MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins’ rough landing way short of the playoff runway last month is nothing compared to the serious turbulence ahead for the team’s Miami-based air charter company.
Miami Air International, which started flying the Dolphins to their games on specially outfitted Boeing 737s after the team was dumped by American Airlines early last year, just got slapped with a federal lawsuit that reveals ugly allegations of rape and coverup.
The lawsuit alleges the company fired a flight attendant because she refused to surrender cellphone records and text messages dealing with the alleged rape of a colleague by a pilot on an overnight assignment Sept. 29-30 in Chicago.
The incident does not appear to involve air personnel on flights for the Dolphins or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also use Miami Air. The Fins played in London that weekend and the Steelers were in Baltimore to play the Ravens.
The lawsuit claims flight attendant Tashana Brown, a Hollywood resident who happens to be also an Association of Flight Attendants representative, was shown the door Dec. 7 after 20 years of loyal service.
It so happens the firing by Miami Air CEO Kurt Kamrad came just two months after the company’s 120 flight attendants represented by Brown voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike over schedule and pay.
And now, the AFA is suing for violation of the Railway Labor Act, a federal law that prohibits an employer from interfering with collective bargaining.
“This lawsuit is about a flight attendant who was wrongly terminated and a company that’s not bargaining in good faith,” said AFA spokeswoman Taylor Garland.
If you believe the charter company, however, the firing is about something else.
According to a letter from Miami Air to Brown filed with the complaint, Kamrad fired Brown over her refusal to surrender cellphone logs and text message exchanges with five fellow employees and potential witnesses to “serious sexual harassment … involving sexual assault and rape” of a flight attendant by a pilot.
Kamrad’s letter explains the company is investigating a possible crime and accuses Brown of “obstructionism.”
Kamrad called Brown’s behavior “a lapse of judgement and disregard for a fellow employee” the likes of which he’s never seen at Miami Air.
The lawsuit, however, claims airline officials have no right the demand the records because they involve confidential exchanges between a union rep and union members.
When reached at his desk today at Miami Air headquarters, Kamrad said he had no comment.
Brown didn’t return a call seeking her comment.