Hyperloop Co-Founder Is Suing Former Colleague For Harassment

July 12, 2016

7:00 pm

Brogan Bambrogan, the colorful cofounder of futuristic travel startup Hyperloop, left his position as CTO at the company less than two weeks ago. Today, he’s suing a former colleague for harassment.

Buzzfeed broke the news, offering an explanation of the Hyperloop lawsuit:

“In mid-June Bambrogan requested a temporary restraining order against Hyperloop’s chief legal officer Afshin Pishevar, who also happens to be cofounder Shervin Pishevar’s brother. A few days before Bambrogan left, Afshin Pishevar also departed the company without explanation. The harassment allegation is complicated by both familial and financial ties. Shervin Pishevar’s venture capital firm, Sherpa Capital, is a repeat investor in Hyperloop One.”

The full claims, as stated in the official document, cover defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and assault.

But it’s the details of the lawsuit that are the most interesting. If the case Bambrogan has laid out proves true, he’s certainly faced a hostile environment in his own company. Here are sections of the case, uncovered by The Verge:

A Literal Hangman’s Noose as a Threat

“Shervin’s brother and Chief Legal Officer of Hyperloop One, Defendant Afshin Pishevar, strolled through Hyperloop One’s office and placed a hangman’s noose on BamBrogan’s chair. Hyperloop One’s security cameras captured it all.”

Investors “Pressured” to Funnel Money Through Pishevar’s VC Firm

“It is reasonable to assume that numerous investors declined to invest in Hyperloop One out of disinterest in paying a quid pro quo to Sherpa Capital.”

Lots of Threats

“[I]f anyone talked to investors about what was happening in the company, Hyperloop One would ‘come after’ them; if they did not toe the line, this would be the “worst day” of their lives; and they would bleed the employees dry with frivolous lawsuits.”

In short, this Hyperloop lawsuit doesn’t pull any punches: If true, the ostensibly forward-thinking company is falling apart at the seams.

Image: Flickr / Luc Van Braekel

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe