Owners of Schuba’s Tavern, Lincoln Hall and the Audiotree music label who are accused of secretly taking in Nanny and her friend
The co-founder of the music label Audiotree and owner of Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall is charged in a criminal and civil case of setting up hidden cameras to record his nanny and her boyfriend.
The lawsuit alleges that Michael Johnston, 38, and his wife Kelly Johnston took in the nanny and her friend while they were undressing or bathing. One of the cameras was hidden in a picture frame pointed at a bathtub, which the two were complained about.
Michael Johnston faces a separate crime charge of unauthorized videotaping. His wife was not charged.
Johnston co-founded Audiotree and bought Schubas and Lincoln Hall with his father in 2015. He was sacked as President and CEO of Schubas Tavern, Lincoln Hall, Audiotree and Tied House on November 12, according to a joint statement.
Days earlier, on November 9th, Johnston was arrested in Lake View and released the next morning, according to police files. A judge ordered him not to have any contact with the witnesses, the Cook County prosecutor said. He will be on trial again on Wednesday.
According to the lawsuit, the Johnstons placed motion-activated cameras in private areas around the house to record the women without their consent. The nanny found the hidden cameras in February 2020 after noticing one of them in a picture frame pointed at a bathtub.
The video shows Michael Johnston moving a camera to capture a whirlpool tub in the master bedroom, the lawsuit says. Johnston is seen standing in the bathtub checking the video on a cellphone to make sure it was positioned correctly, according to the lawsuit.
Before Kelly Johnston left town, Kelly Johnston encouraged the girls to use this bathtub while they looked after the couple’s two children, the lawsuit says.
“We feel it is important to draw attention to the harm that can occur if someone’s privacy is violated – the long-term effects and trauma for victims,” said Gail Eisenberg, attorney for the two women who were roommates at the time and graduates of DePaul University.
She said the cameras were not regular nanny cams that were already in areas around the house but were placed in private areas like the bathroom.
The lawsuit tells of an alleged incident two weeks after the woman was hired as a nanny in 2019. The woman told her to organize a box of sex toys in her bedroom closet that would make the woman “extremely uncomfortable,” the suit claims.
In an email, Johnston’s attorney Damon Cheronis said, “Mr. Johnston takes these allegations seriously and will continue to go through appropriate legal process. “
The lawsuit seeks more than $ 75,000 in damages.