In September 2015, Lisa was working as a pier attendant at the Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier when her boss, public works director Charles DaBrusco, called her into the bathroom to check out a broken toilet. Once the two were inside, however, it became clear he hadn't summoned her for a maintenance issue.
DaBrusco blocked the exit with his body, squeezed her butt, and leaned in for a kiss. His lips landed on her left cheek as she quickly turned her face to avoid him. As she tried to leave, DaBrusco — a man who outweighed her by 100 pounds — grabbed her arm and told her how much he "loves black women," she says.
The accusations are laid out in a new sexual harassment lawsuit against DaBrusco and the City of Deerfield Beach, filed December 19 in Broward Circuit Court. New Times is using a pseudonym for the plaintiff to protect her privacy due to the nature of the complaint. Neither the city nor DaBrusco responded to multiple requests for comment.
Immediately after the incident in the restroom, Lisa says, she told the story to a fellow pier attendant, who later confirmed the conversation to investigators. Lisa also informed her supervisor, who says the complaint made it up the chain to the director of Parks and Recreation and, eventually, the city manager. But Lisa says she never heard about any discipline against DaBrusco — a week after the incident, he even showed up at the pier to confront her, she says.
"DaBrusco told [Lisa] he didn't care if she had reported the incident because they weren't going to do anything to him anyway," an investigative report says.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office opened a criminal investigation at Lisa's request in March 2016, confirming that the other pier attendant and Lisa's supervisor had both been informed of the incident. Despite the fact that Lisa's story remained consistent in multiple interviews, however, DaBrusco denied grabbing her butt or kissing her in the restroom. Because there were no witnesses or cameras, BSO says there was no probable cause to arrest DaBrusco. (The case has since been marked as "pending
According to the lawsuit, the incident in the restroom was not the first time DaBrusco has been accused of such behavior. Prior to 2015, the complaint says, DaBrusco "had been sexually harassing females in the workplace," including several occasions where he directly sexually propositioned Lisa at work. Even DaBrusco's supervisor, who is a woman, had been "inappropriately grabbed by DaBrusco in the workplace," according to the lawsuit, which says she did nothing as a manager to correct his repeated behavior.
Lisa's attorney, Christopher Rush, says she had already filed actions with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, which paved the way for the new lawsuit. To date, he says DaBrusco has never been punished.
"Let's put it this way: He retained his position," Rush tells New Times. "At this point in the litigation, I'm not aware of any evidence of any discipline whatsoever taken against him."
The Deerfield Beach city attorney's office didn't respond to multiple calls seeking clarification about DaBrusco's disciplinary record and comment about the pending lawsuit.