“The indelible, eternal and permanent ink of righteousness…”
This is what it’s come to for Uber in 2017, as scandals pile up alongside federal investigations. Earlier this month, things got especially nasty: Benchmark, an early investor in Uber with a spot on its board, sued founder and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick for fraud. It accuses him of mismanaging the company, and claims that if it had been aware of various scandals that later came to light, it would not have supported a restructuring of the board that effectively strengthened Kalanick’s position within the company.
Kalanick dismissed the lawsuit, through a spokesperson, as “without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.” Shervin Pishevar, another major Uber investor and former board member, stepped to his defense. Pishevar called on Benchmark to resign its seat on the board and intervened in the lawsuit, filing a motion to have the case dismissed. (Pishevar and Kalanick are longtime friends, with the investor famously serving as the Uber founder’s entree into Los Angeles’ glitzy celebrity scene.)
Wednesday, while freshly minted Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi held an all hands meeting with his new employees in San Francisco, Pishevar was in a Delaware courtroom, where a judge decided to send the case into arbitration—a victory for Kalanick & Ko.1
To mark the occasion, a Pishevar spokesperson released a letter Pishevar wrote to his lawyers last week, as they prepared to file that motion. And boy, is it something. The spokesperson, Marcy Simon, says it was meant to “fire up” the legal team, and that it’s “from the brain.” And in that brain, apparently, is a voluminous, somewhat outdated thesaurus.
Below is the letter in full. And for those whose Latin is a bit rusty, fiat justitia ruat caelum is the old Roman legal way of saying, “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”
Let us take this pause in this moment, when we find ourselves swimming in the crucible of one of the grandest business and moral battles of our generation, and find strength in each stroke of our proverbial digital pens, that we wrote with the indelible, eternal and permanent ink of righteousness. We write with the souls of thousands of lives saved, the lives of millions of jobs created liberating multitudes of drivers from the shackles of servitude to iniquitous taxi cartels of corrupt cabals that choked cities with their pollution of air and morals. We write with the spirit of Bonnie Kalanick, who raised her son with deep unconditional love and unfading faith in his ability to do good for the world. Whose tragic and untimely death was used against her son at his most vulnerable, unspeakable time of pain. They chose to strike at a moment of a devoted son’s retreat and leave of absence to mourn the absence of the inviolable love of his mother. In doing so, they joined the very corruption her son had devoted such fervent passion to fight. In her memory, we devote our actions to a just cause; to defend what is right and to protect the interest of not only shareholders but most importantly the far more important stakeholders of employees, drivers and customers whose lives have been forever altered by the abiding faith and fervent hard work of Travis Kalanick and the Uber team. Their allegiance was met by this unholy alliance of perfidious greed devolving rapidly into the audacity of vituperative unparalleled predatory rapacity.
Let us strike tomorrow with the full and fulsome courage of our convictions. Let our just cause give pause to those who would ever dream of ever emulating the shameful shenanigans of these sanctimonious hypocrites who fling filings and letters de haut en bas; when it is we who have the higher moral ground and our letters and filing will hail down upon their platforms, exposing them as bitterly barren barons of moral turpitude. And as the summer sets, we let us be steward of truth who in unison proclaim: fiat justitia ruat caelum.
1UPDATE 4:30 PM ET 08/30/17: This story has been updated with the results of today’s hearing in Delaware.