Wife of Ex-Lakers Coach Claims Only Home Defects Were Water Leaks

Former Laker Coach Rudy Tomjanovich and his wife, Sophie, are liable for up to $3.8 million in damages for not disclosing extensive water leaks and alleged mold within a Pacific Palisades home they sold in 2007.

The wife of former Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich testified Monday that she and her husband disclosed to Strata Capital founder Steven Bardack all they knew about water leaks when they sold the hedge fund manager their Pacific Palisades home for $6.5 million in 2007.

Sophie Tomjanovich also said the couple kept the 6,600-square-foot home tidy after they bought it 2.5 years earlier from "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis.

"That's how we were raised, to take care and keep things organized and cleaned," she told the Los Angeles Superior Court jury.

Bardack maintains in his that the home had extensive water leaks and problems with mold that the Tomjanoviches did not tell him about when they sold it. Bardack also named his real estate agents, Coldwell Banker, as defendants.

The Tomjanoviches say the only water intrusion they knew about was in the front entry.

Questioned by one of the couple's attorneys, Maureen Michail, Sophie Tomjanovich said she never saw any water leaks in the windows or doorways, or any mold anywhere in the home.

She said the couple did not try to hide anything from Bardack.

"We wanted to do the best of our ability do disclose everything we knew," she said.

The couple's lead attorney, Paul Fine, said Tomjanovich and his wife bought the home on San Onofre Drive after his client was hired to replace Phil Jackson when the legendary ex-Lakers coach left after his initial stint with the team.

Francis bought the home in 1999 and enlarged it from its original size of 800 square feet, according to 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 and almost killed by Laker Kermit Washington during an on-court melee at The Forum in Inglewood. He was sidelined for five months.


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