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RadiumOne fires CEO Gurbaksh Chahal after abuse charges

Despite guilty plea, Chahal maintains his innocence and casts himself as the victim

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 28, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3692

CEO firings always seem to be messy in one way or another. Be it accusations of sexism, homophobia or even ageism, one party always seems to be dragged through the mud.

In the case of ad platform RadiumOne, though, this is an ugly, ugly story. 

On Sunday, the company's board of directors announced that it was letting CEO Gurbaksh Chahal go, and installing Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, in his place.

The move came after Chahal pled guilty earlier this month to two misdemeanors for domestic violence and battery, paying a $500 fine, and thereby avoiding a total of 45 potential felony charges. Even worse: he was caught, on videotape, beating his girlfiend 117 times.

Let me repeat that: he alledgedly hit a woman 117 times. That is... well, what can you even say about that? I think it speaks for itself.

So, I would say that It is pretty easy to understand why the RadiumOne board might not want some like that being the public face of the company, wouldn't you?

This is statement they released:

"At a board meeting yesterday evening, RadiumOne's board of directors voted to terminate the employment of Gurbaksh Chahal as CEO and Chairman of the company. Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, will take over as CEO of the Company immediately," they said.

"Bill has an extraordinary professional background and has helped build BlueLithium and RadiumOne into industry leading brands. We are confident he will continue Radium One’s impressive trajectory."

If that was the end of the story, it would be bad enough. But it gets much worse. So much worse.

Not content with not going to jail, despite what seems to be clear evidence against him, Chahal went and put up a lengthy blog post on Sunday, entitled "Can You Handle the Truth?" in which he maintains his innocence (despite taking the plea deal), casting himself as the victim and slandering the woman who he was convicted of beating. 

It's kind of a long post, so here are some of the highlights, and many ways that Chahal tries to make himself a victim in this situation (there are many, and some of them are doozys!)

  • First, according to Chahal, he has been the "recipient of death threats and hateful language" that were aimed at him, not only because of his crime, but because of his ethnicity, social class, "and even my gender."
  • He accepted the plea deal, he said, because "after a lot of soul searching I believed I was acting in the best interest of my company, my employees, my customers, my family, my friends and my investors."

"I was charged with 45 felony counts of domestic violence.  All of those charges were dropped, and ultimately the case settled when the DA’s office recognized they had no case and offered me a misdemeanor plea," he said.

  • He called the $500 fine "simply what those misdemeanors require, and in no way reflects the toll that this ordeal has exacted on me."

"There can be no dollar value placed on the pain and suffering I have caused my family and friends, my employees and customers my investors, and everyone else who has looked up to me in the past.  The humiliation and shame I feel is immeasurable. The dollar cost to my business and my reputation is incalculable."

  • And the reason he got so angry? Because he found out his girlfriend was actually a prostitute. Yep... you read that part right. 

"The situation that resulted in my legal case began when I discovered that my girlfriend was having unprotected sex for money with other people." (Emphasis his) But he "didn’t hit her 117 times, injure her, or cause any trauma as the UCSF medical reports clearly document."

(Not to make light of what is obviously a very, very serious situation, but I cannot be the only person who thought of this while reading that, can I?)

  • He states that it was "only a matter of time" before these charges would be filed against him. And not because he abused his girlfriend but because "Celebrities in sports, entertainment and business, and high net worth individuals in general are all potential targets." 
  • He ends the post by invoking, I kid you not, the Founding Fathers and the American Dream. Yeesh!

"What is the American Dream? That you can come from nothing and make something of yourself not once, not twice but three times, only to have all of it come crashing down from misinformation, that is spun wildly out of control into the world of make believe and then goes viral into the blogosphere. We need to hold on to the American Dream, and reject those who would rather make it a nightmare," Chahal wrote.

"Our Founding Fathers believed in the dream, why not the bloggers."

Oh, and there is one more interesting nuggest nestled in there. He is still calling himself the CEO of RadiumOne, despite the fact that the post was put up after the decision made by the board.

"As CEO of RadiumOne, I vow to make it a hugely successful company, a great place to work, and a wonderful partner in the community."

As ReCode pointed out Chahal might not be going from his job to easily, or quietly, as you might think. After all, he is the company's major shareholder, and the director and chairman of the board, so he actually has at least some control all key decisions made at the company. 

Is one of those decisions whether or not he still has a job? Chahal and the board seem to be of two different minds about that one.

VatorNews has reached out to RadiumOne to find out what exactly Chahal's status at the company is, and if they had any statement about his blog post. We will update if we learn more.

Now excuse me while I go take a shower.

(Image source: firstworldfacts.com)


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