'Destructive' lawsuit looms over scandal-hit Uber

Things could go from bad to worse for Travis Kalanick

That revelation's impact was somewhat lessened by the fact that Graves would remain as a member of the board.

"This is continued evidence of Benchmark acting in its own best interests contrary to the interests of Uber, its employees and its other shareholders", the representative said. It accused Kalanick of breaching his fiduciary duty and contractural obligations by loading up Uber's board with friends.

The letter was referring to a May boating accident that killed Kalanick's mother and injured his father even as the hard-charging Uber co-founder was losing his position as CEO of the company.

San-Francisco-based Uber is still seeking a new CEO and on Thursday its global operations chief revealed to staff in an email that he would be standing down from the role in mid-September.

The dissenting shareholder group - headed by Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, Hyperloop One backer Shervin Pishevar, and music mogul Adam Leber - blasted the legal salvo from Benchmark's Bill Gurley as a "fratricidal" move against Kalanick that could jeopardize Uber's ability to raise funds and find a new CEO.

The suit revolves around a decision a year ago to increase Uber's board from eight seats to 11, with those additional three seats in the sole control of Kalanick.

A representative for Kalanick said the lawsuit is "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations". The three investors and Benchmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Freada Kapor of Kapor Capital, an early investor in Uber, told the Financial Times that the lawsuits and changes in the board could mean less focus on the cultural changes the company has been trying to make. The other two seats are still vacant, notes TechCrunch. It's also asking the court to prevent Kalanick from participating in board meetings. But in a statement, Kalanick's spokesperson said the lawsuit is an attempt to deprive Kalanick of his rights as an Uber founder and shareholder. "Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected".

© 2017 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. A tape of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver over falling fares was also released in February, prompting the CEO to apologize and admit that he needs leadership help.

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