Judge awards jilted hus­band $8.8 mil­lion after his wife’s af­fair

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY VIR­GINIA BRIDGES [email protected]­ald­sun.com Vir­ginia Bridges: 919- 829- 8924, @vir­giniabridges

A Durham County judge awarded the owner of a BMX bike stunt show com­pany more than $8.8 mil­lion from the man he said se­duced his wife and ru­ined his mar­riage.

Su­pe­rior Court Judge Or­lando Hud­son awarded Keith King more than $2.2 mil­lion in com­pen­satory dam­ages and three times that in puni­tive dam­ages from Fran­cisco Huizar III of San An­to­nio, Texas. Huizar’s at­tor­ney said they will ap­peal.

In the civil com­plaint filed in April 2017, King ac­cused Huizar of crim­i­nal con­ver­sa­tion, alien­ation of af­fec­tion, in­ten­tional in­flic­tion of emo­tional dis­tress, neg­li­gent in­flic­tion of emo­tional dis­tress and as­sault and bat­tery.

North Carolina is one of a hand­ful of states that let jilted spouses sue peo­ple for crim­i­nal con­ver­sa­tion when the per­son has sex with a mar­ried per­son be­fore sep­a­ra­tion, and for alien­ation of af­fec­tion when “gen­uine love and af­fec­tion” has been de­stroyed by the per­son.

Some law­suits have yielded sig­nif­i­cant dam­ages, in­clud­ing a $30 mil­lion penalty in a 2011 Wake County case. Abil­ity to pay is not a fac­tor in com­pen­satory dam­ages, but a judge may con­sider it when levy­ing puni­tive dam­age.

Keith and Danielle King mar­ried April 3, 2010, in Durham, and they now have a 5-year-old daugh­ter, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mony.

BMX AND STUNT SHOWS

Keith King be­came in­ter­ested in bike stunts when he re­ceived an Evel Knievel bike for Christ­mas in 1976. He later founded BMX Stunt Shows.

“Once what was only a dream be­came a re­al­ity as Keith made his mark as a pro­fes­sional flat­lander, com­pet­ing in both the 1997 and 1998 X Games,” the com­pany’s web­site states. “What sets Keith and the King BMX Stunt Shows apart from other stunt shows is that to this day he still rides com­pet­i­tively in his own shows, as well as be­ing an out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate for the sport.”

The web­site states the shows fea­ture some of the top ramp rid­ers in BMX, along with flat­land rid­ers, in­line skaters and skate­board­ers.

How­ever, King’s at­tor­ney, Joanne Foil, said the af­fair and an as­sault by Huizar cost BMX Stunt Shows rev­enue and an employee — Danielle King worked for the com­pany — and re­quired her client to spend more money on house­hold help, child care, and coun­sel­ing.

Huizar’s at­tor­ney, Cheri Pa­trick, said Huizar was not re­spon­si­ble for a mar­riage that was dam­aged be­fore her client met Danielle King.

Keith King, who is 15 years older than his wife, con­trolled her ac­cess to money, ma­nip­u­lated her low self-es­teem, brought porn into the re­la­tion­ship, looked through her phone ev­ery other week, put her to work with­out pay, and con­tin­ued to sched­ule shows after she said it was too much work and she needed help with her daugh­ter, Pa­trick said. He tracked her move­ments and in­sisted she keep her hair blond, and wear biki­nis and high heels, Pa­trick said.

“This mar­riage needed one more blow be­fore it was over,” Pa­trick said.

In tes­ti­mony, Danielle King said she pur­sued Huizar and that the mar­riage had been un­happy from the first year.

Pa­trick also ques­tioned ex­pense es­ti­mates pro­vided by Keith King’s ex­perts and fi­nan­cial state­ments show­ing his com­pany’s rev­enue drop­ping from nearly $400,000 in 2015 to about $125,000 in 2017.

HOW THEY MET

In Au­gust 2015, Danielle King met Huizar dur­ing a BMX show in New York where he was work­ing at an in­sur­ance com­pany booth, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony. He makes about $84,000 a year as a mar­ket­ing tour man­ager, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony.

Keith King had gone to New York with his wife and daugh­ter, but he left to go to an­other show in Colorado.

“When he left, guess who moved right on in,” Foil said.

On Aug. 28, 2015, Keith King saw phone calls to a strange num­ber on his phone bill and called Huizar and asked him to leave his wife alone. He thought the af­fair was over at that point, Foil said.

But on Aug. 31, 2015, Huizar rented a room less than a mile from the Kings’ home. He re­turned once in Septem­ber, twice in Oc­to­ber and three times in Novem­ber, tes­ti­mony in­di­cated.

“And that doesn’t count the times where he met her else­where,” Foil said.

From mid-Au­gust 2015 to Dec. 10, 2015, Huizar and Danielle King spoke on the phone more than 6,187 min­utes, Foil said.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, Keith King gave his wife a spa week­end at the beach for her birth­day after she asked for a peace­ful week- end. She posted on Face­book prais­ing her hus­band for the gift.

“Guess who the heck tagged along?” Foil said. “Mr. Huizar.”

“He just con­ve­niently popped up,” Foil said. “There is no way that this mar­riage could have hu­manly been saved with the level of this man’s in­volve­ment.”

In an­other meet­ing, the King fam­ily was on a beach va­ca­tion around spring 2016 when Huizar rented a place nearby, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony.

Tes­ti­mony started in the case in June, but was de­layed over time due to court sched­ules, and re­sumed on Mon­day.

When Hud­son is­sued his rul­ing, he said it was “a text­book case” of how not to end a mar­riage in North Carolina and the hand­ful of other states that al­low alien­ation of af­fec­tion and crim­i­nal con­ver­sa­tion law­suits.

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