Former Wallabies captain George Gregan has been accused of “cowardly and reprehensible behaviour” in legal proceedings involving a sports startup.
PTP Fitness founder Alexander Goldberg claimed Mr Gregan and former Waratahs player Matthew Dixon “hatched a plan” to remove him from the business that sells fitness items including resistance bands, yoga mats and fit balls. Mr Goldberg has brought legal proceedings in respect of that claim.
Mr Gregan, Mr Goldberg and Mr Dixon are directors of Fitness Systems United, which trades as PTP Fitness and turns over about $20 million a year.
PTP Fitness was started by Mr Goldberg in 2010 and attracted an investment from his brother-in-law Mr Dixon who became a partner in the business before bringing Mr Gregan on initially as an ambassador for a fee of $20,000 per year.
However, the relationship between the business partners fell apart with Mr Goldberg commencing legal proceedings in the Supreme Court against Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan disputing the shareholders’ agreement.
In that case, judgment was awarded in Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan’s favour and costs ordered against Mr Goldberg. Mr Goldberg then launched seperate proceedings in the Supreme Court against PTP, Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan claiming oppressive conduct, and Fitness Systems launched its own proceedings in the Federal Court against Mr Goldberg claiming breach of directorial duties.
Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan hatched a plan to get rid of Mr Goldberg and then to dilute his shares.
Mr Goldberg’s claims against Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan were outlined in a solicitor’s letter sent in October last year and seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald which claimed the pair pushed him out of the startup he founded.
“Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan hatched a plan to get rid of Mr Goldberg and then to dilute his shares on a trumped-up charge of serious misconduct… when Mr Goldberg exposed Mr Gregan’s breach of his endorsement agreement,” the letter states.
Mr Goldberg claimed Mr Gregan breached his contract by endorsing the products of the startup’s “main international competitor” TRX and increased his income from an ambassadorial fee to PTP to a salary of $200,000 and a car allowance of $12,500.
Mr Goldberg claimed he was wrongfully terminated after Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan planned to “drop the hammer” on him.
“The manner in which Mr Dixon and Mr Gregan carried out their plan can only be described as cowardly and reprehensible,” the letter states.
Mr Goldberg was dismissed at 4.33pm on the day before Mr Goldberg’s partner was scheduled to give birth to a baby by caesarean section.
A company source who wished to remain anonymous said the dismissal process went for several months and was delayed at Mr Goldberg’s request.
The letter claims Mr Dixon was suffering “severe stress and anxiety” at the time of the dismissal.
A spokesperson for Mr Gregan and Mr Dixon said they were defending the proceedings.
“As directors and shareholders of [PTP] Fitness Systems, George Gregan and Matthew Dixon have always exercised their powers and duties in the best interests of the company and in accordance with the law and responsible and ethical corporate governance. This will be demonstrated in the pending court cases.”
A directions hearing in the Supreme Court is listed for February 10, 2020.
Source: Thanks smh.com