Hedge fund star Paul Touradji bilked a pair of employees, including a fundraiser for the Trump campaign, out of nearly $50 million, a Manhattan jury decided late Thursday.
Touradji had refused to pay Robert Vollero and Gentry Beach for three years' worth of work and the jury awarded them a combined $45.7 million following a three-week trial.
Beach is a Dallas-based investor and college friend of Donald Trump Jr. who helped raise money for the Trump presidential campaign. He and Vollero were portfolio managers at Touradji Capital Management.
The jury found Touradji in breach of contract for an oral compensation agreement.
"This has been an 11 year battle for Vollero and Beach against what was once the largest commodities hedge fund in the world," said Mike Stolper of Stolper Group, who represented the two men along with David Greenberger of Bailey Duquette.
"The jury's verdict is justice for our clients," Greenberger said. "It has now been proven that Touradji Capital failed to honor its compensation agreements with Gentry and Rob, and that they engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever."
Touradji Capital did not immediately respond to a request for comment but in closing arguments defense attorney Sean O'Brien said Vollero and Beach were entitled to nothing.
"A central question is whether these two men, Gentry Beach and Robert Vollero have proven to you that they entered into more than one binding agreement independently, which they were contractually entitled to be paid fixed percentages of profits and certain investment costs, while not having to worry or take into account any of the losses," O'Brien said. "The answer to that question is no."
Hedge fund manager owes college friend of Trump Jr. millions of dollars, jury finds