Ex employees file lawsuit against Buffalo Exchange and former owner for sexual assault, hostile work environment

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DENVER (KDVR) — Four former employees from the Buffalo Exchange Colorado franchise stores filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday against former owner Patrick Todd Colletti and the vintage resale company.

Buffalo Exchange had three Colorado stores: two in Denver and one in Boulder. They were all closed in 2020 after an Instagram account, where former employees shared and exposed allegations, gained traction.

The lawsuit against Colletti and Buffalo Exchange’s corporate entities, filed in Colorado state court seeks damages, including economic restitution for the four employees — Alex Myers, Alyssa Detert, Amanda Pruess and Clara Pruess — and compensation to make up for harms and  injuries like mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, humiliation and impairment of quality of life.

The employees are represented by Ben Lebsack and Mary Jo Lowrey of the Denver law firm Lowrey, Parady, Lebsack.

During a press conference Tuesday, several of the employees named in the suit recounted personal experiences with Colletti.

“Despite trying to stay safe, this did not stop him poking at my sides, dumping water on me wearing a t-shirt,” former employee Clara Pruess said.

“The first time he assaulted me was in 2015 in the basement bar,” former employee Alyssa Detert said, adding, “I came to in the middle of the assault and he told me to relax. This wasn’t the last time he assaulted me.

Buffalo Exchange corporate sent FOX31 the following statement:

“We cannot comment on a legal filing that we have not seen. The Colorado franchise stores were owned by Justin Van Houten, Kathy Plache and other investors. We did not have control over their business operations, hiring, employee documentation, or terminations, including access to employee records or paperwork such as exit interviews. We were not the employer of any of the individuals asserting claims.”

“They saw the basement, the way he acted at corporate meetings, they were well aware of the dozens of complaints that went to them about Todd from ex-employees,” former employee Amanda Pruess said. “They know exactly what they said back to those ex-employees, how they claimed there was nothing they could do.”

Buffalo Exchange’s corporate vice president released an open letter in 2020 condemning the accusations and saying their relationship with Buffalo Exchange Colorado franchise stores is terminated.

FOX31 tried getting Colletti’s side at his registered address and two phone numbers but have not heard back.

According to court documents, there are no criminal charges against Colletti right now.

The Denver Police Department (DPD) tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers their sexual assault unit investigated accusations, but the district attorney’s office did not believe they could prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

DPD did say the case could be reopened if new evidence were made available.

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