LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – An attorney for Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan claims there was “a deliberate attempt” to destroy Landan’s reputation and his business by falsely accusing him of rape and spreading allegations online and through the media.
The goal, according to attorney Andrew Horne, was an attempt by two Haymarket managers to take over the bar.
In court records filed last week, Horne argues that “within hours” of a woman claiming on Facebook in November that she was raped by Landan, managers Eric Snider and Christopher Maggio “joined in the takedown" and staged a coup in hopes of getting the bar.
Horne claims Snider and Maggio privately and publicly embellished the number of Landan's accusers, vouched for the allegations and engineered a walk-out by other employees -- all in an attempt to buy the bar at a low price.
Landan has filed a lawsuit against Snider and Maggio and the woman who wrote the initial Facebook post, identified as “Jane Doe 1” in the suit, The suit also names other unknown “Jane Does” and “John Does” who accused Landan of rape and sexual assault on Facebook.
The two former employees filed a counterclaim that argues Landan is trying to “silence any and all public discourse regarding the accusations against him for criminal sexual misconduct.”
On Nov. 13, a woman posted a picture of Landan on Facebook saying, "Matthew Landan is a rapist" and accused him of raping her. Horne is seeking to identify the woman by taking testimony from a representative of Monnik Beer Company, a local brewery where Horne believes the woman works.
Less than 20 hours after the post, Snider and Maggio met with Landan and his attorney at the time, Theodore Myre, and told him several women had “come forward” accusing Landan of rape, Horne wrote in his motion filed last week asking Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle to dismiss the counterclaim.
“It was at this same meeting that Snider and Maggio attempted to coerce Landan to sell the bar or the employees would quit,” according to Horne.
The former employees deny this in their counterclaim, arguing Landan asked them to make an offer to purchase the bar.
In addition, the employees say the bar was closed at the instruction of Landan and only reopened the day he filed the lawsuit, Nov. 29.
In the Nov. 14 meeting, Horne cites an affidavit by Myre alleging Snider told Landan 10 or more woman had come forward and he “was done” and needed to “sell the bar, leave town and live the rest of his life on the beach.”
Myre said Snider told Landan none of the staffers would come back while he was there and both he and Maggio urged him to sell the bar, according to the motion.
Landan claims one employee later told him Snider and Maggio said Landan was not going to reopen the bar and the man needed to find another job, according to Horne.
“Landan is confident that his managers made misrepresentations exaggerating the number of the accusers to his employees to induce the walkout because they made those same misrepresentations when they attempted to coerce him to sell the bar,” Horne claims.
In a Facebook post, Snider said that 22 women had come forward with complaints about Landan, Horne claims. And Maggio said in a seperate Facebook post that it was “upwards of twenty different people,” according to Horne’s motion.
Jeremiah Reece, an attorney for Snider and Maggio, said in a statement that the motion "is merely his attempt to avoid the imminent dismissal of his claims against Mr. Maggio and Mr. Snider. The response does nothing to undermine our argument that this lawsuit is entirely without merit, and only further confirms our opinion that Mr. Landan's legal actions are designed to silence and intimidate his critics.
"Having thoroughly reviewed the conflicting and inconsistent accounts Mr. Landan has advanced before the Court, Mr. Maggio and Mr. Snider remain confident that the claims against them will be dismissed."
Horne said he has contacted the Louisville Metro Police Department and was told no one has filed a criminal complaint against Landan.
Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for LMPD, said Landan has not been charged but she could not confirm or deny whether any complaints have been made.
Horne said Landan denies all wrongdoing and the claims made in the initial Facebook post are false.
The day after the post, another woman claimed on Facebook that Landan drugged her before the two had sex, Horne wrote in his motion. He said the woman posted that she spent the night with Landan and had sex but then had “an epiphany” and alleged drugs were put in her drink.
Horne’s motion accuses the former employees of talking with the media, vouching for the credibility of the accusers and “touting the mass employee walkout.”
The result, according to Horne, is that the “only two actual allegations” were given more “credibility than they would have standing alone.”
“The foreseeable firestorm compelled Mr. Landan to go into seclusion and to close the bar for several weeks,” Horne wrote.
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