By City News Service and Outlook Valley Sun Staff
A jury has found that the founder of the multimillion-dollar real estate business Kobeissi Properties in La Cañada Flintridge sexually abused his cousins when they were children and awarded the now-adult brothers more than $12 million each for past and future pain and suffering.
The Burbank Superior Court jury reached its verdict on July 28 in the case brought by the plaintiffs against Mike Kobeissi, who came to the United States from Lebanon as a teenager in 1982, according to a press release from a public relations firm representing the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
While staying with his uncle, Hussein Kobeissi, the businessman allegedly began to sexually abuse the two brothers by going into their rooms late at night. The abuse allegedly took place for more than a decade.
Kobeissi married the siblings’ older sister, who is the businessman’s first cousin, in order to more easily continue the molestation, the plaintiffs alleged in the suit brought in October 2018 alleging sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Defense attorney Jerry Kaplan said Monday that the jury vote in favor of the plaintiffs was 9-3 and that the dissenters believed nothing happened to the brothers.
“We think it’s a miscarriage of justice,” Kaplan said. “We’re going to appeal and do everything we can to turn it around.”
Kobeissi sent a statement to the Outlook Valley Sun about the verdict, saying he and his family are “devastated by the recent news going around. I vehemently deny any type of the behavior that are alleged by our cousins, Dan and Brad. It is very simple, these events did not happen.”
The plaintiffs alleged that in order to keep the brothers from reporting the abuse, Mike Kobeissi would try to convince them it was normal activity and shower them with gifts. He also would claim he was teaching them how sex with women worked and that “you just need to release it once in a while,” according to the plaintiffs.
Mike Kobeissi also would lavish them with expensive video games, toy cars and other presents that young boys their age found exciting, the plaintiffs maintained.
The plaintiffs did not fully realize what had happened to them as children until they were adults, according to the plaintiffs’ court papers.
“These cases are about holding the abusers responsible, keeping them from raping and molesting others, and hopefully helping the survivors find some level of closure,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Alexander Gamez.
Mike Kobeissi, meanwhile, said in his statement he will be appealing the ruling, and referenced the devastation he and his wife recently faced.
“It was only months ago that my wife and I lost our beautiful daughter,” he said. “Now, we have to fight for our livelihood by members of my family who seek to destroy and defame me. Dan and Brad have never missed the opportunity to seek a handout their entire lives, and now as I had enough of their financial desire, they decided to falsely accuse me of these heinous crimes.
“I look forward to appealing this incorrect decision.”