GUESS Co-Founder To Pay Ex-Employeess $370M For Defamation
$370m, oh my God……
On his campaign website for the governorship of California, Guess Jeans co-founder Georges Marciano declares he is “Fighting for the Forgotten Average Citizen” and “Putting People First, Not the Rich”. These sentiments may come as a surprise to the five former employees who have just won $370m (£225m) in a defamation lawsuit against him, brought after he wrongly accused them of conspiring to embezzle his money, fine wines and art collection.
In one of the largest awards in US courts this year, the five employees, including a computer technician, an office manager and a receptionist, will each get $69m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages, according to the Los Angeles County superior court verdict.
The civil defamation lawsuit came after Marciano sued the five employees in August 2007, accusing them of stealing his emails and other personal information, and conspiring to sell valuable wine from his collection and commit one of the largest art thefts in US history, including works by Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Jeff Wall, Jim Dine and Roy Lichtenstein. He claimed that the assets allegedly stolen were worth $413m.
His lawsuit was thrown out in December 2008, but the employees filed a cross-complaint, alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A judge found Marciano liable in May.
The five former employees testified that their reputations were ruined after Marciano sent emails and letters to law enforcement agencies and other parties accusing them of theft and fraud.