Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million Dolla

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Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million Dolla

Postby admin » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:19 pm

Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million Dollars’ to Shut Me Up: Journalist Sarah Lacy was personally targeted for writing critical stories about the company
by Sarah Lacy
11/14/17

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
-- Sarah Lacy


Years before Susan Fowler came forward with her story about the mistreatment she suffered as an engineer at Uber, journalist Sarah Lacy began calling out misogyny within the startup’s culture. As editor of the tech website PandoDaily, Lacy criticized Uber for its mixed record on background checks, its tracking user data on one-night-stands and then-CEO Travis Kalanick’s comments about his own sex appeal. In 2014, she declared in a post that she was deleting the app. Uber took notice; at a dinner in New York City, executive Emil Michael told Buzzfeed Editor Ben Smith how he’d like to get revenge on critical members of the media, particularly Lacy. (Michael later apologized and Kalanick condemned the comments, both stating they weren’t representative of true plans.) In her new book, A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy, Lacy details what it was like to do public battle with Uber.

On a drizzly London night in November 2014, I received a call from BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith telling me that Uber, the largest and most misogynistic private company in tech, had reportedly just put a $1 million price tag on shutting me up.

From about 2012 on, my website PandoDaily had been one of the lone critical voices amid a global business press that was enamored with Uber. When we reported a story on passengers getting assaulted in Ubers, executives told our reporter that one of the women attacked was drunk and “dressed provocatively.” This from the company that told regulators it should get special treatment because it was helping women get home safely if they’d been drinking.

I explained in a post on Pando why I was deleting the app. I didn’t care whether Uber’s (never backed up) claim that it was safer than cabs was true or not. I knew from experience: Uber went after victims. It wasn’t worth my safety or the safety of the women I loved.

Like a lot of our past reporting on Uber, this story was widely picked up. We weren’t meaningfully hurting their downloads or their ability to raise money, but we were hurting their brand in Silicon Valley and their ability to hire. And talent is lifeblood in the Valley. Uber finally decided there was only one way to silence me: to try to destroy my personal life and reputation by any horrific means necessary.

At a dinner filled with journalists in New York, then-CEO Travis Kalanick was attempting to reboot his image in the press. It didn’t help that at the other end of the table, an Uber executive named Emil Michael was detailing to Smith a plan he had to silence journalists, starting with me. (The dinner was believed by some to be off the record, but Smith says Buzzfeed was not alerted.)

From Smith’s account:

Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press—they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Michael was particularly focused on one journalist, Sarah Lacy
, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, a sometimes combative voice inside the industry. . . It was suggested that a plan like the one Michael floated could become a problem for Uber. Michael responded: “Nobody would know it was us.”


Michael tried to brush this off later as “blowing off steam” and “a drunken rant.” Yet for a drunk man supposedly blowing off steam, he detailed to Smith a pretty precise plan, including the types of things he would try to spread into the media to silence me, in particular by going after my family. He even said I should be held responsible if women who had deleted Uber got sexually assaulted in cabs.

I paced outside an Indian restaurant in London, my phone pressed to my ear, as Smith detailed all this to me and asked if I had any comment. I had spent my career pissing people off in Silicon Valley and working with other brilliant journalists who did the same. And yet, I had never heard of anyone proposing anything this evil.

I thought of my children Eli and Evie. Right about then, they were probably wrapped in kitten and dinosaur pajamas, giggling and running through the house in a last-ditch effort to fight bedtime. If this “oppo research” plan was what the executives were bragging about at a dinner with journalists, what would they do to silence me that they wouldn’t brag about?

On Saturday 7 August, community activists from La Leonesa, a small town located within an area of large scale rice production in the Argentinian Chaco Department, went to attend a talk that was to be given by Professor Andres Carrasco, a scientist and doctor from the Buenos Aires University Medical School. A delegation of two provincial deputies, a former public official and members of the neighbouring community of Resistencia also came to La Leonesa to hear the talk. Professor Andres Carrasco’s research, concluded in 2009, highlighted the negative effects of glyphosate, a commonly-used agro-chemical, on embryos.

On arrival in La Leonesa at around 4pm, the delegation headed for the school where the talk was due to take place. However, the talk was suspended because the delegation was attacked by a group of around 100 people who threatened them and beat them. One person has since suffered from lower body paralysis after being hit on his spine, and another is undergoing neurological examinations after receiving blows to the head. The former provincial Sub-Secretary of Human Rights, Marcelo Salgado, was struck in the face and left unconscious. Dr Carrasco and his colleague shut themselves in a car, and were surrounded by people making violent threats and beating the car for two hours. Members of the community were injured and a journalist’s camera equipment was damaged.

Members of the community who witnessed the incident have implicated local officials in the attack, as well as a local rice-producer and his workers and security guards. They strongly believe that the violence was promoted by them, and motivated by the powerful economic interests behind local agro-industry. Despite calls to local authorities asking for help, the police were slow to respond and failed to send sufficient reinforcements to stop the violence.

-- Mob violence halts speech by Monsanto critic, by Richard Brenneman


I had two choices when Smith published his story and seemingly every media outlet in the world was hounding me for comment. I could do what I usually did when scandal erupted around me — let my work speak for itself and wait for it to blow over. Or I could fight back.

It was clear to me the only way to be sure Uber would never go through with this plan was if everyone in the world knew what they’d threatened. That was the only way my family would be safe. Be so loud and so omnipresent that in their war room meetings (yes, they really called their meeting room “the war room”) someone would tell Michael, “She isn’t worth it! Just walk away!”

I had another motivation, too. Michael had made it clear that I was only the first reporter he wanted to go after. I knew I had a megaphone others didn’t. I was also lucky that I worked for myself, and I controlled my board. I had no boss who could tell me to stop. Odds were the next woman this company attacked wouldn’t have those luxuries. If another story like this ever came out, I wanted the victim in question to immediately get the benefit of the doubt. My maternal rage extended beyond my family to every single woman this company might target next.

I did dozens of TV interviews. My story was written up in USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post. I went on the attack on social media whenever anyone would try to defend or normalize this behavior. I called out Uber’s investors by name for pretending to support women in our industry and being dead silent now. Some of those were Pando’s investors, too. And I made it a story beyond just me: It was proof of the toxic, misogynist culture that had made me delete the app to begin with.


Nothing about this was fun. One of my investors sent his security team to my house as the story exploded in the first 24 hours and my face was everywhere as the enemy of Uber. After an initial security assessment, it was determined that armed guards would follow my children and me for two weeks. I even had to take armed guards to Yo Gabba Gabba! Live.

A lot of “friends” and even investors turned on me. Some of our mutual investors would not even respond to my emails. Uber’s surrogates — including, not joking, the actor Ashton Kutcher — called me a “shady journalist.”


I have essentially spent two years (and counting) in a macro-hostile work environment when it comes to covering this company. But I have continued to report on Uber, exposing the depths of the fraud and struggles in their Chinese operation a full year before the company finally pulled out of the country completely. We were one of the first publications to raise questions about whether their core business model even worked.

Anything short of continuing to doggedly report the truth about Uber, no matter the consequences, would have been doing Michael’s dirty work for him, the way guilt does the patriarchy’s dirty work in women’s minds. If my own fears over security, safety, and reputation self-censored me, it would have been just another version of Uber’s plan working. You don’t get to threaten my company, my children, my integrity, and win.

In 2016 a judge backed up my instinct that this was more than just some drunken rant of a single executive. Despite Uber’s denials at the time that they would never hire covert oppo researchers to smear critics, Uber did exactly that to Spencer Meyer, who was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Uber, and his attorney Andrew Schmidt.

Uber hired a private investigative firm and launched an unethical investigation into the personal and professional lives of Meyer and Schmidt, calling people they knew and lying about who they were in order to dig up information they could use against them. As shown in court documents, the Uber contact wrote via email: “Would like to keep any communication about it encrypted or over chat to avoid potential discovery issues.” It was the fourth time Uber had hired the firm, according to a deposition. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said at discovery, “The court cannot help but be troubled by this whole dismal incident,” adding that the tactics were possibly “criminal” in nature.


But a lot of journalists swept that scandal under the rug. It took until 2017 for my original claims about Uber’s dangerous misogynistic culture to become widely vindicated. Susan Fowler, a female engineer, exposed systematic and blatant misogyny at the company, from sexual propositions by management to HR cover-ups. It was shocking that one person had experienced so much sexism in one year at a company.

When her story came out, Fowler was absolutely 100% believed by the press and the wider public. And the next woman who comes forward in Silicon Valley will have even better odds of being believed. It was Fowler who finally got justice. As a result of a corporate investigation she triggered, the once untouchable Michael was finally forced to leave, and Kalanick was finally forced out.

Speaking out is not fun. But this is the only way this sh-t ever ends. One woman at a time standing up to a hostile environment, and all of us supporting her. There’s a pro-woman management theory that’s popular right now called “Shine Theory,” where women are encouraged to amplify other women when they make a smart point in a meeting . . . the kind of points men typically take credit for. This is the more aggressive form of counteracting that. When a woman comes forward, you stand up and take the arrows with her.

From the book A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy. Copyright (c) 2017 by Sarah Lacy. To be published on November 14, 2017 by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
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Re: Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million D

Postby admin » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:20 pm

Revealed in court: 100% cast iron evidence of how Uber lies to secretly investigate and smear its critics
by Paul Bradley Carr
July 15, 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image

A week or so ago, a judge ordered the release of documents that show beyond all reasonable doubt that Uber hired a CIA-linked private investigation firm to investigate the personal and professional life of Portland attorney Andrew Schmidt and his client, Spencer Meyer. Meyer had recently filed a lawsuit against Uber and Kalanick.

The emails, some of which are embedded below courtesy of the Bangor Daily News, show Uber executives contracting the investigations firm, Ergo, to dig into the backround of Meyer and Schmidt.

Ergotism is the name for sometimes severe pathological syndromes affecting humans or other animals that have ingested plant material containing ergot alkaloid, such as ergot-contaminated grains. The Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony, an order of monks established in 1095, specialized in treating ergotism victims with balms containing tranquilizing and circulation-stimulating plant extracts. The common name for ergotism is "St. Anthony's Fire", in reference to this order of monks and the severe burning sensations in the limbs which was one of the symptoms. These are caused by effects of ergot alkaloids on the vascular system due to vasoconstriction, sometimes leading to gangrene and loss of limbs due to severely restricted blood circulation.

The neurotropic activities of the ergot alkaloids may also cause hallucinations and attendant irrational behaviour, convulsions, and even death. Other symptoms include strong uterine contractions, nausea, seizures, high fever, vomiting, loss of muscle strength and unconsciousness.

-- Ergot, by Wikipedia


The plan begins with Ergo contacting colleagues and friends of Schmidt, and lying about the purpose of their emails and calls, in order to trick them into revealing damaging information which could form the basis of further investigation. Kalanick had previously denied that Uber was aware of any kind of secret investigation against Meyer and Schmidt.

Worse, the emails also show attempts by Uber and Ergo to encrypt the emails to avoid problems "from a discovery perspective." That is, to ensure that they couldn't ever be uncovered by a court or law enforcement.


EXHIBIT E

DECRYPTED EMAILS
12/17/16 TO 1/19/16

FIRST EMAIL RECEIVED REGARDING PROJECT #2
12/17/15 @ 9:04 AM MST
EMAIL FROM MAT HENLEY TO TODD EGELAND AND MATTHEW MONEYHON

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
12/17/15

to me

DECRYPTED TEXT

Hey Todd,

How are things progressing with Pooja/Legal/etc? Anything you need me to follow up on here?

I have a sensitive, very under the radar investigation that I need on an individual here in the U.S. Per usual it’s pretty urgent (getting dead date from Joe now). Is this something you guys are interested in?

Mat

***

12/18/15 @ 9:52PM MST
MAT HENLEY EMAIL TO MATTHEW MONEYHON (TODD EGELAND CC’D)

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
12/18/15
To Matthew, me

DECRYPTED TEXT

Hey Matt,

Sorry, I missed this yesterday. A lawsuit was recently filed against Travis and we’re looking for some discreet research on the individual that’s filed it. Something you guys can work on? It’s here in the U.S.

Hoping to get something back to Salle first of January or so. I don’t have specific tasking on this, other than we have no idea who this dude is.

Would like to keep any communication about it encrypted or over chat to avoid potential discovery issues.

If it’s something you can take on, I’ll shot over the details.

Hope you guys are having a good holiday season.

mat

***

12/21/15 TODD EGELAND NOTE TO MAT HENLEY (MATTHEW MONEYHON CC’D) 10:28 AM MST

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
12/18/15
To Matthew, me

DECRYPTED TEXT

Mat, we are happy to undertake the requested research; we do quite a bit of this work for law firms. Please provide the details when available, and I will get back to you immediately.

Also, our MSA with Pooja and the lawyers is completed. We now have a very easy way to undertake individual projects. Once we have the details on this project, I will complete that form and submit as well.

Merry Christmas to you and your growing family!

Todd and Matt

***

12/24/15 @ 6:36 AM MST
MAT HENLEY NOTE TO TODD EGELAND AND MATTHEW MONEYHON

To Matthew, me

12/24/15

TRANSLATED TEXT

Hey Todd,

Attached is the complaint with him and his lawyer named. In your SOW, can you make sure to keep it general enough so that the research remains discreet from a discovery perspective?

Let me know when you think you have a due date in mind so I can relay it up.

Thanks,

Mat

***

12/28/15 @ 8:47 AM MST
TODD EGELAND NOTE TO MAT HENLEY (MATTHEW MONEYHON CC’D)

Todd Egeland tegeland@ergo.net
to Mat, Matthew
12/28/15

DECRYPTED TEXT

Mat, thanks for the information. After a quick secondary review of both the lawyer and the plaintiff, I suggest that you may also wish for some details on the plaintiff’s relationship with the lawyer as they outwardly appear to be at least college, if not life-long, friends.

Spencer Meyer (plaintiff) received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and his MS (2004) and PhD (2014) from the University of Maine in forest resources. He is currently at Yale and lives in New Haven, CT.

Andrew Schmidt (lawyer) also received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and law degree from UVa in 2006. In 2010 he founded “Towards Justice” a nonprofit that fights wage theft among low-income, mostly immigrant workers in Colorado. He moved from Colorado to Maine in 2013, the same time that Spencer Meyer was there. He focuses on labor law.

On the “maineworkerjustice.com” website, one testimonial said that, “Andy devised a nationwide plaintiffs’ class action suit that no other lawyer had likely ever conceived, and in moving it forward, Andy quickly transformed the working conditions of thousands.”

My recommendation on moving forward is to undertake a medium “Level-2” assessment of Spencer Meyer. This would include:

• An extensive public records search, including legal checks and court documents, government records (tax and mortgage, etc.), and affiliations/memberships.
• Social media assessment (including interactions with or about Andrew Schmidt and anything related to Uber)
• An initial “light-touch” reputational due diligence, engaging in 7 primary source interviews that that should highlight any issues for further digging, such as participating in any past lawsuits (particularly with Andrew Schmidt), and his relationship with Andrew Schmidt.
As part of this effort on Meyer, we will also look to determine the likelihood that the attorney, Mr. Schmidt, is actually the driving force behind the complaint.

We can complete this task in 10 business days at a cost of $19,500. We will provide intel as soon as we have anything substantial, followed by a written report that highlights all derogatories and areas requiring additional investigation.

Let me know if you wish for any adjustments to this plan. I will then complete the paper work with Pooja.

Best, Todd

***

1/4/16 MAT HENLEY EMAIL TO TODD EGELAND AND MATTHEW MONEYHON 2:38 PM MST. MAT HENLEY ASKED TO RESEND INFORMATION

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
to me, Matthew

Jan 4

DECRYPTED TEXT

On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 2:38 PM, Mat Henley mat@uber.com wrote:

Very sorry for missing that, and I can’t find it now. Would you mind resending?

***

1/4/16 @3:36 PM MST
TODD EGELAND EMAIL TO MATT HENLEY (MATTHEW MONEYHON CC’D) RESENDING PRIOR INFORMATION

Todd Egeland tegeland@ergo.net
to Mat, Matthew
Jan 4

Mat, thanks for the information. After a quick secondary review of both the lawyer and the plaintiff, I suggest that you may also wish for some details on the plaintiff’s relationship with the lawyer as they outwardly appear to be at least college, if not life-long, friends.

Spencer Meyer (plaintiff) received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and his MS (2004) and PhD (2014) from the University of Maine in forest resources. He is currently at Yale and lives in New Haven, CT.

Andrew Schmidt (lawyer) also received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and law degree from UVa in 2006. In 2010 he founded “Towards Justice” a nonprofit that fights wage theft among low-income, mostly immigrant workers in Colorado. He moved from Colorado to Maine in 2013, the same time that Spencer Meyer was there. He focuses on labor law.

On the “maineworkerjustice.com” website, one testimonial said that, “Andy devised a nationwide plaintiffs’ class action suit that no other lawyer had likely ever conceived, and in moving it forward, Andy quickly transformed the working conditions of thousands.”

My recommendation on moving forward is to undertake a medium “Level-2” assessment of Spencer Meyer. This would include:

• An extensive public records search, including legal checks and court documents, government records (tax and mortgage, etc.), and affiliations/memberships.
• Social media assessment (including interactions with or about Andrew Schmidt and anything related to Uber)
• An initial “light-touch” reputational due diligence, engaging in 7 primary source interviews that that should highlight any issues for further digging, such as participating in any past lawsuits (particularly with Andrew Schmidt), and his relationship with Andrew Schmidt.

As part of this effort on Meyer, we will also look to determine the likelihood that the attorney, Mr. Schmidt, is actually the driving force behind the complaint.

We can complete this task in 10 business days at a cost of $19,500. We will provide intel as soon as we have anything substantial, followed by a written report that highlights all derogatories and areas requiring additional investigation.

Let me know if you wish for any adjustments to this plan. I will then complete the paper work with Pooja.

Best, Todd

***

1/4/16 MAT HENLEY NOTE TO TODD EGELAND AND MATTHEW MONEYHON
4:05 PM MST

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
to me, Matthew
Jan 4

MM, I THINK MAT’S RESPONSE IS AT THE TOP OF THIS MESSAGE BUT IT ISN’T SHOWING UP ON MY DECRYPTION. DO YOU HAVE? I THINK IT SAYS: All looks good guys, thanks. Level-2 sounds good.

I CAN’T DECRYPT-MM

DECRYPTED TEXT (its missing the top part of the message)

Todd Egeland wrote:

Mat, thanks for the information. After a quick secondary review of both the lawyer and plaintiff, I suggest that you may also wish for some details on the plaintiff’s relationship with the lawyer as they outwardly appear to be at least college, if not life-long friends.

Spencer Meyer (plaintiff) received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and his MS (2004) and PhD (2014) from the University of Maine in forest resources. He is currently at Yale and lives in New Haven, CT.

Andrew Schmidt (lawyer) also received his Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 2002 and law degree from UVa in 2006. In 2010 he founded “Towards Justice” a nonprofit that fights wage theft among low-income, mostly immigrant workers in Colorado. He moved from Colorado to Maine in 2013, the same time that Spencer Meyer was there. He focuses on labor law.

On the “maineworkerjustice.com” website, one testimonial said that, “Andy devised a nationwide plaintiffs’ class action suit that no other lawyer had likely ever conceived, and in moving it forward, Andy quickly transformed the working conditions of thousands.”

My recommendation on moving forward is to undertake a medium “Level-2” assessment of Spencer Meyer. This would include:

• An extensive public records search, including legal checks and court documents, government records (tax and mortgage, etc.), and affiliations/memberships.
• Social media assessment (including interactions with or about Andrew Schmidt and anything related to Uber)
• An initial “light-touch” reputational due diligence, engaging in 7 primary source interviews that that should highlight any issues for further digging, such as participating in any past lawsuits (particularly with Andrew Schmidt), and his relationship with Andrew Schmidt.

As part of this effort on Meyer, we will also look to determine the likelihood that the attorney, Mr. Schmidt, is actually the driving force behind the complaint.

We can complete this task in 10 business days at a cost of $19,500. We will provide intel as soon as we have anything substantial, followed by a written report that highlights all derogatories and areas requiring additional investigation.

Let me know if you wish for any adjustments to this plan. I will then complete the paper work with Pooja.

Best, Todd

_______________
Todd Egeland
Managing Partner
tel +1 703 332 1911

Ergo
122 East 55th St.
New York, NY 10022
tel +1 212 421 4035
http://www.ergo.net

***

1/4/16 @4:33 PM MST
MAT HENLEY EMAILED TODD EGELAND AND MATTHEW MONEYHON

Mat Henley mat@uber.net
to me, Matthew
Jan 4

DECRYPTED TEXT

REDACTED

Todd Egeland wrote:

Yes, I got it! We can use Wickr if you prefer

_______________
Todd Egeland
Managing Partner
tel +1 703 332 1911

Ergo
122 East 55th St.
New York, NY 10022
tel +1 212 421 4035
http://www.ergo.net

On Mon Jan 4, 2016 at 4:08 PM, Mat Henley mat@uber.com wrote:

Let me know if you got that last one ok. I deleted your old key and added a new.

We can also communicate via Wickr if that’s preferable. Nothings worse than the 30 years of attempted PGP mail client integrations

mat

***

1/4/16 @ 6:29 PM MST
TODD EGELAND EMAIL TO MAT HENLEY (MATTHEW MONEYHON CC’D)

Todd Egeland tegeland@ergo.net
to Mat, Matthew

Jan 4

DECRYPTED TEXT

I THINK THIS IS THE DECRYPTED TEXT (BUT ONLY MY NAME COMES UP IN DECRYPTION)

Mat, perhaps Wickr for back and forth messages and PGP for attachments and notes for the record? I will send you a Wickr invitation.

Todd

Todd Egeland Note to Matthew Moneyhon: NOTHING COMES UP WHEN I DECRYPT

Moneyhon response: REDACTED

***

1/7/16 @ 10:49 AM MST
MAT HENLEY TO TODD EGELAND

Mat Henley mat@uber.com
to me
Jan 7

DECRYPTED TEXT

This is a sample header that we use on work product, copying Craig (craig.clark@uber.com) on anything sensitive. I am not a lawyer – just following example 

Mr. Craig Clark
Legal Counsel
Uber Technologies
1455 Market St
4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

REDACTED
REDACTED This report contains Confidential and/or Privileged information and is protected under Attorney-Client Work Product Privilege.

***

1/19/16 TODD EGELAND EMAIL TO MAT HENLEY (MATTHEW MONEYHON CC’D) 10:29 PM MST DELIVERING OUR REPORT ON THE PROJECT

Todd Egeland tegeland@ergo.net
to Mat, Matthew
Jan 19

DECRYPTED TEXT

Mat, attached is the report on Spencer Meyer who filed the Complaint against Travis. Of course, let me know if anyone has any further questions, comments, or issues.

Best, Todd


Unfortunately for Uber and Ergo, the judge ordered that the unencrypted versions of the messages be handed over and made public. An Ergo executive also admitted in court that the company, working on behalf of Uber, had deliberately lied to find dirt on Meyer and Schmidt.

The story has received a fair amount of attention in the media, with some commentators expressing shock that Uber would plot to secretly smear its critics. Ho ho ho. Those with longer memories are shocked for a different reason: Finally we have cast iron proof of something we've known for a very long time, but that the company has always flatly denied. That Uber was, and is, willing to hire private investigators to secretly investigate and smear its critics.

Two years ago, Buzzfeed reported that an Uber executive had boasted of a secret plan to "go after" critical journalists including Pando's Sarah Lacy. At the time, Uber's friends and investors like Jason Calacanis insisted that the plan was simply a hypothetical, and that Uber would never, ever do anything so sleezy as to hire private investiagtors to secretly go after critics. CEO Travis Kalanick apologised for his executive's behavior and insisted that such a smear campaign -- which totally hadn't happened, remember -- did not represent the company's values. He promised Uber would learn from the experience.

Some close to Uber went even further, trying to spin the suggestion that Sarah was just attention seeking and had possibly made the whole thing up.

And yet.

This month's court filings prove that Uber would, and did, attempt to secretly investigate critics by hiring a CIA-linked investigations firm to lie and cheat in order to find dirt for a smear campaign. More alarmingly, the Meyer and Schmidt investigation a full year after Uber denied an opposition research campagin against Sarah and Pando and promised to learn from its behavior. We now know all it learned was to encrypt emails and use even more sleazy private detectives.

The obvious question is how many others has the company gone after that we don't yet know about?


Q. Do you recognize the name Onwuama Charles?
A. Yes. Is he one of your guys? Did you hire him to send him to me? I -- I've always been wondering that since he came in on the -- "Oh, I just -- you know, I'm interested in the Metamorphoses -- the Golden Ass, you know, hey, you know, I want to be your library assistant," the day after I posted the link.
Q. Okay.
A. Was he your guy? I mean, are you answering? Did you send him? Because he was a fraud. He gave me all kinds of passport information and -- and vehicle registration that
Page 38, lines 1-25
was false.
Q. Okay. He was interested in the Golden Ass?
A. He was the -- he -- he said -- he was one of those people that I had been talking about, which is why I want this video to be secret, because he is one of your guys on the Internet who -- who -- who is, you know, doing your dirty business for you.
Q. So your understanding is that --
A. He wasn't -- he said -- you know, who -- you can't believe what these people say. You know, they're -- they're -- they're basically just harassing me for you.
Q. So your --
A. So that you can have your one e-mail that says, "Hey, I was interested in the Golden Ass." So you got it.
Q. So it's your judgment that he was not a journalist or a writer?
A. It's my judgment he was a Nigerian scammer.
Q. And not a -- not a journalist or a writer?
A. No, because I looked -- I -- I did research of him afterwards and I found that he had set up -- like a CIA agent or something -- he had set up accounts all over the internet that were completely empty except for pictures of asses, donkey asses.
You think this is funny?
Image

Q. Ma'am, if the telephone -- excuse me, if the
Page 39, lines 1-25
camera were on me, I -- I would not be showing amusement. I think everyone here could testify separately.
My question to you is, Mr. Charles said that he found you by searching for the Golden Ass. Do you recall that?
A. Yes.
Q. And --
A. I -- I mean, I don't remember what he said. He said something about the Golden Ass.
Could I take a break? I -- I'm all out of water and I need to go to the restroom.
Q. Yes, let's take a break. In the interest of time, could we keep it strictly to five?
Thank you very much.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Going off the record at 3:46.
(Recess)
Page 67, lines 1-25
MR. BOSWORTH: All right. Thank you.
BY MR. BOSWORTH:
Q. Ms. Carreon, I jumped right into any number of matters because of the circumstances of the time that we began this, 3:04, and the time that we have, so I need to go backwards on a few things.
I want to make sure that I've said to you that, if you don't understand my question, ask me to repeat it or rephrase it.
A. (Indicating).
Q. You're nodding your head that that's -- you're in agreement with that; correct?
I'm sorry. The reporter needs you to say yes or no.
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you.
A. I guess.
Q. Tell me what concerns you have.
A. I have the concern that you hired Onwuama Charles to hassle me and I would like to know on the record whether you did that or not.
Q. Do you have any --
A. Are you going to answer it? Can't you just say --
Hey, you know what, under federal rules of civil
Page 68, lines 1-25
procedure, you know, you not denying it is an admission, so I will take that as an admission that you hired Onwuama Charles to harass me on the Internet.

-- Ethics Complaint to State Bar of Oregon Re Duane Bosworth and Davis, Wright, Tremaine, LLP, by Tara Carreon


Strangely, the same investors who were so quick to defend Kalanick and Uber back then have fallen silent now. Perhaps they too have been distracted by the BamBrogan story -- another story that involves claims of scumminess by Uber investors and pals of Travis Kalanick.

What's the word? Oh right, cesspool.

Image
Matt’s Shit Fo’ Brains, by Tara Carreon
Menu:
[Public] Citizen [Paul] Levy’s Poop Platter ………. $79.99
Popecrap in Ken [Paul] White Sauce ……………… $49.99
Ann Bransom Diarrhea Souffle ……………………. $19.99
Nate Anderson’s Crap Bisque …………………….. $29.99
Joe Donatelli’s Anal Trifle ……………………,…… $ 3.99
Corynne McSherry’s Fart Tart ……………………… $16.99
Chris Recouvreur’s Big Logs ………………………. $ Free
100% PURE SHIT
TECHDIRT FREE DELIVERY

Eat at Matt’s Shit Fo’ Brains
by Tara Carreon
July 12, 2013

Excreta — I had never spent much time thinking about it until I started digging into Matt Inman’s website, and realized that he, a very smart guy indeed (in a bad way), is really into it! It’s everywhere, and in great variety. This explains the uniformity of the mental content of people who are big Inman fans. I examined the outpourings of Paul Levy of Public Citizen Litigation Group, Ken White of Popehat, Ann Bransom, a Popehat acolyte, Nate Anderson of Ars Technica, Joe Donatelli, flamous all by himself, Corynne McSherry of EFF, and Christopher Recouvreur.

There’s no difference among them, because Matt is pumping pure 100% shit through every one of them. In fact, if you can face the awful truth, you can just back up a truck to his place, and haul it away by the dumpster load. But shit-eaters have their brand loyalties. Most people like to eat shit that comes out of a nice, familiar face, so that’s why you can pay a lot, a little, or just eat free at Matt’s Shit Fo’ Brains! You might as well just eat Recouvreur’s free logs, because the nutritional content is no different than Levy’s Poop Platter. It’s all a matter of preparation and texture. While Corynne McSherry’s Fart Tart is indeed as light as air, it will stay with you for a long time. And even though Nate Anderson’s Crap Bisque at first seems pedestrian and devoid of all true coprophiliac panache, eventually you realize that this is true of all the food at Matt’s Shit Fo’ Brains. It’s just crap, any way you slice it.
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Re: Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million D

Postby admin » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:37 pm

Judge Slams Uber for Digging Up Litigant’s Dirt
by Adam Klasfeld
July 25, 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


MANHATTAN (CN) — Uber’s team of unlicensed private eyes engaged in “blatantly fraudulent and arguably criminal conduct” to dig up dirt on a Connecticut man behind a class-action lawsuit opposing surge pricing, a federal judge said on Monday.

The day Spencer Meyer sued Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick on Dec. 16, the company’s general counsel Salle Yoo floated a question to the company’s general security officer.

“Could we find out a little more about this plaintiff?” Yoo reportedly asked in an email.

The message eventually got forwarded to Mat Henley, Uber’s director of investigations, who retained Manhattan-based firm Global Precision Research to snoop on Meyer and his lawyer Andrew Schmidt.


In a 31-page ruling published Monday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff skewered the course the San Francisco-based company took.

“It is a sad day when, in response to the filing of a commercial lawsuit, a corporate defendant feels compelled to hire unlicensed private investigators to conduct secret personal background investigations of both the plaintiff and his counsel,” Rakoff wrote.“It is sadder yet when these investigators flagrantly lie to friends and acquaintances of the plaintiff and his counsel in an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to obtain derogatory information about them.”

Doing business under the name Ergo, the Uber-retained company describes itself as a business intelligence and advisory firm, and its website boasts of taking on 800 projects in nearly 120 countries.

The CIA’s former chief strategy officer Todd Egeland and ex-Department of State employee Matthew Moneyhon serve as its managing partners, and they received Uber’s inquiry about opposition on the lawsuit.

Boasting that they “do quite a bit of this work for law firms,” the men assigned the case in January to Ergo’s investigator Miguel Santos-Neves, who used false pretenses to pester 28 of his targets’ acquaintances and colleagues, according to the ruling.

The judge said that, in one instance, Santos-Neves posed as a researcher upon learning that Meyer had been a Yale University-affiliated conservationist.

Santos-Neves also illicitly recorded phone conversations without consent in Connecticut and New Hampshire, states with two-party consent laws, according to the ruling.

Following a roughly two-week investigation, Ergo reported to Uber: “Meyer may be particularly sensitive to any publicity that tarnishes his professional reputation.

Ergo’s cover got blown after a co-counsel on Meyer’s team, Brian Feldman, got suspicious and followed up on who had been calling the acquaintances of the firm and its client.

Though Uber and Ergo sought to protect their communications under work-product privilege, Judge Rakoff found that the crime-fraud exception undermined that claim.

“Here, the court finds that Ergo, in investigating plaintiff, was engaged in fraudulent and arguably criminal conduct, and that many of the documents over which Ergo claimed work-product protection were intended to facilitate this fraudulent and arguably criminal activity,” the opinion states.


Uber and Ergo did not immediately reply to emailed requests for comment Monday.

In a phone interview, Meyer’s attorney Feldman emphasized that Ergo’s investigation failed because of his client’s “sterling professional reputation.”

“We’re certainly pleased with the court’s opinion,” he said, declining to say much more to protect his client’s privacy.

The judge, however, had much more to say about Uber and Ergo’s conduct.

“Even beyond the rules of professional conduct, moreover, litigation is a truth-seeking exercise in which counsel, although acting as zealous advocates for their clients, are required to play by the rules,” Rakoff wrote. “It would plainly contravene this truth-seeking function if non-lawyers working for counsel, such as Ergo, could make fraudulent representations in order to surreptitiously gain information about litigation adversaries through intrusive inquiries of their personal acquaintances and business associates.”

Rakoff ordered Uber not to use the information that it gleaned on Meyer and Schmidt or try to investigate their backgrounds any further.

“Specifically, the court hereby enjoins both defendants and Ergo from undertaking any further personal background investigations of individuals involved in this litigation through the use of false pretenses, unlicensed investigators, illegal secret recordings, or other unlawful, fraudulent, or unethical means,” the opinion states.

Uber avoided monetary sanctions by reaching an undisclosed settlement for the plaintiff team’s legal fees.
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