back to article Tech Bro CEO lays off 900 people in Zoom call and makes himself the victim

Managing a business during the plague years has been tough for many, but one plucky CEO has found a clever and efficient way to execute such an unpleasant task: fire 900 workers at once in a Zoom meeting. In an exercise completely devoid of sensitivity, Better.com CEO Vish Garg gathered around 900 of his staff onto a five- …

  1. Michael Hoffmann
    Facepalm

    Glassdoor...

    Interesting to see that their scores *were* actually astonishingly high: 4.1 is almost paradisaical by GD standards.

    Then it falls off a cliff on Dec3 or so. Wonder how many who were still raving before that date are now among the 15%.

    And this, ladies and gents, is why I'm never going perm again and staying in contracting from now on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glassdoor...

      Yup. Get ready for the permies to attack you though.

      I'm also freelance and doing everything in my power to never go backwards. Being in one permanent role is, was and always will be riskier than contracting or freelance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get ready for the permies to attack you though.

        It's ok, your massively inflated income will soften the blows!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Get ready for the permies to attack you though.

          Could you explain that comment a little further. I assume from it that you're not freelance. In that case why do you stay on as a permanent employee instead of going freelance yourself?

          Is there actually some difference between the two ways of working which means you're not able to do so? If so might that not account for the difference between rates?

          And when you were looking at the difference did you take into account that the amount in your pay packet is net of employee and employer taxes whilst those remain to be paid from the freelancer's fee?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I assume from it that you're not freelance.

            I bet you do. No-one who really contracts could think contractors are overpaid, right?

            1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: I assume from it that you're not freelance.

              "No-one who really contracts could think contractors are overpaid, right?"

              I think the problem is when you get what is here on this thread: contractors saying that permie work is more risky BUT ALSO that contractors should be paid more because of the risks of contracting.

              This sort of thread always winds up the contractors. So just for them: IR35 IS BRILLIANT!!!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Get ready for the permies to attack you though.

            Dude, don't open the can of worms. Haters gotta hate. Most people that don't contract I would wager make that choice because they fear the uncertainty it brings. By the same token you then cannot whine about the premium received in compensation for that uncertainty. Yet they do.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. MyffyW Silver badge

              Re: Get ready for the permies to attack you though.

              Can we go back to the bit where we all bitch about the insensitive oaf running the company, rather than attack each other?

              Love and Peace (unless you're the CEO in the video)

      2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Glassdoor...

        In my experience, there are two kinds of freelancers, the kind who are self-employed entrepreneurs with the competence and work ethic to continually hustle, and the kind who are not competent enough to be hired full-time, so they wind up hopping from contract to contract. Bringing either kind on full-time can be a hazardous proposition, the latter for obvious reasons, the former because they're often unaccustomed to working well with other people over long stretches of time. A full-timer usually has more of a commitment to their teammates and thus can add more value than a contractor over time.

        1. Ciaran McHale

          Re: Glassdoor...

          Your experience appears to not be wide enough for you to be making generalisations. For example, I fit into neither of those two categories. I was a permie for 15 years, and after a career sabbatical I went contracting. My first contract was on a 6-month rolling basis, and it kept getting extended for several years. At that company, I was far from being the only contractor whose contract kept getting renewed.

          1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Glassdoor...

            Fair enough, I know people like that. To me, it always seems like they're getting screwed by the company, but maybe it works out better in some fashion.

            1. Ciaran McHale

              Re: Glassdoor...

              I don't know if I would have made more or less money if I was a permie rather than a contractor at the company. However, I explicitly wanted to be a contractor because I was developing some software (unrelated to my client's business) in my spare time, and being a contractor meant I owned the copyright to that software by default. If I was a permie, I would have had to ask for permission to own the copyright to the software. Such permission-seeking had been a nightmare in the previous company where I had been a permie.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Glassdoor...

            Love that expression "career sabbatical". Typical i.t. speak for "on the dole"

            1. Ciaran McHale

              Re: Glassdoor...

              Perhaps that is the typical meaning. But in my case I chose to take time off so I could focus on finishing writing the documentation for some open-source software that I wanted to release in a mature state (www.config4star.org).

          3. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Glassdoor...

            A 6-month rolling contract extended for several years is exactly why IR35 exists.

            That's not contracting, that's no different to being 'permanent'.

            1. Ciaran McHale

              Re: Glassdoor...

              Unfortunately, the UK IR35 law is an ambiguous mess. I agree that a rolling contract is often disguised employment, but I don't think that is always the case. The French law to prevent disguised employment is much more clear-cut than the UK IR35 law. In France, you can be a contractor at a single client for a maximum of 2 or 3 years (I forget which). After that, the client either has to make you a permanent employee or you have to stop working with that client for a certain time period.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Glassdoor...

          Your "experience" is lacking. There is the third and far more common situation: hustle means nothing and people have no choice.

      3. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Glassdoor...

        It's ALL risky these days. Temp or perm. The days of most people staying with a company 10 or more years is long gone. And forget about pensions or benefits.

        And please spare us the anecdotes to the contrary.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glassdoor...

          I’ve been at my company for 97 years and the benefits are so good I’m literally an immortal god. One who knows Perl.

          Do I win $5?

          (The money, not the command line arg.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glassdoor...

          @ecofeco Spare the anecdotes! Oh where to start? Well as graduate in need of a job back in the 90s I faced a choice between a perm job doing desktop support or prostitution. On most days I'm quite glad I chose IT, but there will always be a part of me that wonders how good I'd have been as a call girl. I suppose I could always consider it as a second career, post-50?

      4. fredesmite2

        Re: total crap

        Being a " free lance " or " contractor " by choice is a crock of shitte. It essentially means you are unable to maintain a full-time.job and meet expectations .

        A contractor makes less, has no benefits, no PTO no sick time, ,no bonus , no raises , no profit sharing or right to file patients. In other words you are ..at best .. a second class citizen.

        The only role.a contractor should have is taking their money while looking for a full time position . That is exactly what a corporation is doing to you. ... and in the end you are nothing more than a hooker left behind in a cheap motel..

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: staying in contracting from now on.

      You still have to deal with wankers in management, what's the advantage?

      This fucker can't unexpectedly ruin your xmas because you know it's coming?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: staying in contracting from now on.

        "You still have to deal with wankers in management, what's the advantage?"

        Not to anything like the same extent. If you're freelance and doing it right you'll be managing company finances to have a reserve. It's much harder to build up a FY fund as a permie - I know, I've been there. That reserve means that if need be you can walk bring the future forward a little quicker.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: staying in contracting from now on.

          Might be worth qualifying this to say if the company folds, as a salaried employee you're top of the pecking list for being paid - well, behind HMRC and the receivers. As a contractor either you get nothing, or your recruitment agency gets nothing. Fortunately last time it happened to me it was the latter, they were down by half a million.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: staying in contracting from now on.

            Depends on how you're contracted. If direct then it is likely the case. If through some other means then not necessarily, although I don't typically contract to small companies.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: staying in contracting from now on.

        You still have to deal with wankers in management, what's the advantage?

        Depends on how you are getting your contracts. I've never taken a consulting gig with someone I didn't already know. If I'm lucky, they will be my manager and I know they aren't a wanker (because I wouldn't accept the contract if they were) or they are higher up in the organization and the wanker will know his boss or boss' boss is who brought me in and either treats me better than he treats others or has to eat shit when I push back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: staying in contracting from now on.

          @DS999

          Tough talk. May I tell you as a business owner, I would not employ someone with your attitude.

          Maybe you should start your own business. You will soon learn.

          As for management being wankers? So why do all the moaners who, obviously, know better, work for them.

          The downvote button is at bottom left. Now may the sheeple spam it

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: staying in contracting from now on.

            Ah yes the "I am a business owner, you must kiss my ass" principle of employment.

            I've owned my own consulting business for 20+ years, and have done quite well despite you being unwilling to hire me, thanks. I also owned a bar/restaurant for 15 years concurrent to that, but fortunately for my employees I didn't treat them like the serfs you most likely treat yours as.

            1. mevets

              Re: staying in contracting from now on.

              Oh please, that dufus pretender has never been in charge of anything more than his backyard shed, and his wife that beats him regularly probably inspects it once a month.

          2. Ex IBMer

            Re: staying in contracting from now on.

            As a long time contractor, I actively *choose* who I work for. If management is being a PITA, then I simply don't renew the contract. I am lucky in that my dance card is completely full all the time, so I have choice.

            By the way, the downvote button is actually bottom right :-)

            1. Ciaran McHale

              Re: staying in contracting from now on.

              The voting buttons appear on the bottom left in Firefox on Linux. Perhaps they appear in a different location on a mobile browser.

          3. Number6

            Re: staying in contracting from now on.

            I wouldn't knowingly be employed by you either. It's often said that people don't quit jobs, they quit managers. You sound like one of those, it's perfectly possible to be in management and be polite and respectful to employees, it's the difference between being a leader and a boss.

          4. TheWeetabix

            Re: staying in contracting from now on.

            Vishal? Is that you?

      3. mevets

        Re: staying in contracting from now on.

        I recall sitting in a meeting where some drooling wannabe has captured a dozen people for an acid-dripped fantasy about how edge computing was going to drive the digital convergence that would make this company great.

        Had I been an employee who was concerned about the future of my team, organization and company; I would have been the first to shut the dumbass down. Drooling and pontificating morons don't just cost the hour that the top talent has to endure this asinine crap; it can take days to recover.

        As a contractor, however, a zen like state of bliss arrives. I am being paid 2500/day to meditate to a mantra of disconnected idiotic buzzwords; I can only say two scoops please.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: staying in contracting from now on.

          Yes that's probably the biggest unmentioned benefit of not being an employee. When you see management leading a company down the drain, you don't have to care. If they ask my opinion about something I think is a terrible idea I will give it, but I won't volunteer if it is something outside my contract.

          I saw multiple disasters in the making at an internet email provider I consulted with in 2003, and watched it implode a few years later right on schedule. I consulted at a Kleiner-Perkins funded startup with a promising idea that destroyed everything by constantly expanding the vision to compete with pretty much everyone instead of keeping a narrow focus on something that was actually achievable. That was also the only time I had negotiated stock options as part of my pay, so I took a small hit there, but there were other benefits that made it worth it - plus I'd always regretted not taking a shot with a startup back in the 90s when I was young, so I figured why not take the ride in a less risky way.

          If you're an employee seeing dumbass decisions, reading headlines about your company that you know will be a big problem (imagine being a Facebook Meta employee over the last few years) or whatever that might have you pondering whether you should polish the resume, or whether the stock price will stay high long enough for you to cash in the options that were the only reason you've stuck it out this long is stress I just don't need.

    3. Timo

      Re: Glassdoor...

      About 3 years ago Glassdoor's ratings system got revised, and the companies I tracked and worked for went from their previous deserved 2.3 rating up into the 3.4 area. It made it very hard to distinguish good companies at 3.5 from the horrid ones I knew that were now at the same levels.

      At that point I stopped paying attention to Glassdoor.

      Unclear what caused the shift, if it was Glassdoor kissing up to companies, or if someone had found a way to tamper with the feedback to get paid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glassdoor...

        could be a competition for the department with the most reviews for the company like our company promoted as a team building activity

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Glassdoor...

        Glassdoor was astroturfed.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Glassdoor...

      As Joshua Fluke notes, it's *amazing* when companies [damn] well expect you to supply a 2-week notice when you quit, but fire you instantaneously and walk you out the door within the same hour.

      And these sleazeballs are now wondering "Why are so many people refusing to come [back] to work for us?"

      ...

      They have spent the last half century telling us that capitalism "works", that it penalizes poor market behaviours and rewards positive role models.

      Let these scum suffer. Go out of business ASAP and do all of us a favor.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Glassdoor...

        Most US states are 'right to work' (the 'ethnic cleansing' of euphemisms) which mean you can quit with no notice.

        I did ask my first US boss if this meant that a 747 captain could slam on the brakes halfway down the runway, trigger the escape slide and walk off into the sunset. He just gave me the worried smile that most bosses seem to have with me.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Glassdoor...

          Runway? Pfft. I would be much more fun if a 747 captain quit midway between California and Hawaii, then negotiated freelance rates to continue the flight.

          "Oops. First officer's hours are up in twenty minutes. My rates just doubled"

          "B...b...b...but you can't do that"

          "And doubled again."

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Glassdoor...

            The risk is if security escort you "off the premises" !

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: right to work

          It may be legal to quit with no notice in those locales, but that does not guarantee that your ex-employer will throw you under the bus with poor industry references, blacklisting either in realty or simply via peer word of mouth, or just talk poorly of you behind your back to future customers.

          Sleaze will be sleaze, because they fundamentally must be the center of anyone's universe that they manage to connect with.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: right to work

            You have to assume that HR people in a particular area know each other. Blacklists are both illegal and common -- nobody operates a blacklist as such, its just "word gets about" (if you know what I mean).

            There's also a neat trick that they work on you in states like California. It comes down to how the EDD ("the dole" to UK readers) views your termination. If it is "for cause" then you don't qualify for unemployment. If you're meek and respectful then you might get offered a couple of weeks pay and benefits but you're probably have to sign paperwork that robs you of any rights you might have had.

            "Heads we win, Tails you lose"

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: right to work

              America is truly f••ked.

      2. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Glassdoor...

        Go out of business ASAP and do all of us a favor.

        I agree with the sentiment, but unfortunately we have had 40 years of being told that regulation is bad and have wound up with a whole bunch of "markets" that are only theoretically competitive.

        The vast multinational I work for (as an example) buys any competition as soon as it looks like they might grow into a problem.

        I'm pretty sure they can point to a competitor in every market segment they operate in, but the reality is that they send out a price increase to their customers every year.

        Now that there is a labour shortage the boss is trying to figure out why he can't get new staff (hint: offer more money) and he doesn't know that ~50% of his current staff are actively looking for a new job.

        However the company will continue to make money hand over fist because what are the customers going to do? Buy from someone else? Ha!

        1. Mark 65

          Re: Glassdoor...

          Sounds like a good market to try writing one of those fledgling competitors in. Getting bought out as a booster sounds better than the type of companies that crush competition.

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    What Garg did next

    work for IBM

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: What Garg did next

      In a Ginny Rometty podcast to us staff, she mentioned the amount of money IBM were spending on Watson 2 development, then stated that PBC Grade 2's weren't getting a bonus that year. "Thanks for all your hard work, we're spending the profits on a vanity project", pretty much. So yeah, it's quite IBM.

    2. Ex IBMer

      Re: What Garg did next

      He he he he he he he he he he ah ah ha ha ha ha ha he he he eh he he he.

      Said the ex IBM employee.....

  3. jake Silver badge

    What a cowardly little shit.

    That is all.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: What a cowardly little shit.

      Also he cried. Bad form.

      I bet Isambard Kingdom Brunel never cried.

      1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

        Re: What a cowardly little shit.

        On the day after the gala dinner for the great and good when IK Brunel built his Thames tunnel he threw an equally lavish dinner for the people digging it.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: What a cowardly little shit.

          @Roger Kynaston

          That would be the ones who didn't die of caisson disease.

          (TBF they didn't know much about the bends in those days)

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: What a cowardly little shit.

            AFAIK the Thames Tunnel wasn't excavated under pressure, it would have been far to big to do this at the time. The tunnel shield was supposed to support the tunnel, and keep out the water, until the brick lining was done.

            1. keithpeter Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: What a cowardly little shit.

              "However, many workers, including Brunel himself, soon fell ill from the poor conditions caused by filthy sewage-laden water seeping through from the river above. This sewage gave off methane gas which was ignited by the miners' oil lamps." --Wikipedia page on the tunnel

              I stand corrected.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a cowardly little shit.

      I know I'll probably get down-voted to oblivion for this, but here goes anyway.

      Most importantly I need to say that I'm not belittling what has happened to the poor 900 souls who have lost their jobs. I know that job loss hurts, and they have my sympathies. What I'm commenting on here is the whole "he did it over Zoom" angle. (also I should point out that I haven't watched the video of the call (at work and such content is blocked by the Fun Police) so don't know what the guy's demeanour was)

      He spoke to people over Zoom, so at least he delivered the bad news in person, rather than just sending 900 emails or putting 900 letters in the mail. The bad news came from the top man, and how else was supposed to do this in person? Say 10 minutes per one-to-one talk, delivered back-to-back to each employee would take weeks.

      Everyone got the bad news together, so it stops the first lot of people to get told from doing or saying anything that causes more tension and unrest for those who are yet to be told.

      1. neilo

        Re: What a cowardly little shit.

        Go and watch the video, then come back here.

        What makes this sickening is this:

        1. He assured people he wasn't going to cry this time

        2. He's doing this a few weeks before Christmas / new year, making it very hard for people to find new jobs fast

        3. He did this after receiving almost a billion-dollar cash infusion.

        Other comments he's made about his employees shows he's a slime-ball.

        As for doing it to 900 people at once over a zoom call, surely it would be better for their managers to have simultaneous meetings to deliver the news to smaller groups. How he did it was cold.

        Finally, and as others have said, companies demand a two-week notice period, yet fire 900 people on the spot like this. This CEO sack-of-slime has just tole the remaining employees how much notice the company is willing to tolerate, and this will backfire badly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @neilo - Re: What a cowardly little shit.

          It's good to be the king.

        2. Mark 65

          Re: What a cowardly little shit.

          I generally have little sympathy for people doing this at this time of year. You generally know in advance or, given a $750m injection, could wait until the New Year.

        3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: What a cowardly little shit.

          "2. He's doing this a few weeks before Christmas / new year, making it very hard for people to find new jobs fast"

          This is the problem with companies having their fiscal year ending the same time as the calendar year. Layoffs happen just before Christmas. This used to be the case for my employer and everyone thought it was really shitty!

          We now and our fiscal year end in February so any layoffs are after the holidays. The only downside is bonuses are not in March instead of January.

  4. Antonius_Prime
    Devil

    "Draw your own conclusions about such lists, dear readers"

    I take the BOfH's approach and chase the money to see who paid to do the survey...

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: "Draw your own conclusions about such lists, dear readers"

      My conclusion is "just think about what all the others must be".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Draw your own conclusions about such lists, dear readers"

      You're going to be disappointed. All these lists are straight pay-to-play; there's no complicated money trail weaving through the Caymans nor brown bags full of cash hidden in airport lockers. There's no stack of employee surveys mouldering in disused filing cabinets, and no carefully curated criteria for selection or ordering. You want to be on the list, you cut a cheque to the publisher. If you don't, don't. Simple as that.

      1. Antonius_Prime
        Devil

        Re: "Draw your own conclusions about such lists, dear readers"

        Oh no, not dissapointed at all, cheiftain!

        Like you, I **fully** expect them to be pay to play!

        But as long as the paper is soft and the edges aren't sharp, I can show my... appreciation, lets say, of such lists properly!

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Bastard

    I hope he's got his place reserved in Hell. This kind of guys is definitively part of the problem.

    Leaving in a socialist hellhole where such behaviour is prohibited by Law, I pity the poor slave wages having to endure such dorky actions

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bastard

      I don't think you think socialist means what you think it does. This is capitalism not socialism and the US's poor worker protections. So no you're not living in a socialist hell hole.

      1. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Bastard

        I don't think you understand sarcasm.

      2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Bastard

        Depends which definition of "socialist" you use. The one used by the Republicans, or the one used by everyone else. Republicans seem to define "Socialism" as anything that stops the employers doing pretty much what they want to their employees, and paying them as close to nothing as possible. Interestingly, this seems to be the Soviet definition of socialism as well, with the difference that the Soviets essentially brainwashed their population inro thinking this was good for them.

    2. Blofeld's Cat
      Coat

      Re: Bastard

      "... place reserved in Hell ..."

      He may not get in - they have standards too.

      Garg: I have a reservation.

      Demonic Maitre D: "Ah Mr Garg. No, you had a reservation."

      G: "Had?"

      D: "Yes 'had' - The Big Boss cancelled it."

      G: "Why?"

      D: "There were complaints. A number of denizens objected to your admittance. Even Vlad the Impaler thought your methods inhumane."

      G: "This is ridiculous. I demand you find somewhere to seat me."

      D: (sighs) "Very well." (dials phone) "Vlad? - Good, have you got a moment? ..."

    3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: I hope he's got his place reserved in Hell.

      Garg Hell.

      Last time he cried.

      This time it's a lump in his throat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hope he's got his place reserved in Hell.

        Nah.

        Just a bigger lump in his pocket around the site where he keeps his wallet.

    4. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Bastard

      hmm, not sure if it would be the Forth Circle of Hell, Greed or the Ninth circle of hell, Treachery!

  6. TimMaher Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Better.com

    Better than what?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better.com

      You better watch out

      You better not cry

      You better not pout

      I'm telling you why

      Santa Claus is coming to town

      He's making a list,

      He's checking it twice,

      He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice

      Santa Claus is coming to town

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Better.com

        Unfortunately, Santa Claus is a little too busy this year, so he's hired an assistant name Sasha Claws.

        Sasha gets the option to EAT all the naughty ones.

        You better watch out.

        You Better Watch Out.

        YOU BETTER WATCH OUT.

    2. Snowy Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Better.com

      Go some where else, any where else!!

  7. disgruntled yank

    He is the Walrus

    "I weep for you", the Walrus said,

    "I deeply sympathize",

    Holding his pocket handkerchief

    Before his streaming eyes.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: He is the Walrus

      No matter the context, using "this hurts (will hurt) me more than it hurts you" (and all variant forms) as an excuse is almost always a lie.

      Anecdote: When I, by choice, changed perm jobs in 2018 -- my only major change of my primary career -- *I* could have said that, truthfully... for maybe a couple of weeks. Once settled in New Job and former coworkers were starting to realize "oh crap he's gone" the hurt was all on their end.

      (Not really my intention to hurt my peers or even the company, but to fully explain this story will get too long and make me look like Pontius Pilate washing my hands of a bad situation by blaming former employer. At least I made sure I gave my two weeks' notice in person; the folks I gave the notice to would likely have preferred Zoom the way they just handled it as if I was gone that very day.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fraudly

    "Mortgages, Fraud Claims, and "Dumb Dolphins"" [Forbes]

    ...

    But Better’s investors appear to be overlooking a whole lot more than Garg’s scorched-earth management style: Ongoing lawsuits accuse Garg or entities he controls of improper and even fraudulent activity at two prior business ventures, and of misappropriating “tens of millions of dollars.”

    In fact, Goldman Sachs, which has invested in three of Better’s funding rounds, spent two years accusing entities controlled by Garg of “flagrant self-dealing.” The bank, which did not invest in the most recent funding round, quietly dropped its legal claims in October. Goldman declined to comment on its relationship with Better and Garg or why it dropped its claims, but presumably, it may see more upside from its stake in Better than what it might collect in court.

    Other parties in that dispute, including PIMCO — one of the world’s largest money managers — are still pursuing claims against companies Garg controlled, alleging they siphoned off money owed to investors in a troubled multibillion dollar mortgage portfolio. Meanwhile, a separate group of investors tied to management of the portfolio filed a lawsuit in June accusing Garg and his associates of fraud — a claim that Garg's attorneys have asked the court to dismiss.

    Yet another legal battle involving Garg has dragged on for the better part of a decade. His former business partner and college friend, Raza Khan, claims that Garg improperly moved $3 million from a software company the two men started to his personal bank accounts, and then used stolen technology to help build Better. Garg denies those claims and is countersuing, in a dispute so bitter that during a deposition Garg threatened to burn his former friend alive.

    Taken together, the litigation raises questions not only about Garg’s past business practices, but also about the origin of Better. He has previously said he launched the company in 2014 with money he saved for a deposit on a house. But one of the lawsuits claims that misappropriated funds were actually used to launch the mortgage fintech. The suit also claims that a venture capital firm where Garg is the founding partner made more than a dozen investments in other tech companies with that money. Patrick Lenihan, a spokesperson for Better, said, “We can’t comment on ongoing litigation, but we are confident that these accusations are baseless.”

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Fraudly

      Sounds almost tRumpian, don't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fraudly

        Nope. Their staff treatment may make sh*t look better, but at least they made a profit, even after any alleged siphoning and scamming. That's something the twice impeached orange never managed, which is why I am with interest looking at his venture to be more asocial than asocial media already is.

        I think we'll be looking at another instance of that well known astonomical phenomenon: the black hole..

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Fraudly

          @AC

          Said just like someone who has ZERO understanding of the construction industry!

          In construction you can make great money on a project or you can lose your arse! Trump Inc. has made a lot of money on construction projects and they have has some serious loses. That's just how it works! Sometimes you don't make a profit until years after the project completes because everything is held up in litigation!

          Considering Trump Inc. operated a lot of projects in one of the worst places to execute a construction project, the North Eastern US (Corrupt unions run by mobsters, corrupt politicians) and has actually made money there is a credit to their expertise navigating the minefield that that part of the country is!

          (Me: 30 years in construction, IT. British multi-nation construction company! We will not to business in the Northeast US! It is just to risky!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fraudly

      When Goldies accuses you of wrongdoing you know you're bad. I hope karma gets its man and the company is incredibly successful but he loses all rights to it due to the questionable origins.

  9. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    Best workplace?

    Still could be. All this shows is that is a bloody shite place to be sacked from.

    He still gets second place. First goes to the (reported here IIRC) company somewhere in the far east who came up with a cunning ploy. They triggered the fire alarm so everyone trooped outside, then there was a delay. This was followed by a megaphone announcement that everyone could come back in, but anyone who couldn't get in because their access pass now didn't work was sacked, should fuck off and any belongings at their desk would be sent to their home address...

  10. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    Cue the angry mob...

    I hope the 900 folks fired by this heartless shitstain all gather at his home with burning torches, buckets of pitch, sacks of feathers, & an utter refusal to disperse until Scrooge gets his holiday cheer rammed so far up his arse that he sneezes tinsel.

    You. Heartless. Fuck.

  11. Fred Daggy Bronze badge
    Terminator

    Zoom is the tool of all evil

    Zoom is the tool of all the that is heartless in the world. No wonder it is the favourite toy of the Executive classes.

    It was 51 weeks ago, our office was told it was moving, by Zoom, by a person a continent away. Moving actually meant, in the end, you're all sacked and we're employing younger, cheaper personnel 150km away. That's if you're role wasn't off-shored directly. Merry f*cking christmas, Cnuts.

    A manager can sack someone simply by staring in to the screen. Does not have to hear a single person crying, watch the colour drain from the face of someone facing financial or personal ruin or deal with any of the emotional consequences. Quite simply, I hope only bad things happen to people who announce life-changing events via Zoom. Bad things, like sudden and dramatic onset of a conscience and empathy which haunts them to their dying days.

    It may not be Zoom's fault all the arseholes using it, but god I hope that tool crashes and burns too.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Zoom is the tool of all evil

      Quite simply, I hope only bad things happen to people who announce life-changing events via Zoom. Bad things, like sudden and dramatic onset of a conscience and empathy which haunts them to their dying days.

      I was thinking more along the lines of recurring and ongoing panic/anxiety attacks, which haunts him to his dying days....

  12. Blofeld's Cat
    Devil

    Hmm ...

    I worked on contract for a company that was taken over by a US corporation.

    After several months of "onward to the glorious future" style presentations, a whole company meeting was arranged in a local sports hall so the new owners could address the workforce.

    The visiting US team unexpectedly announced that they were shutting down the whole UK operation, making everyone redundant.

    Evidently surprised by the reception their announcement received, one of the visitors suggested to the UK boss, (who was also seated on the platform), that "Security" needed to be summoned.

    He pointed out that this was unnecessary as the group of large men who had just described the visitors as "callous bastards*", were in fact "Security".

    The visitors left very shortly afterwards for the airport - at speed - in a car with four flat tyres.

    * Not an exact quotation

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Hmm ...

      "The visiting US team unexpectedly announced that they were shutting down the whole UK operation, making everyone redundant."

      @Blofeld's Cat

      Shades of the Bournville factory in Birmingham shortly after a takeover of Cadbury's by an American food combine.

      At least, after such a blow, people can hold their heads up high. No pretence of selection for redundancy on the grounds of poor performance or failure to adapt. Just a business decision about the presence of the owner's corporation in the territory.

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

        Re: Hmm ...

        MrsC hasn't eaten Cadbury's since that happened. And neither have I.

        (full disclosure - we have an excellent chocolatier in town so Kraft sort of pushed us in a direction we were happy to go).

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Hmm ...

      Welcome to American BusinessTM. May the Lord have mercy on your souls.

    3. Number6

      Re: Hmm ...

      Also when you get a clueless US boss who suddenly discovers he can't just fire a bunch of people in the UK, that he has to go through a 30 or 90 day consultation period first, even if his hit list is unchanged at the end of it. Then there's redundancy pay and, especially if the UK bosses are on the side of the workers, pay in lieu of notice to add to it.

      Yes, you can fire people but there's some cost to it, which has to be weighed against the cost of not firing them.

  13. Plest Silver badge

    No surprise

    Apparently he has form as a bit of tosspot with abusive, ranting emails to underlings and such like, this doesn't surprise me. You get to be CEO of a company without have an aggresive side, the key is the really good CEOs know how to temper and control the "beast within" to motivate staff, not kick them when they're down.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No surprise

      This is a cut price ez money mortgage co. If the economy takes a downturn, or maybe even if not, then the next chapter is about defaults, repossession, and mixing the uncollectibles into opaque bundles that get shifted to pension funds. He is the perfect lying asshole for the job, and his elevation reflects the standards of the culture that invested in him.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: No surprise

      But "kicking them when they are down" is the entire goal of being an American CEO!

      Or did you think Montgomery Burns was a cartoon character?

    3. hoofie

      Re: No surprise

      The mob I work for have grown from nothing to $250m ozzie in 20 years with the same guy at the helm. He is aggressive on business but we have bent over backwards to treat people with respect and NOT let people go during the GFC, Covid etc and it's noticeable how many people have been here for more than 10 years.

      It seems to be a US thing where being an utter prick as a boss in charge of a very large company is seen as good whereas in Europe etc. it's seen as an absolute no-no and not part of the social compact between company and employee.

      Good CEO's attract and keep talent in the business.

  14. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the unlucky nine per cent of the company

    To be honest, I think I'd be feeling unlucky if I was one of the staff who weren't fired after seeing that.

    They now know what their future looks like. Any intelligent ones will have started making alternative plans already.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: the unlucky nine per cent of the company

      The good ones have already gone.

      The various ongoing legal actions are very clear indicators that abandoning ship is the smart thing to do. The CEO is just the icing on the cake.

      Anyone still there is either desperate, or coasting and doing the bare minimum plausible to collect a paycheck while deciding what they want to do next.

      And I wouldn't be surprised if many of them have collected dossiers that will bury this man past the eyeballs

  15. Azamino
    Devil

    Timing

    Hey, the guy may be an arse but at least he told people before Xmas and, hopefully, in time to prevent a spending splurge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Timing

      Yes, before Xmas, but after both Thanksgiving (cost of travel, hosting etc that might have been better saved and the defacto start of the Xmas season, so few jobs / interviews etc), Black Friday and Cyber Monday (self explanatory).

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Timing

      And he probably chose to do it now because people were about to take time off, for which he's now not paying them. Some people may have the opportunity to cancel spending that would be harmful, but I don't think that's something the company gets credit for.

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: Timing

        Like I posted before, this most often happens because the company fiscal year ends on Dec. 31. They are closing the books for this year and putting their budgets and forecasts for the next year. The bean counters are all about cutting costs to make next years budget look good and make the forecasts look rosy! Easiest way is with terminations!

        I've had management come to out IT department at the end of the fiscal year and say "You have to terminate 3 people" No matter we cannot afford to lose 3 people, doesn't matter who, just terminate 3 people!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Timing

          I've had management come to out IT department at the end of the fiscal year and say "You have to terminate 3 people" No matter we cannot afford to lose 3 people, doesn't matter who, just terminate 3 people!

          "Sure, I nominate the head bean counter, the head of HR and the CFO. Oh, you mean from IT? No problem, the whole department will quit. Don't worry, we will all come back as consultants at triple our current salary." The only way to deal with witlings like that.

  16. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    So Classy, so classy

    what a turd, I feel sorry for the employees still working for this asshat

  17. xyz123 Bronze badge

    "The last time I did it, I cried," lamented The CEO.

    "But then again he always cries after touching himself", said his secretary.

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. sokolnik
    FAIL

    Wow...

    ....and I thought *I* am a jerk...

  21. Trigun

    I once asked why companies fire people just before Christmas and the response was "Would you rather everyone find out after christmas, having spent a ton of money and run up the credit card and then have no way to pay it?". A valid answer, but it's got to suck badly.

    As for that CEO: He comes across as a self centred arsehat. Not because he used Zoom, but because of how he comported himself. Even if you feel that "you got rid of the lazy ones" you don't actually bloody well say it. Good grief, have some class (and Humanity as well).

  22. Def Silver badge

    Not defending the cockwomble in anyway here, but I wonder if the latest round of investment was contingent on him cutting the workforce down?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Most likely, yes.

  23. Number6

    I do remember attending one of two meetings (in the days when we were all in the same building) and being told that while we were OK, the other lot were getting some bad news.

    I remember getting an email from the CEO once asking if I was in the office that day (I was working from home as per an existing arrangement). Ended up talking to him on the phone to discover that due to a funding crunch (a peril present in start-ups) I was one of a bunch of people being let go that day. My immediate boss was also on the list. I went in one day the following week to pick up my stuff and wish the survivors luck. I was already looking for a new job, but it's way better if you can do that while still getting paid.

  24. pixelgeek

    RE: Glassdoor...

    @Ciaran McHale. I see the Security Certificate for your site needs fixing. Firefox & Chrome complained at me.

    Most likely Safari & IE will let me in though :D.

  25. martinusher Silver badge

    Crocodile Tears are a C-Suite Speciality

    I've experienced enough layoffs -- both as an observer and as a victim -- to know the script. They're all terribly sorry, mortified even, about the way they're going to stick it to the victims.

    If you're working on-premises watch out for weekend activity by HR. There's usually a fair bit of paperwork involved in firing people so that has to be prepared and its usually done over a weekend or two so that everything appears normal to the unsuspecting sheep until the ramp is lowered to the slaughterhouse and you're cordially invited to "step this way" to the appropriate meeting. The fun bit is the way the survivors are treated -- its a mixture of kid gloves and intimidation as on one hand they don't want to lose too many of the survivors but on the other hand they really hate tongues wagging. (if the victim count is light then they usually go for 100% intimidation.)

    I am so glad I'm retired.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Auto play videos are bad

    You interrupted my music. Be’lakor’s excellent Coherence since you ask.

    Don’t do it again. You’re not the Independent (for a start you have journalists).

    I’ll go and read the article now.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "stealing" from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive.

    no matter how despicable this man (and how false his concern for 'collegues and customers'), my observations from a few work places (long-term, and relatively variable) confirm this to quite a degree. I wouldn't call it 'stealing', but I would say 'taking a free ride', definitely, relying on others to keep the structure from, basically collapsing. Ironically though this happened, the higher in the ranks you looked, and the more insight you got into their decision-making and actions. Well, perhaps the level of responsibility on that level of 'management' meant that I wasn't qualified to appreciate it, and the message should be: "I will work harder!". Fortunately, with more than ample evidence, I jumped ship. I will NOT work harder and I will NOT break my back for a (...) or two around the top.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: "stealing" from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive.

      Where I work we call it the "Fried Egg Syndrome!"

      The company is like a fried egg, the yoke is all the people who do all the work, the white is all the people who skate through the day and don't get anything of value done. Unfortunately, a lot of management sits in the white part of the egg!

  28. jon90909

    "The last time I did it I cried..."

    Sooooo Matt Hancock

  29. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    Employers don't deserve 2 weeks notice!!!

    This is a prime example of why I do not believe that employers deserve 2 weeks notice.

    If you believe you have been treated well and you want to give notice then that is your choice but if an employer threatens to hold back final pay or vacation pay if you don't give notice the get a lawyer!

    An employer will drop you like a stone without any notice! Compensation is not always a given.

    I know it's different in Europe but here in the US they can show you the door immediately, and then drag their feet issuing your last paycheck!

    And this guy is a douche! Why would anyone ever want to work there.

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