Benchmark Capital sues former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanickis the subject of a lawsuit for allegedly using fraudulent means to pack the Uber's board with

Travis Kalanickis the subject of a lawsuit for allegedly using fraudulent means to pack the Uber's board with

In a Delaware Chancery Court filing, originally identified by Axios' Dan Primack, the suit alleges that Kalanick committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Pishevar, Burkle and Leber - who are not members of the board of directors - said Benchmark's lawsuit harms Uber's valuation, interferes with fundraising efforts and impedes the company's search for a new CEO to replace Kalanick.

The lawsuit against Kalanick was filed on August 10 to force him off the Uber board of directors.

A representative for Kalanick said the lawsuit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations". Towards that, Kalanick is also accused of packing his own loyalists in the board just to ensure his accession to the hot seat has the least friction. The other two are still unfilled.

Benchmark's tactics are "ethically dubious and, critically, value-destructive rather than value enhancing", the investors wrote in the e-mail. Benchmark's lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create.

"Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected", the statement said.

The investors are opening a new front in a highly unusual public battle for Silicon Valley, illustrating the difficulty Uber is having recovering from a series of scandals.

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Benchmark also felt that Kalanick failed to satisfactorily respond to the numerous discrimination and sexual harassment instances that have cropped up with the company.

Much of the complaint revolves around a June 2016 decision that expanded the size of Uber's board from eight to 11.

The letter was referring to a May boating accident that killed Kalanick's mother and injured his father even as the hard-charging Uber co-founder was losing his position as CEO of the company.

An email to Kalanick was not immediately returned.

The outcome of an emergency board meeting on Friday to address Uber's warring factions could not be determined at press time. "Despite rumors I'm sure you've seen in the news, Travis is not returning as CEO".

Yet another sign Uber is looking to move on to its next phase: Ryan Graves, an early Uber employee and the only other person to serve as the company's chief executive, resigned on Thursday as senior vice president of global operations. He will still remain on the board.

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