UPDATE: On Monday Bikram Choudhury was ordered to pay $924,500 in compensatory damages for sexually harassing and retaliating by firing his former legal advisor, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden. Tuesday, the jury ordered an additional $6.47 million be paid in punitive damages.
“I want to thank my trial team for standing by me during this fight against a very rich, powerful and dangerous man,” Jafa-Bodden said. “I wanted to make sure he didn’t get away with what he did to me and my daughter and hundreds of yoga students who trusted him with their time, money and bodies.”
However, seeing any of that awarded money may be harder than they thought. Bikram claims he’s bankrupt.
Via NY Daily News:
He told jurors he had no income at all last year and his collection of more than 30 luxury cars has been promised to California Gov. Jerry Brown for a children’s school dedicated to automotive engineering.
“I am one of the most expert man in the world, recognized by the whole world to build cars,” Choudhury said of his school claim.
He testified that his Beverly Hills mansion is mortgaged, his Hawaii property is just “an apartment” and his once-profitable business training teachers in his eponymous yoga program hasn’t turned a profit in years.
“We are in red. I had to borrow the money to pay bills and salaries,” he said on the witness stand.
Jafa-Bodden’s lawyers call his bankruptcy claims a “sham” and are set on collecting all the money, all $7.4 million of it.
“We’ll do it. It will take some time and perseverance, but we’ll get it done,” lawyer Carla Minnard said.
“We are asking you to take some action to stop this guy,” lawyer Mark Quigley told the jury Tuesday. “He’s out of control — completely out of control. He simply thinks that he is God and he can do whatever he wants to do,” Quigley said.
Taking the stand earlier this month was former White House lawyer Petra Clarke who’s filed her own unlawful termination suit against Choudhury. Starke told jurors that Choudhury led a “crazy” work environment with a “sexually charged atmosphere.”
Starke testified that she instituted strict sexual harassment policies and training when she took over as CEO and was shocked when she later witnessed Choudhury receiving oral sex from a teaching student in a limo, Quigley said.
“He went to (the training). He knows what’s right and wrong, and then he’s getting sex in the back of a limo five feet away from the CEO who put the policy in place,” Quigley said.
As we mentioned previously, this is only the beginning of courtroom time for Bikram Choudhury. With six lawsuits stacked against him (with however many more to come, because honestly there doesn’t seem to be an end to them) things are just heating up for the man of hot yoga. Next trial begins in April.