphries. Katz is the only person they accuse of paying Humphries as a prostitute.
Filed with the counterclaim were undated screenshots of text messages supposedly between Humphries and Katz.
A contact called "D K" with a 780 area code – the telephone code most commonly used in northern Alberta – writes that an account with "25K" has been opened.
"I also told them to get you debit card and put some cash on it OR you won't buy yourself anything…..which I want you to do," D K texted.
In another text, D K asks, "If my guys send u funds will u spend it on/keep it for yourself?"
When Humphries – the Buttons allege – promises to keep it, D K asks her to keep the exchange private because "even though u r wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way."
Humphries replies, "Yes .. Just between us," and D K texts back, "OK will have one of my guys email u. He will send you 50K."
Katz – who the counterclaim says was 53 years old when he paid Humphries – is now 61 years old.
His lawyer, Robert Klieger, on Thursday said the NHL team owner denies the allegations, ever having a sexual relationship of any kind with Humphries, and ever meeting the Buttons.
"Critically, the allegations against Mr. Katz are not being made by Ms. Humphries. The accusations are instead being made by the Buttons, who Ms. Humphries and six other women have accused of exploiting their position of power and influence in the dance world to sexually abuse young dancers across the country," Klieger said in a statement.
"Their false accusations against him are a transparent and pathetic attempt to distract attention from the abhorrent acts with which they stand charged."
His team did not address the texts Katz allegedly sent Humphries.
Of the messages, Humphries' lawyer told NBC News on Thursday, “I can’t say whether they’re legitimate at this point."
Sigrid McCawley said Humphries and Katz had a "business relationship," not a sexual one.
The two "had been discussing movie projects and that the dancer might have received money from the NHL executive in connection to that proposed business deal," she told NBC News.
In a statement to CTV News, an NHL spokesperson said: "We became aware this week of the civil lawsuit in which Mr. Katz is named as a third party by the defendants in the lawsuit. Mr. Katz has advised us that he categorically denies the allegations. We are in the process of looking into the matter."
BUTTONS WANT DAMAGES
The Buttons do not say in the counterclaim how they obtained the texts or how they came to believe the money was paid as compensation for "sexual favours," as they allege in their counterclaim.
They are asking to be compensated as their reputations have been "unjustly ruined."
Their lawyer Marc Randazza denied CTV Edmonton's request for an interview and more information, writing, "We are not interested in trying this matter in the press."
Randazza calls himself a "first amendment attorney" and is known as a commentator on Infowars and for representing Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who owns the program.
The Humphries' lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, said in a statement to CTV News that the Buttons' counterclaim serves to "distract and distort the truth."
"The counterclaims the Buttons have filed falsely and recklessly implicate others, including Daryl Katz, and are a factually unfounded attempt to portray the women they abused as liars," McCawley said. "The women I represent who have bravely come forward are telling the truth. We are confident the Buttons will be held accountable."
In the spring, Humphries told Good Morning America she had returned to the Boston Ballet, which she joined in 2017.
A previous version of this article included references to Humphries being 17 at the time of the interactions, a claim made in the civil suit in Nevada. A copy of Humphries drivers’ license has been provided to CTV News, indicating that she was 18 at the time.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Jaqueline McDermott, 22, from Kitchener has been reported missing in B.C., and her family is putting out a plea across the country for help. McDermott was last seen by her vehicle after attending a meditation retreat. RCMP said her vehicle was found, but she was not in it or near it.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing across the country again as fall progresses and winter approaches. But this respiratory pathogen season is different than last year's, experts say, so the public's approach should be different as well.
Wood from primary forests in British Columbia has been used to fuel the U.K.'s largest power plant, according to a BBC investigation; the company denies the allegations.
The Toronto Blue Jays' first foe in the playoffs is now official.
Scientists have uncovered an association between tumours and fungi, which may lead to a deeper understanding towards the biology of certain cancers.
The Invasive Species Council of B.C. is asking the public to report sightings of a 'highly toxic' plant that can leave people's skin blistered and burned – something one family recently learned the hard way.
Public safety minister defends Canada's proposed firearms legislation, says it's needed to end gun violence
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that Bill C-21, the proposed legislation to further restrict access to handguns in Canada, is critical to ending gun violence.
A California serial killer seems to be 'on a mission' throughout the fatal shooting of six men and the wounding of one woman dating back to last year.
Russian troops abandoned a key Ukrainian city so rapidly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets, offering more evidence Tuesday of Moscow's latest military defeat as it struggles to hang on to four regions of Ukraine that it illegally annexed last week.
Calgary police are looking to the public for help to identify a woman who was found dead in the city over the summer.
A Calgary father has been sentenced to two years in prison for failing to provide the necessaries of life for his severely disabled adult son.
Two homes were damaged on Tuesday evening after a truck lost control in a southwest Calgary neighbourhood.
Another person accused in the presumed death of a missing Saskatoon woman has a previous conviction for an impaired driving death.
Robert Schimpf, an expert from RCMP’s national forensic lab in Edmonton, took the stand in Ranbir Dhull’s trial on Tuesday.
A mine worker remains in hospital with serious injuries after a piece of tunnel roof fell on top of him while working underground at a potash mine southwest of Saskatoon.
Lorna Standingready knows how it feels when a loved one goes missing. Her 14-year-old great-granddaughter disappeared last winter.
'I don't think there's going to be any trades': O'Day claims Riders have no trades ahead of deadline
The Canadian Football League (CFL) trade deadline on Wednesday, Oct. 5 is approaching fast. However, the Saskatchewan Roughriders claim to have plans to make any roster moves at the moment.
Saskatchewan residents may have noticed a peak in gas prices over the past week. Dan McTeague, president of Canada for Affordable Energy said that’s a common trend across the country right now.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the federal government is setting up a $300-million 'Hurricane Fiona recovery fund' to help Atlantic Canadians rebuild from the deadly and destructive post-tropical storm.
More than 15,000 Maritimers are still without power 11 days after post-tropical storm Fiona hit the region.
Climate experts say the after-effects of post-tropical storm Fiona make up a new reality on Canada's East Coast -- a reality driven by climate change.
A Canadian Tire employee in Hamilton says he was Tasered by police while suffering from an epileptic seizure earlier this week.
A Toronto police officer has been seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle in a Scarborough parking lot as an arrest was being made in the area.
The Toronto Blue Jays' first foe in the playoffs is now official.
Excluding the CAQ, Quebec's major provincial parties received similar results between them in terms of popular support. But the same can't be said for the number of seats they won.
Francois Legault has been elected for a second mandate as Quebec premier with a majority government. Within eight minutes of the polls closing across the province at 8 p.m. EST, CTV News declared Coalition Avenir Québec has secured a resounding win in the Quebec legislature.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec, led by Francois Legault, won a second consecutive majority mandate in Monday's election. Here are five things to watch out for as the CAQ leader prepares to name his new cabinet and begins to make good on his party's election promises.
Ottawa police say an individual who was on fire outside the U.S. embassy in Ottawa on Tuesday died of their injuries. Police said there is no indication of a link to the embassy at this time.
Ahead of one of the largest single-day jumps in the price of gas, many drivers in Ottawa are filling up.
In six weeks, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson will be leaving city hall, but he’s not taking much with him. Many of the items he has received over the years are being auctioned off for a good cause.
In early September, the University of Guelph told students about what they are calling a disruption to the IT system.
As the municipal election looms, candidate signs become a common sight, but with a tightened regional bylaw limiting where signs can be placed, there are far fewer.
Charges withdrawn against brothers accused of assaulting customer in family's Kitchener, Ont. restaurant
The charges against two brothers accused of assaulting a customer with a service dog at a Kitchener, Ont. restaurant have been withdrawn.
In a startling development, incumbent Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger is withdrawing from the municipal election race, citing family reasons.
A 'Sisters in Spirit Vigil' was held at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre on Tuesday to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit and gender-diverse people.
Literacy Nipissing in North Bay celebrated its official grand reopening, a major milestone after the learning centre burnt down in 2020.
The Winnipeg Police Service is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing 81-year-old female.
Provincial staff are dismantling an encampment on the Manitoba Legislature grounds after Winnipeg police brought some encampment members into custody.
A semi-truck driver from Ontario has been sentenced under the Highway Traffic Act for his role in a fatal collision three years ago on the Trans-Canada Highway near Falcon Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park, that killed Mark and Jacob Lugli.
'Danger to the public': Safety concerns surrounded man found dead in suite where Noelle O'Soup's body found
More information is coming to light about a man found dead in a rooming house in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside -- in the same suite where the bodies of missing teen Noelle O’Soup and another woman were found months later.
Forward Together, the party led by Vancouver mayoral incumbent Kennedy Stewart, released its election platform on Tuesday.
With urban mayors blaming a small number of repeat offenders for a disproportionate amount of crime in their cities, pressure is mounting on B.C.’s NDP government to act.
More arrests are “futile,” British Columbia's attorney general says as he rebuffed criticism of government policies on repeat offenders and violent crime across the province. Murray Rankin told the legislature on Tuesday that increasing arrests is not the answer to battle crime.
Canadian naval officer relieved of her duties after allegations of inappropriate conduct on NATO mission
A Canadian naval officer has been relieved of her duties aboard a coastal defence vessel deployed on a NATO operation in Europe over allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.
'It came in straight through the master bedroom': Transport truck slams into home in Nanoose Bay, B.C.
A transport truck driver was airlifted to hospital Monday after his truck slammed through a home in Nanoose Bay, B.C., narrowly missing residents.