Peter Thiel’s VC Firm is Suing “Winnie Cooper’s” Sister
Not even a great fiction writer can come up with this plot.
Crystal McKellar played Becky Slater on The Wonder Years. Her older sister is Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper. And today, she faces a breach of contract lawsuit from Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management. Put on your seatbelt…
Mithril Sues Crystal McKellar
Crystal McKellar worked as general counsel at Mithril Capital Management, a firm Peter Thiel co-founded in 2012. The 43-year-old child actress turned Harvard Law School graduate became general counsel and managing director at the venture capital firm in 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Following her departure in February 2019, Mithril’s team alleges that McKellar began writing deceitful, anonymous letters to investors trying to “undermine” the firm.
A breach of contract lawsuit in Texas against McKellar alleges that – in these letters – she accused Mithril co-founder Ajay Royan of “lying to investors and the public about how much he is charging us in management fees.”
The complaint calls the statements in the letters as “false, anonymous complaints” meant to “sow discord between Mithril and its business partners.”
The anonymous letters were not signed. However, at least one letter had a handwritten address on it. The firm used handwriting analysis to conclude that she had penned the letter.
She denies it, but the breach of contract lawsuit is seeking $1 million in relief…
Crystal McKellar Pushes Back
In a conversation with Fox News, McKellar said she has not received a copy of the complaint. She further claims that the venture firm gave the documents to the media, in what she describes as a “swampy move.”
“Based on the media coverage, I can state that the allegations of wrongdoing are unequivocally false, and it will be a simple matter to prove them false if it gets that far,” she said. “But this isn’t about me. This is about what’s going on at Mithril. This is about Mithril’s investors, who are families, foundations, and charities that help the most vulnerable Americans, and the pension funds that permit our public servants to retire with dignity. These investors placed their trust and money in promises that were made by Mithril.”
She also claimed she departed the firm after it “became clear” that the firm’s leadership was lying to investors.
Ajay Royan Goes on the Record
McKellar’s statement comes a day after Ajay Royan appeared at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. During the event, he addressed the allegations in these letters. The company also confirmed that it spoke with the SEC and the FBI about the alleged “smear campaign.”
According to PitchBook, the firm filed the suit in Travis County (Texas) District Court. The complaint further details the chronology of her departure and events since February. The firm alleges that she engaged in a whisper campaign.
“So the short version is that there [has] been a series of falsehoods both reported about us and conveyed about us in a set of anonymous communications that were sent to various people, our business partners and others in our community,” he said at the conference. “And at some point, this had to stop, and we took the time to gather the facts.”
Finally, it’s worth noting that Thiel and Royan founded the firm in San Francisco in 2012. However, it announced plans to relocate to Austin, Texas in 2018 after it closed its second fund.
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