Former Rothenberg Ventures CFO David Haase has won his case against the firm’s founder, Mike Rothenberg.
The ruling came down in favor of Haase in the Superior Court of California last week. Rothenberg must now pay Haase $166,000 for expenses and losses incurred during his employment at the firm, plus attorney fees for the suit and for legal services related to an SEC investigation of the firm.
Haase joined Rothenberg Ventures in the spring of 2016 to help the firm rapidly grow financially. The former CFO routinely used his own American Express card to cover expenses for the firm, including flights, hotels, partial payment for Rothenberg’s suite at Oracle Arena for the Golden State Warriors games and just under $35,000 Rothenberg put on the card to purchase a Beyoncé concert suite for himself, which was eventually reimbursed to Haase from his personal account.
Other expenses totaling more than $100,000 had not been reimbursed, however, leaving Haase holding quite a large debt in the four months he was employed at the firm.
Rothenberg owed Haase $109,352.20 plus interest accrued. According to his suit, Rothenberg had “wrongfully and capriciously refused to pay” that debt. The head of the venture firm must now pay that amount, as well as $57,000 in fees for the SEC investigation, which includes Haase’s activities when he was acting CFO.
Rothenberg has so far not gotten back to us about the ruling, but Haase tells TechCrunch he is “quite relieved” to be done with the case.
“There were many good people at Rothenberg whose stories have not been told,” he added. “Most were as surprised as the general public to find out what Mike had been doing with investors’ money. I hope this helps them in their class action and also helps paint a clear picture of the true story.”
A separate class action lawsuit has been filed against Rothenberg and his firm. We’ll be sure to update you when we have more on that case.