By on February 7, 2017

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

Faraday Future’s preeminence in bad publicity has been unsurpassed as of late. It has amassed legal disputes almost as fast as I can report them, so another lawsuit might seem par for the course — until you realize it’s for an almost trifling amount over a mismanaged squabble surrounding the company’s domain name.

A complaint was filed against the automotive startup in San Francisco County Superior Court on November 18th of last year by a business acting as a broker for obtaining the company’s current domain name. The document outlines a $210,000 claim against Faraday for neglecting to remunerate Domains Cable for services that resulted in the acquisition of FF.com. 

Last month, Faraday Future formally refuted the claims against it in a document snagged by Jalopnik and requested the judge to dismiss the issue. However, the litigant’s attorney, John O’Connor, claims the matter is a simple case of nonpayment. “[Faraday] went around the broker, there’s nothing mysterious or elusive about it,” he told Jalopnik. “I don’t think it requires the kind of discovery that one would get in an antitrust suit or an intellectual property suit. This is a pretty straightforward case.”

The plaintiff’s lawyer also said he thought Faraday’s behavior was indicative of serious financial woes. “One would not expect this of an expanding firm,” he explained. “One would expect this behavior by a firm that is perhaps troubled.”

The complaint alleges that FF’s former head of corporate communications, Marcus Nelson, recruited his longtime acquaintance, Suraj Rajwani of Domains Cable, to assist in purchasing an appropriate domain name for the company. The two apparently entered into an oral agreement with Mr. Rajwani in early 2015. The complaint also references numerous text messages from that April where the two discuss potential domain names and the terms of their agreement.

A month later, the document maintains that Rajwani told Nelson that FF.com could be purchased for one million dollars. After some consideration and discussion with management, the complaint says Nelson authorized Rajwani in writing to make a $400,000 offer and asked “think you could make that happen?”

At the time, the domain was owned by Bank of America and Rajwani allegedly entered into negotiations to acquire it at a much higher price. Talks continued for months until mid-July, when the purchasing price was negotiated down from $2.5 million to $1.5 million. The following month, the complaint states:

In the midst of negotiating for the purchase of FF.com from Bank of America, and after Mr. Rajwani had been working on the transaction for months, Mr. Nelson suddenly informed Mr. Rajwani that he had gone around him and was negotiating for the sale of FF.com.

The domain changed ownership in September of 2015, Nelson left the company the following month, and Rajwani did not receive the commission he felt he was promised. According to the document filed with the court, Nelson claimed he finalized the deal himself because his “bosses were getting freaked out that things were taking too long.”

[Image: Faraday Future]

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