Brazilian actress and model Greice Santo revealed in a lawsuit that Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, once offered her a movie role in exchange for “companionship and sex.”
Santo, who had a recurring role in “Jane the Virgin,” claims the conversation with an intoxicated Katz took place in 2015 during a photo shoot in Hawaii for Viva Glam magazine, according to Variety.
Santo’s husband, R.J. Cipriani, filed the defamation lawsuit on Monday against G.F. Bunting & Co., a crisis consulting firm that represents the Oilers owner.
Katz’ attorney, Dennis Roach, slammed the allegations as false in a statement to The Daily News.
“Robert J. Cipriani is a convicted felon who has been menacing Mr. Katz and his family for more than a year. The allegations in the complaint filed against Mr. Bunting and his company, and the assertions made in that document about Mr. Katz, are false, malicious and entirely without merit," Roach said.
"Moreover, it is plain as day that this so-called complaint was filed solely as bait for the media as part of an ongoing effort by Cipriani to harass, embarrass and possibly extort Mr. Katz, exactly as Cipriani has done with other prominent individuals,” the lawyer added.
Santo alleges in the suit that Katz told her "he could put me in a big role that would change my life and then switched the conversation and said he rather give me money.”
The actress then claims Katz said, “I’m talking about millions… This would help your family and help you so you won’t struggle.”
When Santo inquired about what Katz would want in exchange, he allegedly replied “I’m looking for companionship and sex.”
Cipriani, a gambler and an FBI informant, said Glenn Bunting, the president of the firm, sullied his reputation to kill a story in the New York Post.
Though Santo turned down the offer, the actress said she later received $35,000 through two wire transfers from Katz.
Katz’ cousin, Canadian executive Michael Gelmon, set up the initial meeting between the two. The actress said even after the failed bribe in Hawaii, Gelmon insisted they meet up again.
“There is no shortage of super modles (sic) who want to be with my cousin,” Gelmon told her via text message. “But he is very picky and she does not meet his standards. He prefers u.”
Santo then began getting text messages from Katz, in which he called himself her “Fairy Godfather,” about just sending her money.
The two met again at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills under the pretense that the topic would strictly be about helping Santo’s acting career.
Though Santo was wired $20,000 moments before the meeting as a “good faith gesture,” she says Katz brought up paying her for sex 30 minutes into their second face-to-face talk.
“I am not a prostitute,” Santo said before leaving.
The actress still kept in contact with Katz, turning down more money, this time $15,000 from Gelmon, and a meeting with Katz at the Montage Hotel.
It was then Gelmon and Katz began hearing that Santo was openly talking about the proposition Katz had offered her.
In a recorded phone conversation, Gelmon told Santo the Oilers owner could “make sure you don’t work in Hollywood ever again.”
That’s when Cipriani stepped in to try and settle the matter between both parties that resulted in the actress receiving a “three-picture deal” proposal from Gelmon to keep quiet on Katz’ sex offers.
She turned down the deal and then, along with her husband, went to the Hawaii Police Department alleging that Katz was using his cousin’s magazine to solicit models for prostitution.
The case was closed and no charges were filed.
However, a Katz representative told The News that police investigated the matter in which they found no basis for the allegations.
In the lawsuit, Cipriani claims Katz then hired G.F Bunting & Co. to help with the fallout, which includes Bunting telling the business editor at the New York Post that he was trying to extort Katz.
Santo doesn’t think she is the only actress who has gone through being treated like this.
“This is so common, but most girls and women — they are afraid of coming out,” Santo told Variety. “I feel like me coming out will give courage and inspire so many girls who go through the same thing I go through.”
With ELIZABETH ELIZALDE