news 8 months ago

Gearbox: Allegations Meritless, Plans to File Grievance With State Bar

Variety — Brian Crecente

Borderlands” creator Gearbox Software called allegations levied against it and CEO Randy Pitchford “meritless allegations” and that the company plans to file a grievance against Wade Callender, the former general counsel of “Borderlands” developer Gearbox Software that is suing them.

In the lurid lawsuit, Callendar accuses Pitchford, among other things, of negotiating a secret $12 million executive bonus with publisher Take-Two Interactive. The lawsuit also claimed Pitchford left a USB drive at a Texas Medieval Times restaurant in 2014 containing sensitive Gearbox corporate materials and a personal collection of underage pornography. The suit also accuses him of siphoning Gearbox profits to fund so-called “Peacock Parties” at his home, where adult men would allegedly expose themselves to minors to Pitchford’s amusement.

In an email to Variety, Gearbox said it would be filing a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against Callender for disciplinary proceedings for “filing a lawsuit that includes accusations that he knows to be untrue.”

“The lawyer’s rules of professional conduct expressly prohibit the filing of documents that are knowingly false,” according to the email.

Gearbox points to the use of what it calls the use of “hedged lawyer language and clever application of quotation marks” in the lawsuit. “Wade is engaged in a shakedown and he’s clearly using deceit and lies to try to cause damage by promoting a narrative that he knows is false,” according to the email.

Gearbox also specifically addressed the claims made against Pitchford in regards to the memory stick story and the “Peacock Parties.” The company said that the allegations about underage performers is false. Gearbox pointed to the Piff podcast, which was recorded on Dec. 18. Callendar’s lawsuit was filed on Dec. 21 and the podcast went live the next day.

In terms of the “Peacock Parties,” Gearbox notes that the Pitchfords own the Peacock Theater, which hosts a variety arts show that has “featured some of the most respected and renowned performers in the world and has been attended by prominent members of the local community and larger media.”

The performances are all recorded, though Gearbox said it couldn’t release those videos without first receiving consent from the performers. It did offer to allow Variety to watch the videos for validation.

“You will see that there is nothing to support what Wade has alleged and that Wade’s claims are false,” according to the email. ” Also, the fact is that there’s no such thing as a ‘Peacock Party.’ This is terminology that the Pitchfords have never used and was made up by Wade in a further attempt to paint a sensational picture that is demonstrably false.”

Gearbox said the other business claims, including those relating to the “secret bonus,” are also untrue.

“Randy is shocked by the meritless allegations brought up by a former friend and colleague, to whom he has extended his personal funds multiple times to help him purchase a home, a car, and even fully finance his tuition and expenses for an executive MBA at Pepperdine.”