In video deposition testimony played Wednesday for a jury, actress Tara Reid said she believed a then-Blue Shield of California executive she was dating or one of his friends took sexually suggestive photos of her at a bowling alley in 2015.
The “American Pie” actress was questioned by attorneys for both sides in Aaron Kaufman’s lawsuit against the insurer, which is now before a Los Angeles Superior Court jury.
`I’m pretty sure it was him or one of his friends, Reid said. “I don’t know for sure, to be honest.”
Asked why the photos were taken, Reid replied, “We were just having fun.”
Questioned why she did not include Kaufman’s name on social media posts she made with the photos, the 41-year-old actress answered, “I don’t put anyone’s name or my boyfriends in my posts.”
Kaufman alleged he was fired for reporting that his boss, Michael Mathias, might have been taking kickbacks from a vendor in a data collection project. But Judge Mark Mooney dismissed that part of his case Tuesday and said jurors will only decide whether Kaufman was wrongfully denied a scheduled bonus.
Blue Shield lawyers say Kaufman was not entitled to the bonus because he was fired for cause before he was scheduled to receive it. They also say Kaufman lost his job due to excessive spending and because he organized the event in which the Reid photos were taken.
They maintain BSC’s reputation was hurt because of the photos, which include one in which Reid was straddling two bowling balls at the Lucky Strike Lanes with her top off and her bra on in San Francisco in January 2015.
Even though Kaufman was not in the photo and there was no mention of BSC in the image, he was responsible for the participants’ conduct, Blue Shield lawyers say. They also say the incident and photos caused negative internal chatting within the company and publicity in the media.
Kaufman was hired in March 2013 as Blue Shield’s vice president and chief technology officer at an annual salary of $350,000. He testified earlier in the trial that he was elsewhere in the bowling alley when the photos were taken and ended his relationship with Reid after he found out about them.
“I asked her why she did that,” Kaufman testified. “She said, `I do this stuff.’ This is how she behaves.”
In her testimony, Reid said Kaufman never told her he worked for Blue Shield or that he was married. She said she was distressed to find out that he had a wife.
“I was really upset and called my mom crying,” Reid said. “It was the ultimate betrayal.”
Reid said she and Kaufman did not celebrate Valentine’s Day together in 2015.
“I would say I kicked him out at least a week before,” Reid said.
One of Kaufman’s questionable expenses was for a trip to Australia in 2014, where he claimed to have attended an Australian Medical Association conference at the G20 summit, according to Blue Shield’s lawyers.
Mathias previously testified that he approved Kaufman’s flight expenses to Australia, thinking that he was attending the conference. In reality there was no health-related event at the summit, according to BSC attorneys, who say Kaufman actually went to join Reid during a premiere of her movie, “Charlie’s Farm.”
Reid testified she was with Kaufman in Australia for about a week, but that there were times when they were apart, such as “if I took a shower or if I did certain things. It’s not like I was his babysitter.”
Blue Shield’s countersuit against Kaufman asks the jury to find that he should reimburse the company the $86,000 the lawyer said the plaintiff owes the insurer.
—City News Service
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