The owner of several Tulsa massage parlors wants a jury to decide whether the City of Tulsa and Councilor Blake Ewing should pay up for public comments that he claims are costing him his reputation.
It’s all spelled out in a lawsuit filed after a fiery City Council meeting over whether his businesses are a nuisance.
“When somebody owns a business like that, and over and over and over again he's choosing to objectify and victimize young women, and putting them into prostitution through a massage veil, I can call it what it is,” Ewing said at the meeting.
“It was truly shocking to hear Councilman Ewing say those things,” said Ben Oxford.
Oxford is one of the attorneys representing Dennis Cousino in a lawsuit against the city and Ewing for defamation and malicious prosecution among other things.
Tulsa police said massage therapists at a Cousino business solicited sex for money during an undercover operation.
“Is that business a nuisance? Is that property a nuisance to my community? And yes, it is, man, it is. My kids live here, in this town, and that business is a nuisance and the guy that owns it is a nuisance," Ewing said at the meeting.
During a nuisance hearing Oxford said his client never got the chance to defend himself. So he came to the council to appeal. That’s when he feels his client was convicted by the council in public.
“And if you’re wrong, where does he go to get his reputation back? What if you’re wrong?” Ewing was asked in the meeting.
“Man, I hope he goes anywhere but Tulsa to get his reputation back,” Ewing said.
“It was unconscionable for his name to be drug through the mud like that at the City Council meeting. It should upset everyone in Tulsa,” Oxford said.
Oxford said the case is more about due process even though defamation is what’s getting the most attention.
FOX23 contacted Ewing, who said he has not been officially served and won’t comment on the lawsuit until then.
A city spokeswoman said they do no comment on pending legislation.