Stratim, the mobility services company formerly known as Zirx, is suing its co-founder and now-former COO Shmulik Fishman, alleging breach of fiduciary duties, civil conversion, criminal conversion, theft, criminal mischief, deception, unjust enrichment and fraud. The lawsuit’s co-plaintiff is Adesa, a subsidiary of KAR Auction Services, which acquired Stratim earlier this year.
Stratim powers fleet management for more than 50 companies, including BMW (DriveNow), General Motors (Maven), Ford (Chariot) and Toyota, to power their respective mobility services. Through STRATIM’s vendor marketplace, for example, Ford can request gas fill-ups for its Chariot shuttles. The next day, a fuel company will come to fill up the tanks and then send that information back into the system.
Stratim alleges Sean Behr, the company’s CEO, noticed unusual activity in Fishman’s expense reports and notified Adesa. That led to an investigation, which allegedly found Fishman did not properly file his expenses.
“In order to further his embezzlement scheme and avoid having these expenses rejected for failure to attach receipts, Fishman uploaded sham files including indiscernible black, red or blue images, the KAR logo, pictures of trees, images of the Stratim vision statement, a bath towel, and even a Val Pak envelope with a New York City address,” the lawsuit states.
But Fishman’s attorney, Todd Gutfleisch of Wechsler & Cohen, LLP, says the lawsuit “has no merit and that Mr. Fishman will ultimately prevail.”*
He added, “Stratim’s lawsuit is nothing more than a transparent preemptive ploy to avoid liability stemming from Mr. Fishman’s notice of resignation and Stratim’s contractual liability resulting therefrom.”
Fishman also, allegedly, reimbursed himself for flights, hotel stays, restaurants, Apple products, Uber and other expenses that were “all unrelated to any legitimate business purpose for Stratim.”
This went unnoticed, the lawsuit states, because Fishman had administrative rights in the expense reports system. In total, Stratim alleges Fishman reimbursed himself $738,942.80 in unauthorized expenses. After a conversation with Fishman, Stratim says it terminated him on December 6, 2018.
Zirx had previously raised more than $36.4 million from investors, like Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, BMW’s iVentures and others. That funding rolled into Stratim’s operations.
*This story has been updated to reflect a comment from Fishman’s lawyer. I’ve reached out to Stratim and will update this story if I hear back.