Pilots Say They Were Groped by LaCroix Water CEO

Lawsuits accuse Nick Caporella of 'unwanted touching'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2018 3:18 AM CDT
The pilots accuse the CEO of "unwanted touching."   (Getty/Sky Blue)

(Newser) – National Beverage Corp. CEO Nick Caporella is 82 and still pilots the company's business jet—but two other pilots say he can't keep his hands to himself when he's in the cockpit. The male pilots have filed lawsuits in the last two years accusing Caporella of "unwanted touching" on some 30 trips between 2014 and 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. One pilot, whose lawsuit was filed in 2016 and settled last year, said that on 18 flights, Caporella had engaged in "repeated unjustified, unwarranted, and uninvited grabbing, rubbing and groping" of his leg in a sexual manner. The suits named National Beverage, maker of LaCroix sparkling water, as a co-defendant.

In a separate lawsuit, another pilot accused Caporella of "unprovoked and unwanted sexually oriented touching" on more than a dozen occasions, CNN reports. That lawsuit was filed last year and is still pending. Lee Schillinger, the pilots' attorney, says Caporella pays his co-pilots a generous salary. "He reaches over and grabs his co-pilot," Schillinger tells the Journal. "He’s trying to prove that he’s in control." Glenn Waldman, a lawyer for Caporella and National Beverage, says the accusations have been investigated and are false and "scurrilous." He accuses the pilots of targeting the CEO because of his age and wealth, which has increased significantly as LaCroix sales have surged in recent years. (Read more CEO stories.)

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