Two disgruntled ex-employees of Amp’d Mobile – a broadband entertainment company owned in part by Universal Music and MTV Networks – sent a fraudulent e-mail to company officials and outsiders that alleged financial shenanigans and sexual antics inside the Los Angeles-based start-up, according to a lawsuit filed by the company.
The e-mail, obtained by The Post, was purported to have been sent by Derek Andersen, the company’s chief financial officer, and was titled “Amp’d Mobile Confessions.”
It stated: “We have misrepresented information to the press, investors and all of you. And as a result I fear the senior management of Amp’d Mobile has put the company [all of you] at risk.”
The spurious e-mail prompted Amp’d to file a libel lawsuit last week in L.A. Superior Court in Santa Monica against two ex-employees named Fred Johnson and Julia Lam, in which the company warned that the fiasco could harm its business.
Amp’d, armed with a reported $300 million in capital from the likes of MTV, Universal Music and the private-equity firms Highland Capital Partners, Columbia Capital and Redpoint Ventures, launched to significant fanfare at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The company sells handsets that allow users to access a variety of content, such as video clips, music and games, all rented over spectrum from Verizon Wireless and targeted at the lucrative demographic of 18- to 25-year-old men.
The company also partnered with several production companies, including LivePlanet, co-founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and Bunim/Murray Productions, to produce original content.
An Amp’d Mobile representative declined to comment on the e-mail other than to say, “The company is taking this matter seriously.”
Tim Pico, a lawyer for Johnson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the complaint, Amp’d said that the “publications of false and disparaging statements have induced and will continue to induce companies, customers, and investors not to deal with Amp’d . . . As a result, Amp’d has suffered pecuniary losses and irreparable injury to its business reputation among current and potential investors.”
The original e-mail, which was sent March 3, alleged a host of improprieties within the company, including interoffice affairs and shady bookkeeping.
One passage reads, “This company is full of lying, deceiving, manipulating and womanizing men. I am ashamed that I can relate to all of that. Not to mention the financial antics . . . kind of reminds me of the Enron disaster.
The e-mail was promptly followed by a reply from the company’s general counsel that said, “The e-mail, which you have all just received, is not from Derek Andersen. We are, right now, looking into how our system could have been exploited.”
The e-mail also purported to disclose the salaries of certain employees, calling the figures “absurd.”
In the lawsuit, the company also accuses the defendants of hacking the company computer system and obtaining secret financial information, such as sales and marketing data, and then offering it up to competitors. [email protected]
Fighting words fired by e-mail from the offices of Amp’d Mobile, a company backed by Universal Music and MTV, are creating a stir in entertainment circles.
‘This company is full of lying, deceiving, manipulating and womanizing men. I am ashamed that I can relate to all of that. Not to mention the financial antics … kind of reminds me of the Enron disaster.’
– purported to sent by Derek Anderson, Amp’d’s chief financial officer
‘The e-mail, which you have all just received, is not from Derek Andersen. We are, right now, looking into how our system could have been exploited.’
– General counsel for Amp’d
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