As TechCrunch has beforehand described, there’s been an exodus of expertise from the Rothenberg “ecosystem,” amid statements of a important breach of fiduciary tasks and other unconventional behavior by the undertaking firm’s founder, Mike Rothenberg.
This week, we have figured out additional specifics about alleged worker abuses in just Rothenberg Ventures, a short while ago re-branded as Frontier Tech Ventures, as very well as the River Group, a virtual actuality company like River Studios and numerous other models.
The allegations are that Rothenberg place tension on employees to align with his political beliefs in a quite general public way left employees devoid of reimbursement for authorised perform charges that they charged to their own cards and accounts and hectored employees who were being on health care provider-requested clinical depart to retain doing work although they were being not in good shape to do so.
An lawyer symbolizing Mike Rothenberg said that the allegations remaining described currently and in prior stories right here were being “inaccurate to a troubling degree” and “biased” but did not further more elaborate.
In additional than a person instance previous employees say Rothenberg pressured colleagues who were being on clinical depart to continue on performing perform, even soon after he had received letters from their physicians purchasing time off.
TechCrunch reviewed correspondence concerning Rothenberg, and an worker confirming that he realized this individual was far too sick to perform, and correspondence that implies Rothenberg contacted this individual for the duration of their sick depart with perform requests.
Rothenberg also reportedly required employees to pay for authorised perform charges on their have debit or credit rating cards frequently, according to six former employees of the fund and VR company.
In quite a few cases he failed to reimburse them, they said, and even advised previous employees their expenditures would demand new approvals and could be repudiated by him.
As TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos beforehand described, previous worker and Chief Economic Officer for Rothenberg Ventures Management Co., David Haase, has even submitted a lawsuit towards Rothenberg for breach of contract and failure to reimburse him for $100,000 in company charges.
Today, numerous previous employees have additional than a thousand dollars in un-reimbursed charges paid with their own cards, as a result of this rampant apply, they said.
In some cases, Mike Rothenberg gave executives his have American Categorical “black card,” to deal with massive, authorised charges, like to pay vendors for expert services rendered they said.
Commonly these types of charges should be paid from a corporate account, and accounts payable section.
Later, some previous executives said they were being notified by payment tech providers like Sq., that their unrelated merchant accounts had been shut down since there was seemingly fraudulent activity involved with their names.
That’s since, previous employees defined, there was so a great deal chaotic use, and so quite a few massive costs, on their boss’s card and their have own cards, they were being flagged by economical institutions as quite possibly owning been hacked, or worse, committing fraud.
Mike Rothenberg was also believed to be disputing legitimate costs with his credit rating card service provider, previous employees thought.
Lastly, Rothenberg pressured employees to align with his political beliefs.
In accordance to numerous previous employees in equally the undertaking company and the virtual actuality company, Mike Rothenberg became “obsessed” with the idea of defeating Donald Trump in the forthcoming election.
He would connect with and text employees at all hours of the day and night time, they said, like on their own cellular phones, to rant about politics, and stimulate them to submit anti-Trump written content to their social media feeds.
Quickly, devoid of superior notice to employees or restricted associates in Rothenberg Ventures’ funds, Mike Rothenberg unveiled programs for an anti-Trump feel tank he identified as River Institute, at an event identified as Founder Area Day in May well.
The occasion had been at first prepared as a location for buyers, field insiders and members of the push to interact with River-affiliated virtual actuality tech startups, and to try out out the headsets, VR encounters, games and other systems that they had developed.
When it was beforehand described by TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos and Sarah Buhr that Rothenberg Ventures had potentially mishandled investors’ revenue and governance of its funds, the new allegations about Mike Rothenberg’s cash management and therapy of employees increase a host of new worries.