KNOXVILLE — An area restaurateur and Knoxville mayoral candidate has been accused of sexual harassment in a $14 million lawsuit brought by a server at one of his eateries.
News outlets report Knoxville mayoral candidate Mike Chase, owner of Maryville’s Smoky Mountain Brewery and Calhoun’s, is the defendant in the lawsuit that Ana Tipton-Budzynski filed Wednesday. Tipton-Budzynski’s suit alleges the 72-year-old made persistent, sexually explicit comments to her as she served him and two of his friends at Copper Cellar West last month.
The suit also says Tipton-Budzynski’s complaint to co-defendant Copper Cellar Corp. Human Resources Director Rick Eldridge wasn’t really investigated. She and her husband seek $14 million in damages, a zero-tolerance company policy and other anti-sexual harassment strategies.
Chase filed paperwork in August to run this year for mayor of Knoxville.
WVLT-TV quotes him as saying he won’t comment on the lawsuit.