Two brothers purportedly developing an augmented reality helmet for motorcyclists appear to have merely used their company's investments to augment their own personal realities, paying for apartments, lavish meals, and more according to a lawsuit filed by a former employee.
After its board forced out company founders Marcus and Mitch Weller, once-promising San Francisco business Skully filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, events reported by TechCrunch last week. That was bad news for investors like the ones who pumped $2.5 million into the company's wildly successful Indiegogo campaign, not to mention the 11 major backers who gave Skully another $12.5 million according to CrunchBase. It was also a bummer for buyers who pre-ordered the company's helmets at $1,500 a piece, since most helmets haven't shipped and most buyers probably won't be seeing a refund thanks to the bankruptcy.
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But the plot really thickened after BuzzFeed reported on a lawsuit brought by the Weller brothers' former assistant, Isabelle Faithhauer. Skully, her lawsuit claims, was merely "a tool to pay their personal expenses” used “in such a fraudulent manner it rendered the corporate entity a sham.”
Yep, Faithauer alleges she was forced to cook the books to keep her job: The brothers Weller “routinely demanded that Plaintiff engage in fraudulent bookkeeping practices designed to defraud investors,” the claims read. Meanwhile their funding was allegedly used to pay rent on Marina apartments, security deposits on a Dogpatch apartment, weekly cleaning services, all restaurant and grocery bills for the brothers, and even Mitchell Weller's Dodge Viper, which was supposedly claimed for insurance after an accident, plus a new Viper to replace it.
Now we learn of even more fun alleged expenses from the Mercury News. First, Faithhauer says she wasn't paid overtime, among other employment violations. And further, she alleges the literal bros spent Skully money on an Audi R8, limo rides in Florida, and a $2,000 charge at a strip joint.
My favorite allegation: Once, after Marcus Weller took a trip to Bermuda, he was displeased with the destination and instead opted to book a first-class flight to Hawaii on one day's notice at Skully's expense. And perhaps rudest of all: Faithhaeur says that Marcus received a traffic violation in "his" Audi, but forced her to attend driving school on his behalf.
Whoa if true!