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Ex-Snapchat Employee Files Federal Whistleblower Suit

A former Snapchat employee who has accused the company of exaggerating its growth metrics today filed a new lawsuit accusing the company of violating a federal whistleblower protection law.

Anthony Pompliano, who ran the company’s growth team for three weeks in 2015, first filed suit in state court in January. That complaint — which was heavily redacted — accused Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, of inflating its metrics to investors in anticipation of going public. Snap Inc. has vehemently denied Pompliano’s allegations, and described him as a “disgruntled” former employee who was “fired for poor performance.”

Snap Inc. later released the unredacted version of the complaint, saying it has “nothing to hide.” In that document, Pompliano detailed his brief tenure at the company. He described his efforts to warn Snap CEO Evan Spiegel of the inflated numbers, and said that Spiegel quickly shut down the conversation. He also said that Spiegel was uninterested in expanding into “poor countries” such as Spain and India.

Since the filing of the original complaint, Pompliano dropped his initial lawyers and hired the firm of Pierce Sergenian. The new lawyers opted to file a complaint in federal court (posted below). The complaint largely restates the allegations made in Pompliano’s suit in state court. It does add a few slides from the presentation that Pompliano gave to Snap’s senior executives, including this one:

The slide compares Snap’s user growth to rival social media platforms, and warns that Snap’s growth curve is closer to Twitter’s than to Facebook’s. The full presentation was provisionally filed under seal. Pompliano’s lawyers state they do not believe the full presentation is subject to Pompliano’s confidentiality agreement, but sealed it out of “an abundance of caution” and “in light of the strong public interest in contents of the presentation.”

The new complaint also discloses that Pompliano was lured away from Facebook with a $240,000 annual salary and a promise of $3.5 million in stock, which would vest over four years. The suit seeks damages to compensate Pompliano for his lost salary and stock awards, which he estimates would now be worth $5 million. Pompliano alleges he was also deprived of stock options and income at Facebook, and suffered damage to his professional reputation.

After leaving Snapchat, Pompliano was hired as chief operating officer of Brighten Labs. He later sued that company for wrongful termination and breach of contract.

Snap did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: A Snap spokesman issued the following statement: “These are the same baseless claims and defective arguments, repackaged for yet another new venue.”

Pompliano Federal Complaint by gmaddaus on Scribd

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