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Ousted Hyperloop One co-founder Brogan BamBrogan is suing Shervin Pishevar, claims harrassment

TechCrunch TechCrunch 12/07/2016 Sarah Buhr

Recently departed Hyperloop One co-founder Brogan BamBrogan has filed a restraining order and a lawsuit against his former partner Shervin Pishevar.

Hyperloop One, the brainchild of Elon Musk to transport people and goods across the country at 700 mph in a vacuum tube, has raised $92 million so far, largely backed by Shervin Pishevar’s VC firm Sherpa Capital. Pishevar is the board chair and co-founded the company with BamBrogan.

But BamBrogan abruptly left the company last week without explanation, replaced by Josh Geigel as the new co-founder and CTO. The sudden departure follows another immediate removal of the head legal counsel and Shervin’s brother Afshin Pishevar. Recode, which first reported Afshin’s departure, also pointed out assistant general counsel David Pendergast left around the same time.

Neither Hyperloop One or BamBrogen were available for comment, but according to a source familiar with the matter, things had been tense at the top for some time. According to the filings, Bambrogan was forced to resign from his position.

Afshin also allegedly threatened BamBrogan, according to the court documents and captured on camera, by placing a hangman’s noose on BamBrogan’s chair after a dispute between BamBrogan and Shervin about a trip to Russia. Hyperloop One announced a partnered with the Russian government in June to build a transit system in Moscow.

BamBrogan requested a temporary restraining order against Afshin after the incident in mid- June and has filed four court documents in the case, including the temporary restraining order and a civil harassment restraining order, as first reported on Buzzfeed. The restraining order hearing is scheduled for this Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

There’s been much skepticism over Hyperloop’s technology, but the hefty funding and leadership gave the company a boost and lent it credibility. However, the recent lawsuit alleges the technology may not be all we’ve been led to believe.

The filings naming Shervin, Afshin, Joe Lonsdale, Robert Lloyd and Hyperloop One as defendants, claims the technology that BamBrogan and other plaintiffs Dr. Knut Sauer, David Pendergast and William Mulholland helped to build is being “strangled by the mismanagement and greed of the venture capitalists who control the company.”

On top of that, the suit claims several employees had complained to Shervin about technological issues but were ignored and that the defendants violated labor laws and used the company to boost their romantic lives, personal brands and wallets.

“Those with the expertise to bring the hyperloop concept to fruition—the team that has done an incredible job building out hardware with their heads down and hands in the dirt—have been systematically marginalized,” reads the court document. “…while the ‘money men’ who do not understand the technology spent little time seeking to understand its potential, focusing instead on puffery—turning the company into a marketing-driven exercise, instead of the engineering-driven enterprise it should be.”

We’ve included the court documents on the lawsuit below for your perusal below:

2016-07-12 Hyperloop Complaint – Endorsed Copy by TechCrunch on Scribd

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