Colorado Businesswoman Wins $21 Million in Defamation Lawsuit Against Ex-Husband’s Smear Campaign

Colorado Businesswoman Wins $21 Million in Defamation Lawsuit Against Ex-Husband’s Smear Campaign

Cindy Hayek, a 54-year-old Colorado businesswoman, and her fiancé, Kenny Hamp, have been granted a substantial $21 million by a jury following a defamation lawsuit against her ex-husband, fracking tycoon Steven Herron.

The verdict comes after Herron falsely accused Hamp of sexually abusing their children, leading to a custody battle that took a toll on Hayek’s personal and financial well-being.

False Allegations Unraveled: Custody Battle Fueled by Lies and Smear Campaign

Hayek and Herron divorced in 2016 with shared custody of their children. However, Herron initiated a smear campaign, making false claims that Hamp had sexually abused their children.

The campaign escalated after Hamp’s arrest on felony child abuse charges in 2019, just a day after Hayek and Hamp announced their engagement.

A Mother’s Dilemma: Forced to Choose Between Truth and Custody

Facing a difficult choice, Hayek, an oil and gas geologist and owner of a clothing store, refused to falsely accuse Hamp of child abuse.

Subsequently, Herron was awarded full custody of their three children, relocating with them to Hawaii in 2021. The false allegations profoundly affected Hamp’s reputation.

Legal Battles and Financial Strain: From Arrest to a $21 Million Verdict

Hamp’s child abuse charges were dismissed in 2020 due to insufficient evidence. Despite the Colorado Department of Human Services overturning the child abuse claims in 2021, Hayek remained unable to regain custody.

In response, she filed a civil lawsuit against Herron, alleging he manipulated medical reports and lied to authorities.

Landmark Verdict: Jury Awards $21 Million for Defamation, Conspiracy, and Malicious Prosecution

After a five-week trial concluding in November, a jury found Herron guilty of defamation, conspiracy, outrageous conduct, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution.

The jury awarded $7.6 million to Hayek and nearly $13.68 million to Hamp. Despite the victory, Hayek revealed spending nearly $8 million of her own money on legal battles.

Seeking Reintegration: Businesswoman Plans to Request Therapy to Reconnect with Children

Hayek plans to request reintegration therapy with her children, whom she has not been allowed to speak to since a Zoom visit in January 2021.

Herron, during the trial, claimed the mother and her children no longer have a relationship. Despite the financial victory, Hayek remains out of pocket and faces ongoing challenges to rebuild her relationship with her children.