Richard Meier. Photo: NEW YORK TIMES
Famed architect Richard Meier has stepped away from the firm he founded after four former female employees and a fifth woman accused him of sexual harassment, according to a report.
The award-winning Meier, 83, is accused of exposing himself to two women in his apartment, pouncing on a third woman after throwing her on his bed, propositioning a fourth woman for nude photos, and groping a fifth woman at a party.
Four of the five accusers were much-younger employees of his firm, Richard Meier & Partners Architects, which has done work for The Hague, the Getty Center in LA, and is responsible for the controversial 15-story glass tower On Prospect Park that overlooks Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.
“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions. While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior,” he said in a statement.
Stella Lee said Meier had her come to his apartment for work in 2000, when he answered the door in an open bathrobe and made suggestive remarks to her, which she reported.
Alexis Zamlich accused him of exposing his penis to her inside his apartment some time between 2003 and 2010, when she was 22, The Times reported, citing the firm’s then-COO Scott Johnson.
The firm reportedly gave Zamlich a $150,000 settlement over the incident on condition she not speak publicly about it. The company also instituted a sex-harassment training that Meier had to attend, Johnson said.
Accuser Trimble Elbogen, 26, said the then-75-year-old Meier invited her to his apartment in 2009, where he plied her with wine and showed her photos of nude women before asking her to undress so he could snap some photos. She left and later told management.
Judi Shade Monk told that she was warned “don’t stay in the office late by yourself” when she first started at the firm in 2003 at the age of 26. Within two months, she said, Meier allegedly “started to roll my underwear around in his fingers” while guiding her around an office holiday party with his hand on the small of her back.
Carol Vena-Mondt, a furniture designer who did not work for Meier, said the architect invited her to a dinner party while he was staying in LA in the 1980s, but when she showed up, it was just the two of them. He eventually tried to kiss her, which she resisted, before allegedly yanking her down a hallway, pushing her onto his bed and climbing on top of her, she said.
Meier won the coveted Pritzker Prize in 1984 and was awarded a gold medal in architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. He also created a graduate scholarship at his alma mater Cornell University — ironically to “recruit and retain the most talented women applicants.”
Source: New York Post