Update 3:21 p.m. Tuesday:
Former Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich and his wife were ordered Tuesday to pay $250,000 in punitive damages, on top of nearly $3 million in compensatory damages, to a money manager for selling him a Pacific Palisades home replete with water leaks and mold.
The decision by the Los Angeles Superior Court came four days after the same panel ordered the couple to pay Strata Capital founder Steven Bardack the compensatory damages. The jury found the couple acted with malice, triggering today's punitive damages phase in which the former NBA player said his personal worth was just under $12 million.
Original: Former Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich broke down Tuesday as he described to jurors the emotional and financial impact of their decision to order him and his wife to pay more than $2.7 million to a money manager for selling him a Pacific Palisades home rife with water seepage and mold.
"I was completely blind-sided; it was completely unexpected," Tomjanovich said of last Friday's verdict in favor of Strata Capital founder Steven Bardack. "It was devastating emotionally and financially. Everything that I worked for all these years was crushed."
He said his wife, Sophie, was so distraught she could not come to court today.
"She's a wreck," Tomjanovich said. "She can't stand up. She's at home now with the kids in Houston."
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger called a brief recess to allow Tomjanovich to compose himself.
Tomjanovich's testimony came during the second phase of trial to determine whether punitive damages should be assessed against the couple, a process triggered when the jury found they acted with malice toward Bardack.
Bardack's lawyer, H. James Keathley, suggested the jury award Bardack $3 million, representing the profit the Tomjanoviches earned on the house with interest since the 2007 sale. Keathley also said Tomjanovich did not disclose all his financial assets for the punitive damages phase, repeating what the lawyer alleged was a pattern of non-disclosure that began when the coach and his wife hid the home's defects from his client.
"It's the same course of conduct engaged in throughout the trial," Keathley said.
Keathley said Tomjanovich earned $44 million to $66 million during a lengthy coaching career, most of it with the Houston Rockets, yet now asserts his total assets are just under $12 million. He questioned what Tomjanovich did with the balance of the money.
However, the Tomjanoviches' lawyer, Paul Fine, said the coach is being honest about his true current worth. He urged the jury to award no punitive damages.
"You have sent a very loud, clear message to them," he said. "The Tomjanoviches are not going to be non-disclosing in the future."
Tomjanovich bought the home from "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis for $4.25 million in 2004 when he signed on as the Lakers coach. But Tomjanovich resigned after 41 games due to health issues. He said he has bladder cancer and a heart condition.
Tomjanovich, 63, said he still remains with the Lakers in a $25,000-a-year consulting role so he can get health insurance.
Tomjanovich, who played in the NBA as a small forward for the Houston Rockets, was punched and almost killed during an on-court melee at the Forum in Inglewood in December 1977. He was sidelined for five months and said he still receives $75,000 annually under a settlement from the attack.
Another phase of trial is scheduled to begin at a still undetermined date against other defendants, including Francis.
Strata Capital is no longer in existence. Bardack said he let the business run its course earlier this year.