Warrant issued for Bikram yoga founder beset by legal woes
A Los Angeles judge Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for the founder of Bikram yoga, who’s been ordered to hand over proceeds from his global fitness business to satisfy a $6.8-million judgment won by a former legal advisor.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton issued the warrant for Bikram Choudhury and set bail at $8 million.
No lawyers appeared for Choudhury, who claimed last year that he was nearly bankrupt.
The award was won by Minakshi “Micki” Jafa-Bodden, who claimed Choudhury fired her when she refused to help him cover up a rape allegation.
Her attorney, Carla Minnard, says they’ve tracked luxury vehicles and other property that Choudhury moved out of state and have court orders in Nevada and Florida preventing him from moving property from warehouses.
Jafa-Bodden worked as head of legal and international affairs at Choudhury’s Los Angeles yoga school from spring 2011 until March 2013, when she said she was abruptly fired from her six-figure position.
Jafa-Bodden also said Choudhury sexually harassed and inappropriately touched her, and tried to get her to stay with him in a hotel suite.
She called it a “great day for women” when she was awarded a victory over Choudhury.
Choudhury has built an empire around Bikram yoga, a rigorous, 90-minute routine performed in a room that can reach more than 100 degrees. The technique is taught at more than 650 studios worldwide and has drawn devoted followers.
He faces sexual assault lawsuits filed by six other women, five of whom accuse Choudhury of raping them. One of those lawsuits is in the process of being settled while the rest are set for trial later this year.
His attorneys have said he never sexually assaulted any of the women suing him, pointing out that prosecutors had declined to bring charges in the cases.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.