ASHLAND, Ky. - Founder and former CEO of Braidy Industries Craig Bouchard entered a reply Friday to the response submitted by the defendants in a lawsuit Bouchard initially filed.
Bouchard claims he was wrongfully removed as the CEO and Chairman of the Board. He seeks for reinstatement in those two positions. The Braidy defendants responded in court, and several red flags regarding Bouchard’s financial decisions are included in those documents.
Bouchard, however, says all of the apparent findings resulting from an internal investigation conducted by CFO Julio Ramirez — among them personal expenses on the company account, unsubstantiated travel and meal charges, other travel-policy violations, personal bonuses and legal work conducted on the behalf of Bouchard billed to the company — are false.
On the contrary, Bouchard said he has been traveling internationally and “working tirelessly on behalf of the company for two years to develop relationships with potential strategic aluminum investors to fund the $1.8 billion of cash needed for construction of the Atlas mill, among other things,” according to court documents.
Braidy Industries executives revealed in their meeting with the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee that part of the reason the board voted to remove Bouchard is they wanted to see “more progress, faster.”
According to Bouchard, their “unexplained decision” to remove Bouchard on Jan. 28 has “raised an urgent and critical warning flag for potential investors.”
Bouchard claims more than $2 billion of funding from potential investors has been placed in peril.
On Feb. 3, new Chairman of the Board Charles Price informed Bouchard that he was on administrative leave with pay, and that he was to keep away from company premises at this time.
Currently, Bouchard is merely the largest shareholder of the company.
Bouchard said he can salvage a $60 million investment with an undisclosed company if he is reinstated promptly.
Bouchard said, pending reinstatement, another agreement can be salvaged — one that entails up to $1.8 billion of mill equipment and building expenses, he said in court documents.
The former CEO also said there was serious interest from an American private equity firm that had expressed intentions entailing a $200 million investment, but since his removal, the company wrote that it wanted to see “the dust clear” at Braidy before proceeding, according to court documents.
The Braidy defendants claim Bouchard’s global travels didn’t always align with business motivations.
Bouchard said that claim is “entirely baseless.”
“I document my travels on Facebook for my thousands of followers in the community, to show them that we are a global business looking for global strategic partners,” Bouchard said.
He mentioned one trip, in particular, in which he brought his daughter along for her 18th birthday. He said he paid for all of his daughter’s airfare and meal expenses from his personal funds.
“During my entire three-plus-year tenure as Braidy’s CEO and Chairman, I am unaware of anyone at the company ever raising an issue with any of my business expenses or other disbursements of company funds,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard also denied the defendants’ claim regarding legal work.
“I believe I know what this is referring to, and if so, the allegation is not only incorrect, but the board was well aware at the time of this legal work and the fact the company was appropriately paying for it,” he said.
Bouchard is represented by McBrayer PLLC, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP and Potter
Anderson Corroon LLP. Bouchard filed the initial suit on Feb. 14 in Delaware. Braidy Industries, Inc., John Preston, Charles Price, Michael Porter, Christopher Schuh and Hannah Management LLC are represented by Richards, Layton & Finger, PA.
Both parties arrived at four potential trial dates: April 3, April 8, April 24 and May 13. According to Braidy Industries’ filed documents, May 13 is the lone date of the four that does not pose a conflict for either side. However, Bouchard’s counsel has not yet accepted that date, so there is no date determined presently.