Ben Jaquith faces another legal battle
Newberg businessman Ben Jaquith's legal problems continue to mount, as a local bank filed suit against him late last month.
The former agent for American Family Insurance, arrested on criminal charges in January and facing a pair of large civil lawsuits filed by Newberg women, is now the brunt of a lawsuit filed by Premier Community Bank in Newberg.
The complaint, filed April 23 in Yamhill County Circuit Court, alleges that Jaquith and his wife have defaulted on an $85,000 loan they secured in November 2016 for the operation a second agency, Jaquith Family Insurance (JFI).
"JFI defaulted under the terms of the loan agreement and subsequent changes in terms agreements by failing to pay the monthly payments as agreed," the breach of contract complaint states. "The last payment on the loan was $500 on January 29, 2018."
The bank is seeking repayment of the balance of the loan, $84,709, late charges of $34, interest accrued as of the filing date, $1,467, plus interest of $15.88 per diem until the loan is paid. A second claim for relief by the bank seeks the same amount in punitive damages as well as attorney fees and other reimbursements.
Jaquith is scheduled to appear Wednesday (May 9) before Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday for a hearing on the six misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual assault charges filed against him in January. The charges came about after five local women alleged Jaquith made unwanted sexual advances toward them in the work place and in social settings over a two-year period.
Attempts to contact Jaquith and his counsel, McMinnville attorney Abraham Hanson, have been unsuccessful. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Harmon.
The 38-year-old was discharged from his job as an agent for American Family Insurance soon after the allegations arose, according to a spokesman for the business.
Two of the five women that came forward to accuse him of inappropriate sexual advances filed civil suits in Yamhill County Circuit Court.
In early February, Robin Sikkins, owner of Social Goods: Toys, Taps, Café, sought redress against Jaquith, claiming battery, assault, negligent infliction of emotional distress and defamation. The suit seeks upwards of $750,000 in economic and non-economic damages.
Jaquith is the target of a second lawsuit originally field in November 2017 in Multnomah County Circuit Court by Stephanie Johnson, a former employee at Jaquith Family Insurance. The venue for the lawsuit was changed to Yamhill County some months later.
Johnson's lawsuit seeks economic damages not to exceed $300,000 for back pay, front pay, loss of benefits and future earning capacity, as well as non-economic damages not to exceed $300,000 for mental suffering and emotional distress.
The suit also claims battery in a January 2015 incident at a work retreat at a beach house in Lincoln City, where she said she resisted numerous unwanted sexual advances by Jaquith. That portion of the lawsuit seeks non-economic damages not to exceed $200,000.