The legal dispute between a Silicon Valley VC and his former mistress is getting even uglier.
Last week, Michael Goguen, a now former managing partner at Sequoia Capital, was sued for “sexually, physically and emotionally” abusing a woman for more than 12 years.
On Monday, Goguen filed a countersuit, alleging that the woman, Amber Laurel Baptiste, was extorting him.
Baptiste is suing Goguen for breach of contract. She says he agreed to pay her $40 million for abusing her and giving her HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, but only gave her $10 million.
But Goguen’s side of the story alleges that Baptiste was not a victim but someone who fell in love with Goguen and then wanted his money when he refused to leave his wife and children for her.
“Ms. Baptiste concluded that if she could not have Mr. Goguen’s heart, at least she could have his money,” reads Monday’s filing.
Goguen does not dispute that they were romantically involved and that he was married at the time. It also does not dispute that he agreed to pay Baptiste $40 million and only paid out $10 million. But he says she failed to live up to her side of the deal — to stay out of contact with him — and so he refused to pay the rest. Goguen’s filing says she was also asking that he accelerate his payments to her.
Baptiste alleged that she met Goguen when she was 15, as a stripper in Texas, and that she had been a victim of human trafficking. Meanwhile, Goguen’s complaint states that she was 22 when they met and that she moved to the U.S. from Canada under a “sham” marriage to get a visa. It also says her allegations about HPV and abuse are false.
The complaint from Goguen, filed in San Mateo, includes personal text messages, emails, and even “a few of the milder” photos of her in lingerie — all to show disprove her accusations of being abused and sodomized.
Goguen was let go from Sequoia on Friday, which the company announced in a tweet: “We understand the allegations about Michael Goguen are unproven and unrelated to Sequoia. Still, we decided his departure was appropriate.”
Goguen — who had been at Sequoia since 1996 — invested in the energy and security sectors and was sitting on the board of more than a dozen companies.
As a firm, Sequoia caught flak in December 2015 when chairman Michael Moritz gave a less than stellar explanation for why his firm doesn’t have any female partners. Sequoia is “not prepared to lower our standards” to get more women in the door, Moritz said.