- A former employee is taking WeWork to court over cofounder Adam Neumann's reported $ 1.7 billion golden parachute.
- Natalie Sojka's lawsuit accuses Neumann and other WeWork directors of benefiting themselves at the expense of minority shareholders as their actions have "eviscerated" the value of WeWork's stock and stock options.
- "It is beyond comprehension why Neumann would be paid $ 185 million to provide strategic guidance to the company when its 'guidance' is in the virtual destruction of the company," the lawsuit alleges, referring to the consultancy fees that are reportedly part of Neumann's leaving. package.
- Read more of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.
A former employee is taking WeWork to court over cofounder Adam Neumann's reported $ 1.7 billion golden parachute.
Natalie Sojka's lawsuit accuses Neumann and other WeWork directors of benefiting themselves at the expense of minority shareholders, breaching their fiduciary duty, creating corporate waste, unjustly enriching themselves, abusing control, among other failures. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court this week, also names SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son as a defendant.
As part of SoftBank's takeover of the coworking startup following its scrapped public listing, Neumann is set to receive nearly $ 1 billion for its WeWork shares, $ 500 million in personal loans, and $ 185 million in consulting fees, according to Wall Street Journal.
"Despite breaching its fiduciary duties by engaging in self-dealing and mismanaging WeWork so badly that its IPO had to be withdrawn, Neumann is being offered a staggering $ 185 million consulting fee despite the fact that SoftBank seems to conclude Neumann ruined the Company," the lawsuit alleges.
"It is beyond comprehension why Neumann would be paid $ 185 million to provide strategic guidance to the Company when its 'guidance' in the virtual destruction of the company," the lawsuit claims. "The fee simply represents self-dealing and improper personal payment to Neumann," it alleges.
WeWork, SoftBank, and the law firm representing Natalie Sojka did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"WeWork believes this lawsuit is meritless," a spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.
Sojka worked as an executive assistant then a team leader at WeWork over a 17-month period, according to her LinkedIn profile. She received stock and stock options during her time there, and when she voluntarily resigned she exercised options to buy more stock after being told she would lose them otherwise, according to lawsuit.
Neumann's reported leaving package is "substantially unfair" and would cause "significant damage" to minority shareholders as their stock and stock options have been "eviscerated due to Neumann's wrongdoing," the lawsuit claims.
Sojka is seeking an injunction to prevent Neumann's departure deal from going through, and proposing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of her and other minority shareholders.