A British-Greek billionaire media company owner and heir to a Coca-Cola bottling fortune was ordered to pay more than $58 million in damages on Monday after a Los Angeles jury found him liable for battery, sexual battery and sexual harassment against a former employee, the plaintiff’s attorney said.
It was the third verdict this year against 50-year-old Alkiviades “Alki” David, who has been accused of inappropriate behavior by former employees, according to the Los Angeles Times. David also drew controversy in May when he was arrested in the Caribbean with allegedly $1.3 million worth of cannabis plants aboard his private jet.
Jurors on Monday awarded $50 million in punitive damages to Mahim Khan, a former production assistant who worked at his Los Angeles-based firms, attorney Gloria Allred said. The same panel last week awarded $8.25 million in compensatory damages. Khan alleged in her lawsuit that in 2014 David thrust his pelvis into her face and simulated oral sex. Allred disclosed the name of her client in a news release.
“I hope the punitive damages verdict sends a message to Alki David to never, ever think of violating another woman’s body,” Khan said in a statement provided by Allred’s office.
David plans an appeal. In a statement Monday, he denied the claim and accused the judge of blocking witnesses who would have exonerated him.
“This trial proves that not only is the system broken. It’s in a state of emergency. It’s an emergency for employment law, for business and innovation in the state of California,” the statement said.
David is an heir of the Leventis-David Group, which holds the majority share in Coca-Cola Helenic, Europe’s largest bottling company. He heads several media firms based in Los Angeles, including FilmOn Networks, Alki David Productions Inc. and Hologram USA Networks Inc. The Leventis family is worth more than $388 million, according to 2018’s The Sunday Times Rich List. The UK-based publication estimates David is independently worth more than $2.8 billion.
A jury in April awarded another employee, 42-year-old Chasity Jones, $11.1 million, Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV reported. She said he fired her after she refused to have sex with him. She later agreed to a reduction in compensatory damages. Punitive damages remained at $8 million.
Last month, a jury found in favor of another woman, 36-year-old Lauren Reeves, who was awarded $650,000 in compensatory damages and $4.35 million in punitive damages. In 2016, she alleged David put his hands on her throat and pushed her chair into a wall, among other claims. According to her lawsuit, David told her that he needed to buy supplies for his “rape room,” the Times reported.
David faces two additional lawsuits, including a suit filed in 2016 was settled out of court. He’s has disputed the reports of sexual misconduct, saying, “I never touched any of these women.”
David remained belligerent, defiant and disruptive throughout his multiple trials in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to the Times. He frequently erupted in profanity-laced outbursts while mocking his accusers and their attorneys, earning him nearly $10,000 in sanctions; he was ejected from the courtroom on several occasions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.