One of Better.com’s former executives has filed a lawsuit against the online mortgage lender, alleging that the company and its CEO Vishal Garg misled investors when it wanted to go public through a SPAC, the company reports. Wall Street Journal†
Sarah Pierce was previously Executive Vice President Customer Experience, Sales and Operations at Better.com say goodbye to the company earlier this year. At the time, it was not clear whether she left voluntarily or was asked to resign, but Pierce now says in her suit that she was pushed out.
In her lawsuit filed today, according to the Wall Street Journal, Pierce alleges that Better.com misrepresented its company and prospects so it could move forward with a SPAC that would have given the company a post-money equity value of about $7.7 billion. The SPAC has been delayed and has not yet taken place.
Her complaint, the Journal reports, alleges that both Garg and Better’s “treatment of her constituted unlawful retaliation, defamation and willful infliction of emotional distress.”
At the time of her departure in February, Vidak For Congress reported that, according to sources familiar with internal happenings at the company, Pierce had tried to stand up for the hundreds of employees the company fired in December after the CEO publicly described them as lazy and not. productive. That reportedly caused “a lot of tension” between her and Garg and the board. Pierce was reportedly angry at the way Garg had publicly discredited the employees, the majority of whom reported to her, after fire them heartlessly via Zoom†
Vidak For Congress has reached out to Better.com and Pierce and will update this story if and when any of them comment.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the lawsuit told Vidak For Congress that Garg “always exaggerated” the company’s numbers and “wouldn’t listen” to Pierce or other executives if they raised their concerns. Pierce, the source said, was reportedly pushed out of the company for voicing her concerns.
According to the S-4 filed by Aurora Acquisition Corp., the entity Better.com would merge with, Pierce made $856,061 last year, received a $1 million bonus and was awarded $17.37 million in stock options.
According to Forbes, this is not the first time a female executive has accused the company of improper conduct. The company in April 2021 has granted former chief product officer Elana Kollner administrative leave over allegations of bullying and other workplace grievances.
The company has made headlines countless times over the past six months. On December 1, 2021, Better.com laid off about 900 employees via a Zoom video call that eventually went viral. It was not the first company to lay off people through Zoom during a global pandemic. But it was the way it was treated that offended so many.
Co-founder Garg was universally criticized for being cold and numb in his approach. He also added an insult days later publicly blaming affected employees to ‘steal’ from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive.
Besides, only one day beforeCFO Kevin Ryan emailed employees saying the company would have $1 billion on the balance sheet by the end of that week. In the weeks following the layoffs, Garg”apologized” and lasted a month “pause.” In the meantime, employees told how heled by fear,and a number of senior executives and two board members have resigned.
Then, on March 8, the company laid off an estimated 3,000 of the remaining 8,000 workers in the US and India and “accidentally rolled out severance payments too early”.
In April, an application found that: Better.com waved to a loss of over $300 million last yeara sharp turnaround from his profitable 2020. Garg has also been the target of multiple lawsuits by PIMCO, Goldman Sachs and other investors involving entities he controlled.
Numerous parties have contacted Vidak For Congress in recent months, including customers who say they lost money when the company botched their home closures, former employees who say they didn’t receive stock options owed to them, and others. who say they don’t collect unemployment because Better allegedly didn’t pay the right taxes.