Genstar Capital's Jean-Pierre "J-P" Conte was sued by his former longtime girlfriend, who alleges the chair of the $49 billion private equity firm assaulted her in the Aspen home they shared and then launched a smear campaign against her.
Hillary Thomas filed a lawsuit against Conte Sept. 21 in Colorado state court in Aspen. Along with assault, battery and other claims, she's suing him for allegedly violating commitments he made under a May 2021 separation agreement they entered into at the end of their nearly decade-long relationship.
In a statement, a lawyer for Conte denied the assault allegation and called the suit a "money grab" by Thomas. "Mr. Conte never attacked or abused her," the lawyer, Kerry Wright Garvis, said.
"This case against Jean-Pierre Conte is about holding to account an abusive man who believes his power and privilege puts him above the law," one of Thomas's lawyers, Sigrid McCawley of Boies Schiller & Flexner, said in a statement. The suit asks for an unspecified amount in damages.
San Francisco-based Genstar currently manages about $49 billion in assets, according to its website. It focuses on middle-market companies in the financial, healthcare, industrial and software sectors.
In addition to his private equity role, Conte serves on the board of trustees at Colgate University, from which he graduated in 1985, Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Pan American Development Foundation and the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation. He was part of a group of investors who put up to $100 million to back John Textor's acquisition of French soccer team Olympique Lyonnais.
Conte lives in California, but most of the allegations outlined in the suit are said to have taken place in Aspen, where he and Thomas, an interior designer, shared a house valued at $24 million, according to county records. They also lived together in a San Francisco mansion that she renovated and which was featured in Architectural Digest in 2018.
Thomas said the assault took place at the Aspen house in January 2022 while the two were attempting a reconciliation. According to her suit, after a night out with friends, Conte became "enraged" over a remark she made about his approach to parenting one of his children. She claims he later burst into the room where she was trying to sleep, dragged her out of bed and pinned her to the floor as he tried to remove a ring from her finger and a watch from her wrist, verbally berating her at the same time.