It's been a few weeks since we've heard from RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal, but there's no rest for the abusive. Chahal has upgraded from writing demented blog posts to writing delusional letters to CNNMoney. "What did I do to deserve this," the CEO charged with 45 felony counts implores.
Chahal, who was fired from his role as CEO, says he plans to sue the board of RadiumOne for wrongful termination.
"What did I do to deserve this, when all I've ever done is to put the interests of you and the company ahead of my own?" Chahal wrote in the letter first sent to CNNMoney. "I thought I could count on your support as a board, as executives, and as a team and you abandoned me when I most needed your support."
Well, since he asked, here's a few things Chahal did: he got charged with 45 felony counts for domestic violence, he gave conflicting statements about security footage that allegedly shows him hitting his girlfriend 117 times in half an hour, he forced his board to address allegations of hiring prostitutes and drug abuse, and, despite getting off easy with no jail time, he made a mockery of his guilty plea by continuing to insist on his innocence—always making himself out to be the real victim.
That's the same defense Chahal uses in the open letter he sent CNNMoney:
Chahal claims that the board was "well aware" of his legal trouble since August, and they knew the allegations "were completely false." He says he was "going through hell, both professionally and personally" and felt betrayed after the board bowed to the social media storm that ensued once the allegations became widely circulated.
Here's the thing. Based on the timing of Chahal's ouster (he still has a seat on the company board), it does appear as though the board of his ad-tech startup would have been content to let him stay on. They only acted after continued and fervent public outcry. Chahal has previously shared emails where they congratulated him on the guilty plea.
However, even those emails do not support Chahal's version of events. Make that versions. Plural.
First Chahal blamed the District Attorney, claiming that he was "cornered" into making a deal because of a "witch hunt" by the DA's office. Then Chahal claimed he only pled guilty because his board advised him to and that he would have been exonerated otherwise. Those congratulatory emails about agreeing to a "small" misdemeanor do not back him up in either case. Here's what he told the board after his plea:
"I would've gotten a full dismissal on all charges but that would've likely taken several months in the political/legal system" Chahal wrote to his board. "Nevertheless, to provide the DA an 'exit strategy', all felony charges were dismissed and we agreed on a small misdemeanor plea to resolve the matter."
That doesn't sound like a witch hunt or like he was under strict orders from the board.
Chahal now claims that he offered to resign when the charges were first filed, but the board encouraged him to stay on. If Chahal was only fired because of outside pressure (and not from any internal discomfort with domestic abuse), it's quite possible the board told him to stay. During that time, Chahal actually sought the spotlight, cranking out cliched blog posts about leadership and tweeting business advice. This was before his public meltdown.
During the domestic abuse case, Chahal used the same lawyer as alleged arms dealer and suspended Senator Leland Yee. He told CNNMoney that he has a lawyer and that the wrongful termination suit is "imminent." RadiumOne has his claims are without merit, but Chahal persists:
"You have let me with no other options but to seek legal recourse," he writes. "You will now have to face severe legal consequences individually for this in the court of law."
With any luck, the board will get off as easily as Chahal did.
Update: here's the letter in its entirety, posted on Chahal's blog.
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