Rudy Tomjanovich, testifying Tuesday in trial of a lawsuit alleging the former Laker coach and his wife sold a venture capitalist a Pacific Palisades home riddled with water seepage problems, said the residence seemed in good condition when he bought it 2.5 years earlier from "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis.
Questioned by Strata Capital founder Steven Bardack's attorney, H. James Keathley, Tomjanovich said he accompanied the man who wrote the real estate inspection report as they walked through the 6,600-square-foot residence on San Onofre Drive in 2004.
The former NBA player said he did not recall the inspector making any comments about evidence of water leaks in various places mentioned by Keathley, including the balconies.
"I asked him if there was anything in his opinion that should keep me from buying this home," Tomjanovich testified. Although the inspector replied no, he did say the home would need "frequent maintenance," Tomjanovich said.
Bardack maintains in his December 2008 lawsuit that the home had extensive water seepage and problems with mold that Tomjanovich and his wife, Sophie, did not disclose when they sold it.
Tomjanovich and his spouse say the only water intrusion they knew about was in the front entry. They have filed a cross-complaint against Coldwell Banker, the real estate company that represented both the couple and Bardack in the sale. Asked by Keathley if he read the inspector's report, Tomjanovich said he did not and that he doubted his wife did either. Nonetheless, Tomjanovich said, he believed he was making a good purchase.
"I left this meeting feeling good about that house," he said. "I did not get the feeling there were problems with that house."
Tomjanovich acknowledged there were many things the inspector told him that he did not understand.
"I'm a basketball coach, I know very little about construction," Tomjanovich said.
The couple sold Bardack the home for $6.5 million in 2007.
Francis bought the home in 1999 and enlarged it from its original size of 800 square feet, according to Tomjanovich attorney Paul Fine's court papers. He sold the residence to the Tomjanoviches for $4.25 million, Fine's court papers state.
Tomjanovich, now 63, resigned as the Lakers' coach after 41 games because of health issues.
Tomjanovich played in the NBA as a small forward for the Houston Rockets. In December 1977, he was punched by a Laker player during an on-court melee at The Forum in Inglewood and sidelined for five months.