Robert Kovacik, Sean Browning
An attorney for Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee told NBC LA in an exclusive television interview that his client is looking forward to clearing his name of assault charges.
The co-founder of the frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry used a tire iron in June to attack a homeless man whose sexually explicit tattoo angered him, according to court documents filed this week.
Donald K. Bolding, claims Young Lee, a former kickboxer and bouncer, brutally attacked him on June 15, 2011 and violated his civil rights, according to a civil complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Bolding, described in court documents as a homeless transient and beggar at the time of the alleged beating, said he was standing near a Hollywood Freeway off-ramp at Vermont Avenue, asking drivers for money, when Lee drove by in a rented Range Rover, court records said.
As Lee’s vehicle approached, Bolding was changing his sweatshirt, exposing a sexually explicit tattoo, which angered Lee, court records said.
“Instead of driving away with his passengers as a reasonable person would have done or rolling up his window, or just ignoring the plaintiff, Lee, having taken deep offense of the tattoo, rolled down the window and began an argument with the plaintiff,” wrote Bolding’s attorney Gary Casselman, in court papers.
A message left for Lee’s Santa Monica attorney Phillip Cohen was not immediately returned. But in an interview with NBC shortly after Lee's Jan. 30 arrest, Cohen said his client is innocent.
Casselman said his client suffered a concussion and still has headaches.
His client is currently in custody on a non-violent drug offense, Casselman added.
“We’re going to a jury trial unless we resolve it by settlement,” Casselman said.
Court documents lay out what happened on that Hollywood off-ramp on June 15, 2011.
Lee parked his SUV on Vermont, got a tire iron out of the vehicle and continued to argue with Bolding, court documents said.
At one point, Lee demanded that Bolding kneel and apologize, which he did.
Lee then chased and kicked and beat Bolding with the tire iron, court records show.
Bolding, who was not armed, broke his arm and suffered cuts and other injuries, court papers say.
Passersby called 911 and gave authorities the license plate number of Lee’s vehicle.
Lee left the country following the incident, traveling to Korea and England, court papers say.
Lee was arrested Jan. 30 at LAX by an Los Angeles and FBI fugitive task force.
The complaint, which demands a jury trial, seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Lee is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on May 9 in the criminal case.