Days after calling the opposing counsel a “fucktard,” reported billionaire Alki David on Tuesday lost a wrongful termination suit filed by a former employee who claimed he was axed for raising safety concerns at David’s hologram business. On Wednesday, the jury concluded that his company must pay out more than $7 million in damages.
Reached by phone, David, heir to a Coca-Cola bottling company, suggested he is likely to appeal the verdict. “I believe in the appeals process more than I do [a trial] in front of a jury that’s being manipulated by a perjuring group of lawyers,” he said.
He went on to allege that his long trail of legal trouble is the product of collusion between attorneys and court officials, an injustice he pledged to fight. “Their criminal system is gonna end up coming down because I have no choice but to defeat them,” he said.
Tuesday’s verdict involved allegations by a former employee at a subsidiary of Alki David Productions, Karl Zirpel, who claimed he was improperly fired after raising safety concerns prior to an event hosted by David’s company at a theater. In court filings, Zirpel said he told David that the event—intended to be a “star-studded” affair for the hologram business—lacked proper permitting, which risked “loss of life in the event of a fire.”
David allegedly grew enraged. He fired Zirpel and allegedly told him to “suck my dick.” He allegedly also called Zirpel, who is gay, a “f—t.”
David denied wrongdoing, telling The Daily Beast that he and Zirpel enjoyed a casual professional relationship, and that Zirpel had previously made suggestive comments. He insisted that he is not homophobic and emphasized that sexual harassment claims were dropped right before the start of the trial.
“I have gay relatives, I have gay this, gay that, you know?” he said. “I don’t see color very often, and I don’t see sexuality very often.”
David was not personally named as a defendant in the case. Attorneys for Zirpel, Nicholas Sarris and Stephen Wiard, said they will move to make him personally liable once a judgment is finalized.
“This is the craziest case that Stephen and I have ever dealt with,” Sarris said. “Never met someone like this guy.”
The initial verdict was first reported by the legal outlet Law360.
David has previously lost multiple cases involving serious allegations. In 2019, a jury awarded a former employee more than $10 million over charges that he fired her when she wouldn’t sleep with him. He suffered another seven-figure verdict after a comedy writer said he choked her and pushed her head into his crotch.
Around the same time, David was ordered to pay $58 million over allegations that he groped yet another employee. Other legal claims are currently playing out.
David vehemently denies the allegations and has appealed the verdicts. “Not a single fucking penny has been paid to anybody to date,” he said. “I’m a very, very generous person. I’m not a rapist. I’m not an abuser.”
(David was previously involved in unrelated litigation over a business dispute with Barry Diller, whose company IAC owns The Daily Beast.)
David and his family are worth more than $3.7 billion, according to The Sunday Times rich list. (He disputed that estimate, saying he is not a billionaire.)
He blames his temper on an accident that occurred when he was 18, when he was hit by a car, which left him in a coma for several days. “It took me many years to recover from the depression. And when I get agitated, I tend to shout as a result of that accident,” he said.
Case in point, perhaps: David reportedly asked to dial in via video feed for his testimony in the Zirpel trial, since he is not vaccinated against the coronavirus. He sometimes grew heated and, at one point, called the opposing counsel a “fucktard” when he thought he was muted.
For that he is unapologetic: “I don’t give a fuck,” he said.