A co-founder of the Pinkberry US frozen yogurt chain was convicted Friday of assault with a deadly weapon for using a tire iron to attack a homeless man begging for money.
Young Lee, who is no longer connected to the strongly brand-conscious chain with branches in 19 countries, attacked the transient as he was panhandling on a freeway off-ramp in Hollywood.
The 49-year-old lost his temper and got out of the car after the victim, Donald Bolding, allegedly insulted his wife by showing a sexually explicit tattoo.
"Apologize. You showed disrespect," Lee said, according to Bolding's account of the attack.
"I'm befuddled. I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' That's when he hits me with the tire iron," added Bolding, who described how he was hit around the head twice.
Bleeding, he ran into oncoming traffic to avoid being hit again. But he told how Lee ordered him to get on his hands and knees to apologize during the June, 2011 attack.
"I'm trying to cover my head because he's swinging the tire iron," he said, adding that the attack ended when other people came to help him and called police.
Lee, who co-founded Pinkberry with then-wife Shelly Hwang in 2005, is due to be sentenced on January 14. He had been free on bail, but was taken into custody following Friday's guilty verdict. He ended his ties with the company in 2010.
Pinkberry, which has almost 250 stores including ones in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, touts its belief in "fanatical freshness" and its "exceptionally strong emotional connection with its customers."