Ex-AAC employee claims race, age, gender discrimination led to firing

A fired American Airlines Center employee claims she's the victim of race, age and gender discrimination and her lawyers want Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban interviewed.

Michelle Newsome says she was a top sales executive at the AAC for most of her time there. She claims she was discriminated against several times during her 13-year career before ultimately being fired.

Newsome and her attorney filed a petition in court on Thursday requesting the authority to interview Cuban. Newsome's attorney wants to know to what extent Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks may have been involved in, what Newsome claims, her wrongful termination.

Records show Newsome filed an EEOC complaint against her employer, Arena Operating Company, after her termination. She claims Cuban may have had something to do with her termination since as a team owner he also owns a portion of the AAC.

Newsome said a fellow black AAC employee told her he found a hangman's noose in a private closet across from Cuban's suite at the AAC in 2011. That employee claims AAC and Mavericks management never did anything about it.

Newsome said she complained about the incident to human resources and believes that along with a string of other discriminatory complaints led to her being fired in March 2017.

“I find it hard to believe that [Cuban] wasn't involved or didn't know what was going on because leadership starts from the top down,” Newsome said.

Newsome says she was told she was being fired because she did not meet her sales goal. Her attorney is doubtful and said management wanted to get rid of a whistleblower who had filed complaints with human resources.

“I would think if Mr. Cuban has nothing to hide, he wouldn't mind giving documents regarding the hangman noose issue,” said Rogge Dunn, Newsome’s attorney.

The new allegations come as the mavericks are dealing with accusations that former Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery sexually harassed numerous colleagues and Cuban and other front office execs did nothing to try and stop it.

The Mavericks have not commented publicly on Newsome’s allegations. The AOC said in a statement that it couldn’t respond specifically to allegations regarding employees, but did say any kind of harassment is not allowed.

"All forms of harassment are strictly prohibited and are not tolerated. We investigate and respond promptly to any allegation of inappropriate conduct,” the OAC wrote. “It has long been our policy to protect the privacy rights of Arena Operating Company employees… and we cannot respond to any specific allegations."

Newsome maintains her former employer did anything but.

“I get emotional when I talk about it,” she said.

FOX 4 reached out to the Mavs for comment from Cuban. The team's attorney said they’d be making some sort of statement but have not said anything else since.               

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