A married Manhattan entrepreneur who hired a young woman as a live-in assistant allegedly outfitted her bedroom and bathroom with hidden cameras — and when he got caught, blamed his 10-year-old son, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
“I am mortified,” wrote Tandem CEO Arthur Freydin in a text message to his assistant after she allegedly discovered a surreptitiously recorded video of her taken in his Midtown apartment bathroom, court documents claim.
“I’ve already sorted things out with [my son] …He of course had no idea what he was doing and this is a serious lesson for him but I want to make sure you are okay,” Freydin allegedly texted the woman.
The young woman, who is only identified as Jane Doe in court papers, made the alarming alleged discovery Sept. 29 when she was at the office and her phone began malfunctioning, the suit says. She asked to borrow Freydin’s to make a call, the documents claim.
She was stunned to find an application on his phone called LookCam that contained video footage of her from inside the bathroom she shared with him and his wife Sarah McLaughlin, according to court documents.
“The video footage was in his recently viewed history,” wrote her lawyer, Dan Perrone, in the federal complaint.
The woman, a recent college graduate in her 20s, rushed back to the apartment on East 56th Street, allegedly found a camera disguised as a USB charger in the residence’s sole bathroom and confronted McLaughlin, the papers state.
“She used the bathroom in which the spy camera was hidden daily to urinate, defecate, dress, undress and shower, among other things, thus, had been nude therein on multiple occasions,” Perrone wrote of the assistant in the court document.
The suit says Freydin initially claimed he had no idea how the app got on his phone in a text to his assistant.
“I noticed an app this morning that I don’t recognize (I download tons of apps. And never open most of them) and didn’t think anything of it,” he allegedly wrote, according to the papers. After he was informed of the disturbing video, he immediately deleted the app, he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear from the court documents if the footage showed the woman nude or in an otherwise compromising way.
The assistant reported the incident to the NYPD and was promptly fired from her $55,000-a-year gig and locked out of her e-mail account, the papers allege.
About a week before stumbling on the bathroom footage, the woman allegedly found a hidden camera in her bedroom and unplugged it. But the next day, it was turned on again and actively recording her, the suit claims. After she unplugged it again, Freydin allegedly asked her why she’d disabled it, according to court documents.
McLaughlin first hired the woman in February as a babysitter for her two kids from a prior marriage, the suit says. A month later, McLaughlin invited her to work full-time as her husband’s assistant, but in the new role, required her to live with them four to five days a week, the lawsuit claims.
The atmosphere was “both controlling and sexually charged, with harassment ranging from sexually charged comments to unwanted, sexual touching,” the complaint alleges.
For one office project, Freydin allegedly forced her to undress to her bra to demonstrate the way kinesiology tape could be used on her neck and back, according to court docs.
He also allegedly required her to accompany him to the gym at 6 each morning and would stand behind her as she worked out, the lawsuit charges.
The couple used their “influence and money to commit unthinkable acts of depravity and sexual deviance at the expense of a young, trusting woman in desperate need of gainful employment,” Perrone wrote.
Tandem Marketing helped brand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 congressional campaign and partnered with Planned Parenthood to create an awareness campaign, according to the firm’s Web site.
The suit names Freydin, McLaughlin and Tandem as defendants and alleges violations of New York human rights law, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
The couple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by e-mail or phone, nor did Tandem.
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