Kevin Wilson, who joined new gTLD consultancy Sedari as chief financial officer earlier this year, was fired in October and is now suing the company over a €100,000 investment deal gone bad.
Wilson, who spent four years as ICANN’s CFO, was one of a number of familiar domain name industry faces to join UK-based Sedari when it came out of stealth mode this summer.
But he was let go in October after falling out with CEO Liz Williams over financial matters.
Wilson claims that even as CFO he had to fight for access to Sedari’s financial records, and that when he finally questioned the company’s accounting he was terminated.
His termination letter said that Sedari had “very serious concerns” about his performance.
He had agreed to invest €100,000, in two €50,000 installments, and was fired shortly after deciding not to make the second payment, according to his legal complaint.
Wilson claims that he agreed to become an investor after being told about paying clients, including Cloud Registry, that he came to believe may not have existed.
He also alleges that “substantial sums” were taken from the company coffers by Williams for spa treatments and other personal expenditures.
The lawsuit alleges “fraud” on this basis, and seeks the return of Wilson’s initial €50,000 stake.
Wilson also wants the court to declare that, as a resident of California, he is not bound by the post-employment non-compete clauses of his contract.
He’s currently an independent new gTLDs consultant.
Sedari, through its solicitor Faegre & Benson, said in a statement:
Mr. Wilson has reneged on his legally binding obligations to Sedari both in relation to the payment by him of certain sums and his agreement not to act contrary to the best interest of the company. As a result, the Board has forfeited Mr. Wilson’s shares and taken further action to enforce its rights against him.
The statement notes that Sedari has not yet been formally served the complaint – which was filed in the Superior Court in Los Angeles on October 25 – adding:
In the event that Mr. Wilson proceeds with his complaint, it will be defended comprehensively.
The claim is devoid of merit, wrong in fact and all material allegations are rejected. Mr. Wilson will also be pursued for any further loss his actions may cause the alleged defendants.
Wilson said in a statement that he wants to “resolve matters amicably”.
According to exhibits filed with the lawsuit, Sedari’s other investors include Williams, with a majority 53.7% stake, as well as director Dennis Jennings and policy chief Philip Sheppard.
Registry services provider Afilias paid $375,000 for a 27.4% stake in the company, according to these documents. Its chairman, Philipp Grabensee, sits on the Sedari board.
Here’s the complaint.