Theresa Niemiec, wife of Quicken Loans Executive Vice President Austin Niemiec, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Anthony Casa, CEO of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts, for comments he made about her in a video message that he filmed and sent to her husband and others in the mortgage industry.
The civil complaint, seen by HousingWire, alleges: “On July 2, 2020, while at a social gathering with many people in the vicinity, Casa filmed and then widely distributed and published per se defamatory video clips and drafted and sent per se defamatory text messages directed to Mr. Niemiec wherein Casa disparaged and demeaned Mrs. Niemiec.”
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Casa mentioned sexual acts supposedly performed by Mrs. Niemiec and portrays her as “promiscuous and having a lack of chastity and faithfulness.”
The complaint alleges that Casa sent the defamatory video clips and text messages to a number of people in addition to Austin Niemiec. One source told HousingWire that the video was uploaded to YouTube at some point then removed, although HousingWire was not able to see the video on YouTube.
The lawsuit also states that Theresa Niemiec asked for a retraction of the inflammatory statements on July 6, and instead Casa sent an “antagonistic, threatening, mocking and sarcastic” text message to Austin Niemiec on July 7, as well as demeaning follow-up messages.
In the lawsuit, Theresa Niemiec seeks the following reparations:
- The immediate publication of a full retraction by Casa to each of the recipients of the defamatory statements by Casa personally publishing a video to each of the recipients wherein he personally makes clear that the each of the defamatory statements was false, untrue and fabricated and issuing a full apology to Theresa Niemiec and her husband without sarcasm or ridicule;
- Immediately furnishing a list identifying the name and contact information of each recipient of the defamatory statements;
- An order of judgment in favor of Theresa Niemiec and against Casa as follows:
- A. Special Damages in an amount in excess of $25,000
- B. Exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $25,000;
- C. Interest, costs and attorney fees; and
- D. Such other and further relief as is appropriate.
Theresa Niemiec’s attorney, Jeffrey Morganroth, told HousingWire: “Mrs. Niemiec filed the lawsuit against Mr. Casa because the conduct spelled out in the complaint is outrageous, disturbing and disgusting. Under no circumstances should the tortuous and unlawful behavior described in the complaint be accepted. To make and circulate malicious, demeaning, misogynistic and wholly untrue statements by videos and text messages about the wife of a leader in your marketplace when you are supposed to be the head of a trade association is inexcusable.
“Further, when that behavior is pointed out, and demanded to be retracted, to double down with even more hostile, threatening, demeaning and disparaging statements, as described in the complaint, shows a serious lack of character and judgment,” Morganroth said.
When contacted by HousingWire, Casa issued this statement:
“Two and a half years ago, when we created this association, we did it to combat the unfair practices of big banks and to give a voice to the small brokers across the United States. Those brokers have been bullied for years and they needed someone to stand strong and be their voice. It is not news to anyone that I have taken a very combative approach and I did that because we needed to bring attention to what was going on against banks that have a lot more money and resources than we do.
“However, during a heated conversation via text message, I sent some private communications that I understand were inappropriate and hurtful to select parties who previously engaged with me in an equally unprofessional manner.
“I do regret sending these messages and apologize to those hurt by my actions,” Casa continued. “I will own that I let my emotions get the best of me. One of the toughest challenges of leadership is admitting mistakes but more importantly learning and growing from them. What makes me sad is that what I said does not reflect my values and I will address that directly with my team and ensure that all of our members know that my statements do not reflect the values of this association.”