The battle between Hyperloop One executives and former co-founder Brogan BamBrogan just got more interesting.
On Tuesday, former chief technology officer Brogan BamBrogan and several other employees filed a lawsuit against Hyperloop One on claims that company executives misused funds, breached their fiduciary duty, violated California labour code, and assaulted at least one employee by placing a noose on his desk seat.
According to the lawsuit, defendant Afshin Pishevar, who is the company’s chief legal counsel, allegedly placed a hangman’s noose on BamBrogan’s chair after BamBrogan and 10 other employees voiced their concerns to top executives.
The lawsuit includes a picture allegedly taken from a security camera showing Afshin carrying the noose.
The lawsuit is full of other bombshell allegations, as well, including one incident that involves Shervin Pishevar increasing the salary of a PR vendor from $15,000 per month to $40,000 per month after he began dating her. He later allegedly terminated her service after they broke up, according to the lawsuit.
Hyperloop One, though, has plans to fire back and just released a statement calling the lawsuit against the company and its leaders “delusional.”
“Today’s lawsuit brought by former employees of Hyperloop One is unfortunate and delusional,” Hyperloop One’s Lawyer, Orin Snyder, said in a statement to Tech Insider. “These employees tried to stage a coup and failed. They knew that the company was aware of their actions, and this lawsuit is their preemptive strike. The claims are pure nonsense and will be met with a swift and potent legal response.”
Snyder went on to defend the start-up, stating that the lawsuit was actually a sign of its success.
“Frivolous lawsuits like this one have become all too common against startups that achieve breakthrough success. It is almost a cliche. It is also a measure of Hyperloop’s success,” Snyder said.
A number of successful tech companies, from Facebook to Snapchat, have had lawsuits filed against them by cofounders. But typically those lawsuits have been fights over ownership stakes, not harassment allegations.
“The company continues to recruit top talent, secure significant funding from global investors and accelerate toward its technology milestones,” Snyder continued. “Hyperloop is on track, its board and team are united and today’s bogus lawsuit will have no impact on its goal of becoming the first company to bring the Hyperloop to the world.”
In response to Hyperloop One’s statement, Justin Berger of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, who is representing the plaintiffs, told Tech Insider in an email:
“The company’s statement is long on rhetoric and short on facts. The company’s spin is belied by the facts and the chronology of events, as laid out in great detail in the Complain. Plaintiffs and seven other top employees quietly approached the Defendants in May with reasonable proposals to set the company back on the right track. They were met with hostility, threats of costly legal fights, and a noose. Defendants violated California law and they will be held accountable.”