THUMBS-DOWN: A jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday found Georges Marciano, a Beverly Hills-based entrepreneur who is running for governor of California as an Independent, liable for about $370 million in damages for defaming five of his former employees. Marciano, who no longer has ties to Guess Inc., filed a lawsuit in August 2007 alleging that one of the ex-workers embezzled money and stole items from him, including valuable artworks by Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, among others, along with wines from his collection and other property. The complaint was amended in February 2008 to include the four other defendants. It was dismissed in December. The former employees then filed cross-complaints against Marciano, and a judge in May found him liable for defamation and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. In the second phase of the proceedings, the jury on Tuesday found Marciano liable for about $69 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for each plaintiff. Marciano couldn’t be reached for comment. Georges Marciano left Guess in 1992 and his brothers, Maurice, Paul and Armand, subsequently bought his shares for $240 million. Since then, he has been an avid collector and businessman.
JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: After sponsoring a competition for 11th-grade students at New York’s High School of Fashion Industries earlier this year, Allegri has decided to put the winning designs into production for a line of unisex rain boots and an umbrella. “We did not plan to manufacture all of the results of this project, but when we saw what fascinating designs the students produced, we decided to manufacture eights pairs of boots and one umbrella for the season,” said Gian Maria Argentini, chief executive officer of the Vinci, Italy-based luxury outerwear company. The colorfully patterned boots will retail for $100 to $130 this fall, while an umbrella will sell for $75. A hangtag on the products will list the names of the students who participated, and Allegri is making a four-figure donation to the high school for design supplies.