Gearbox CEO Accused of Taking Alleged Secret $12 Million Bonus

“Pitchford struck a deal in 2016 to receive a “personal, secretive ‘Executive Bonus’ of £12,000,000.”

Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox, and a former general counsel for the game studio are in a legal battle in which the counsel accuses Pitchford of allegedly receiving “a secret £12 million bonus from publisher Take-Two Interactive as an advance against Borderlands profits.” As reported by Kotaku, the legal battle was sparked when Gearbox sued its former counsel, Wade Callender, for “fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.” According to the lawsuit, Gearbox alleged that Callendar, who worked at the company from 2010 until 2018, borrowed money and destroyed evidence for a home loan, borrowed money for tuition, and paid back neither in full.

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In addition, Callendar reportedly “abused the privilege of credit card access by charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships and firearms accessories, and trying to get six-pack abs.”

A little over a month later, in December of 2018, Callendar sued Gearbox and Randy Pitchford, accusing Pitchford “of violating various contracts involving both Gearbox and a separate real estate company that they both owned, as well as Callender’s own employment contract.” Callendar’s lawsuit claimed Pitchford and he were longtime friends, but the relationship began to deteriorate over the past couple of year.

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The main point of the lawsuit alleges “Pitchford struck a deal in 2016 to receive a “personal, secretive ‘Executive Bonus’ of £12,000,000 to be paid directly to a Pitchford entity called ‘Pitchford Entertainment Media Magic, LLC.'” That bonus, Callendar and his lawyers argue, is an advance upon royalties that would otherwise go to Gearbox’s staff.” The allegations don’t end there, and some get pretty ugly.

Callendar claims Pitchford left a USB drive in a Dallas, Texas restaurant that contained sensitive corporate documents for Gearbox and many partners including Sony and Microsoft. Furthermore, the lawsuit states “upon information and belief, Randy Pitchford’s USB drive also contained Randy Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography.”

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Wade also accused Pitchford of hosting parties in which “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford.” “The allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are absurd, with no basis in reality or law,” a Gearbox spokesperson said in a statement to Kotaku. “We look forward to addressing this meritless lawsuit in court and have no further comment at this time.”

This isn’t the first time Gearbox has been in a lawsuit, as in 2013 the company found itself in a legal battle over Aliens: Colonial Marines for falsely advertising the title.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN and thinks this is quite a messy situation.

You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst.

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