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Travis Kalanick calls Benchmark lawsuit a "fabrication"
19 August 2017, 02:25 | Francis Delgado
Pic ReutersSAN FRANCISCO
In his filing, Kalanick contends that Benchmark had secretly plotting against him, and launched its plan to oust him from Uber "at the most shameful of times" - shortly after his mother was killed and his father critically injured in a boating accident on May 27.
Upping the ante on his fight with the venture capital firm, which holds a 13 percent stake in Uber, Kalanick said that Benchmark waged a secret campaign to remove him from the company. He added that the dispute should take place in arbitration and that Delaware's Chancery Court, where the suit was filed, lacks jurisdiction.
Benchmark's lawsuit includes taking away the three board seats that Kalanick controls, which the firm believes Kalanick does not deserve. Benchmark sued Kalanick on August 10 alleging he duped the firm into allowing him to fill three board seats and sought to pack the panel with allies willing to keep him as a director after he resigned as chief executive officer in June.
Kalanick says Benchmark's claims of being hoodwinked were "articulated for the first time in its complaint of last week", according to the filing obtained by CNN Tech.
Kalanick also attacks the Benchmark investors for making moves to oust him while he was still mourning his mother's sudden death.
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The relationship between Kalanick and Benchmark, an early Uber backer, has deteriorated in recent months.
"Like many shareholders, I am disappointed and baffled by Benchmark's hostile actions, which clearly are not in the best interests of Uber and its employees on whose behalf they claim to be acting". Benchmark said the expansion was "fraudulently induced", a ploy by Kalanick to "increase his power for his own selfish ends". Instead, they say, Benchmark acknowledged that he had control over those seats.
But just nine days after he went on leave, Benchmark partners Peter Fenton and Matt Cohler came to Kalanick's hotel in Chicago to demand that he submit his permanent resignation as CEO, the filing said. At the US$68 billion valuation that Uber achieved previous year, Benchmark's stake would be worth nearly US$9 billion.
"Resorting to litigation was an extremely hard step for Benchmark", Benchmark said in a statement through a spokeswoman. "Failing to act now would mean endorsing behavior that is utterly unacceptable in any company, let alone a company of Uber's size and importance".
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is skewering a lawsuit filed by a former ally, describing it as a malicious attempt to sever his remaining ties to the widely used ride-hailing service that he co-founded.
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