Head of Major Houston Tax Firm Alliantgroup Accused of Sexual Harassment
The head of a Houston-based tax consulting powerhouse sexually harassed an employee for two years, by texting about the girth of his penis and promising her career advancement in return for being a part of his "inner circle" of young, attractive women who were often groped by the company's executives, according to a lawsuit filed by the now former employee in California.
In a 26-page complaint oozing with ickiness, Angela Torres accuses Dhaval Jadav, CEO and co-founder of Alliantgroup, of grabbing her breast and behind; sending her sexually explicit texts; and "dry hump[ing]" her when the Irvine, California, resident came to Houston for business. (She worked at Alliantgroup from March 2014 to May 2016, according to the suit).
The suit, filed in April, also alleges that Jadav encouraged some female employees to have sex with clients, or prospective clients, and that women who didn't go along were "not moldable, and that people who are not moldable are let go."
Torres is suing Jadav, as well as Alliantgroup, under several counts of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.
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Alliantgroup is a politically connected company, whose "strategic advisory board" includes former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, former U.S. legislators Kit Bond and Rick Lazio, and Dean Zerbe, the former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, among other dignitaries.
According to the company's website, its "mission is to strengthen American businesses by helping U.S. companies and the CPA firms that advise them to take full advantage of federal and state tax credits, incentives, and deductions that are available to them." The site claims that the company has "helped over 20,000 businesses claim more than $5 billion in tax incentives!" It has more than 600 employees.
While the company has previously made headlines over a whistleblower's allegations of helping clients illegally evade taxes (the allegations went nowhere), Torres's accusations describe a culture of debasement of female employees, to the point where even Bill O'Reilly would blush. Jadav, who allegedly (and weirdly) referred to the women in his inner circle as "Craig" — ostensibly a reference to the protagonist of Ice Cube's popular Friday movies — punished Torres by giving her lousy work assignments whenever she rebuffed his advancements, according to the suit.
Jadav allegedly mentored Torres in such business practices as "how to properly hug men and women," and demonstrated by allegedly "hugging Torres and putting his hands on her lower back near her buttocks, grazing her leg, and squeezing her legs near her buttocks."
Torres alleges that she was exposed to a barrage of pervy texts from Jadav, which included a February 2, 2015 stunner about both of their genitals, in which Jadav strangely bragged about patently un-bragworthy equipment: "Hunnnn u seem really tight - [I] think average and thin is just about rightt for u ;)."
Penis-proportion comments comprise much of the complaint, with Jadav allegedly telling Torres in July 2015 that "she must like small penises because she dated a Jewish man..."
This allegedly sparked a feverish debate — in the presence of Alliantgroup's chief operating officer, who is described in the suit as Jewish — wherein Torres "responded that Jewish men do not have small penises," but that "Indian men have small dicks..."
Jadav later texted Torres and said "Omg crraigg [sic] why you gotta lie about Indian's girthiness[?]," the suit claims.
Similarly, the suit alleges that Jadav told Torres that she had her breasts augmented "for a reason, and that she needed to use her goods to take one for the team..."
Torres claims that she quit Alliantgroup in May 2016, because "Jadav's sexual harassment was escalating and that his demands indicated that soon he would expect her to exchange sexual intercourse with him to advance her career."
Alliantgroup's senior counsel John Simpson denied the allegations, which the company described in a motion to compel arbitration as a smokescreen for Torres's violations of her employee agreement. In that filing, the company's lawyers claimed that Torres stole proprietary information the day she quit, and "refused to return her [company] laptop...[which] contained substantial trade secrets..."
Alliantgroup alleged that Torres and a fellow employee both stole trade secrets and formed a new, competing company in order to poach Alliantgroup's clients. The other employee was sued by Alliantgroup in Harris County District Court in 2016, and the case was transferred to federal court, where it's pending.
In a November 2016 Houston Chronicle puff piece, Jadav is quoted as saying his company is "about investing in people and making them great. That's 1,000 percent what I come to work for every day."
And, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the Chronicle, employees agree: In the annual employee poll among local businesses, Alliantgroup was "ranked No. 2 on this year's Top Workplaces list of midsize companies." (It was also ranked No. 19 on the Houston Business Journal's Best Places to Work Awards in 2015).
In his bio on Alliantgroup's website, Jadav is quoted as saying, "I am constantly trying to figure out how we can better serve U.S. businesses and the CPA firms that serve them in our great country – these businesses are the heart and soul of America, and I am on a personal crusade to make sure that they get their fair share of credits and incentives that our government has allocated.”
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