Newly-minted Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is attempting to leave his life behind in the City of Houston. However, that former existence continues to follow him to Cleveland.
It seems while he was a member of the Houston Texans, Deshaun wasn’t satisfied with spending his days off at his swanky six bedroom/five bath home on Legend Manor Drive in the upscale Royal Oaks Country Club subdivision. Maybe his pool with attached Jacuzzi just was n’t his form of relaxing.
Instead, I liked to unwind at the Houstonian Hotel just off I-610.
This hotel sits on 18-acres and includes a hotel, seven restaurants, a coffee shop, World-Class spa, tennis courts, whirlpool, an aquatics center, fitness center and 33,890 square feet of meeting space within its conference center. One of the eating establishments is actually a walk shoppe. The hotel’s location is close to both Uptown and Downtown.
In the 1980s, George HW Bush utilized the Houstonian as his official voting residence in Suite 271.
In addition to President Bush, the Houstonian attracts many of the city’s elite plus celebrities because of its many luxury facilities but also it is hidden away in one of the most exclusive areas of Houston.
And Deshaun was one of those celebrities.
According to court records, Deshaun had an account at the Houstonian. He had his marketing manager prearrange to acquire rooms there for the quarterback usually on his practice days off.
And the Houstonian Hotel is something else: part of the fight for pretrial evidence in the 22 civil suits against him.
There has been increased scrutiny over Deshaun Watson’s activity at The Houstonian, the upscale hotel where at least two women say the QB exposed himself to them and touched them with his genitals during massage sessions in 2020. @Schrotenboer have more. https://t.co/WF0NT1IG0i
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) April 21, 2022
There are 22 women who have sued Deshaun accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. According to some of these documents, rooms at the Houstonian were used for some of these women to show up and give him massages. These same documents also state that the sexual misconduct occurred during his stays with him.
The attorney for all 22 women is Tony Buzbee. I have stated to USAToday:
“He takes women in some of these cases to The Houstonian, which (offers luxury massage services to customers), but he’s bringing in women who aren’t even licensed in massage?”
In one of these documents, it states Deshaun met a massage therapist on Instagram, then two weeks later flew her from Atlanta to the Houstonian for a massage. She claims during this session sexual misconduct occurred.
Another woman he met on Snapchat and she performed four massage sessions at the Houstonian in 2020. According to her in this document, his sexual behavior became more aggressive each visit with sexual misconduct occurring during several of these sessions.
All along Deshaun has stated that he is innocent. Two Texas county grand juries have looked at all the evidence and did not recommend any criminal charges against him. He then inked a record $230 million contract with the Browns as their new quarterback.
The 22 civil lawsuits were postponed until spring of 2023 but are on track to proceed. Part of those suits is to attempt to gather information that Deshaun’s actions were continuous and provide a pattern. That is why his repeated stays of him at the Houstonian are being sought.
Buzbee notes that the Houstonian has use of a luxury massage and spa center just three miles from the hotel with free shuttle services and discounted rates for guests. He wondered why Deshaun sought outside sessions rather than using what was available to him.
Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey is another attorney for the 22 women. She expressed that evidence shows that Deshaun has a repeated pattern of scheduling female massage therapists through social media outlets for the purpose of having sex or assorted sex acts and not getting just a massage even though the idea wasn’t mutual nor consensual.
“The burning question in the jury’s mind, I believe, will be why did he not use the facilities that were available” to him instead of looking for massages with people he didn’t know on social media.”
A court filing by the plaintiffs resulted in a hearing several weeks ago. In that proceeding, the judge compelled Deshaun to provide detailed accounts of all massage treatments with payment information from March 2019 to March 2020.
The attorneys for the 22 women are now seeking documentation regarding the Houstonian including records of payments made to the hotel, which rooms were rented and duration of stay, and any correspondence between the Texans and Deshaun from 2019-2021 regarding the hotel.
In a pretrial deposition in February, Deshaun’s marketing manager, Bryan Burney, did state that he sometimes arranged to get hotel rooms for Deshaun to get massages.
In the deposition, Buzbee asked Burney, “When Deshaun Watson asks you, ‘Hey, man, get me a room at The Houstonian; I want a massage,’ how do you bill him for that, or do you?”
Burney’s response was:
“I don’t bill him because he had an account with The Houstonian, so there was nothing to bill him on.”
It was also noted that during this time-frame, the pandemic forced massage establishments to close including the one the Houstonian uses. However, the hotel did open a sister spa called Solaya that same month.
Currently, Deshaun is required to provide the courts with specific massage information with dates, therapists used with locations. He is to provide this information by May 6.
The Houstonian said it does not provide information on customers and declined comment on Deshaun or his account.
Meanwhile, the NFL is conducting its own investigation and is monitoring these developments. However, it is unlikely they will suspend or fine him for a violation of his personal conduct policy – if at all – until all of the civil suits are concluded.