TAMPA – The CEO of a healthcare startup app accused of misusing funds for strip clubs and Uber Eats fired back in court, claiming his former business partner and best friend was using the legal system as a malicious form of retaliation.
Attorneys for Ecover Global CEO Raymond “Ben” Sever filed a motion to block an application for dismissal, arguing that ex-business associate Brandon Bowen’s case was so thin it shouldn’t go any further. Bowen, who has a minority stake in the company, has accused the CEO of abusing over $ 400,000 in seed capital.
In the most recent filing, Sever’s attorneys argued that Bowen was using lawsuits to “repeatedly publish wildly insulting, brutal and harmful allegations”. The file also argues that Bowen and his legal team “attached dozens of pages of flammable and irrelevant material”.
Sever’s attorney, Tampa attorney Jonathan Ellis, declined to comment on his client’s behalf. Bowen and his lawyer did not return calls or emails asking for comment.
Sever is the subject of two lawsuits filed by Bowen and a third filed by Bowen’s parents. That third lawsuit was filed last month. Bowen’s parents, Darrell and Rebecca Bowen, were seeking an injunction to prevent Sever from contacting them.
The lawsuit said a series of angry voicemails started just before 5 a.m., about a month after her son filed his second lawsuit against Sever. Sever had first tried to convince Bowen’s father to hand the phone over to his son.
“We could exclude Jesus Christ from the trial,” said 28-year-old Sever in one of the early morning messages according to the transcripts contained in that file. He told Bowen’s family that he and his legal team would “rain down on you from the holy (explosive) spirit,” the lawsuit said.
Connected: Tampa CEO is accused of using startup funds on escorts, travel, and strip club visits
Ecover Global operates a messaging app for doctors and patients. Bowen filed a lawsuit in June and September alleging court records allege that Sever was using company money as a “personal piggy bank.”
A judge recently denied the injunction filed by Bowen’s parents and Sever’s attorneys to dismiss the latest lawsuit altogether. The lawsuit also accuses Sever of “appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol” when the calls were made.
Bowen claimed Sever spent the startup’s money on alcohol and bar trips, as well as gifts, trips, and family members. His court case states that Bowen was fired after confronting Sever about his spending habits.
In the final file, Sever’s lawyers argue that Bowen’s allegations did not emerge until after his release. The file also states that the transactions Bowen used in his lawsuit were “duplicated” in order to create “dollar excesses”.
Sever, who has an 80 percent stake in Ecover according to court records, sought investor funding during a pitch night hosted by the Tampa Bay Wave in January. At the time, he announced to potential investors that the company had already raised $ 700,000 and was valued at $ 35 million.