Start with a premier so corrupt that the United Kingdom actually shut down his idyllic island's government. Add a sexy beach resort trying to move into new territory. Top it off with a glass of spiked wine, a beautiful woman, and allegations of sexual assault. You've got either the plot to a page-turning beach read or one of the wilder civil lawsuits to land in local courts. (Yep, it's the latter.)
In a suit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, an anonymous female plaintiff claims an executive from Miami's Nikki Beach Hotels purposely sent her to the home of Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick -- knowing she'd be drugged and raped there -- to curry favor with his administration.
Nikki Beach's lawyers, meanwhile, say the whole suit is hokum."The story outlined by 'Jane Doe' in her lawsuit... is pure fiction and utterly without merit," says Steve Savola, a company attorney.
The case would be easy to dismiss were it not for Misick's tawdry recent past. Misick, a London-educated lawyer, belonged to a prominent family in Turks and Caicos, a colonial UK island chain near Hispaniola. He became chief minister in 2003, just as a building boom hit.
Misick turned heads in '06 when he married American TV actress LisaRaye McCoy in a lavish ceremony and then later built a $2.5 million mansion. Corruption allegations surfaced, and when the British investigated, the islands' courthouses began mysteriously catching fire.
Amid this crazy scene, Jane Doe -- a Puerto Rico resident -- says she was hired by Nikki Beach as a design consultant. She was flown to Turks and Caicos on March 25, 2008, while the club worked to set up shop there.
She claims Nikki Beach "routinely hired attractive young women," plied them with drugs and alcohol, and then left them to be assaulted by potential business partners. In her case, she says company exec Michael Penrod took her to Misick's mansion, where the premier gave her spiked wine and then raped her.
The next day, the woman says, she fled to Miami, where a hospital found injuries consistent with rape.
Savola, though, says that both the FBI and Turks and Caicos authorities investigated the woman's claims and that the case was dropped for lack of evidence.
Here's the full statement Savola sent Riptide regarding the case:
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A lawsuit by a former Nikki Beach employee alleging she was drugged and raped to "curry favor with business partners and officials" in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2008 is totally frivolous and contradicted by the facts of the case, according to Steve Savola, legal counsel to Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts.
"Three years ago, The FBI and Turks and Caicos law enforcement conducted a thorough investigation into this matter and submitted their files to the Turks and Caicos Attorney General who did not believe there was sufficient evidence to file charges," said Savola. "The story outlined by 'Jane Doe' in her lawsuit filed on March 29th in Miami-Dade Circuit Court is pure fiction and utterly without merit."
Savola added that Nikki Beach may file a countersuit against these frivolous accusations in accordance with Florida Statutes.
As for Misick, he resigned in March 2009 after the Brits found evidence of "widespread corruption." The investigation is ongoing; in the meantime, the Brits have already suspended July elections that were to restore Turks and Caicos independent government.