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Hyperloop One settles nasty lawsuit with co-founder

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Resolved for an undisclosed amount

Elon Musk's High Speed Train Concept Company Hyperloop One Holds First Public Test Run Photo by David Becker/Getty Images,

Hyperloop One, the well-funded, slightly dysfunctional, futuristic transportation startup announced that it has settled a lawsuit brought by four former employees, including co-founder and chief technology officer Brogan BamBrogan, for an undisclosed sum of money.

In an email sent to employees earlier Friday, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said he was “pleased” to announce the settlement of the suit, which stunned many when it dropped weeks after the company’s first public test. “Lawsuits can be distracting for companies; they often halt momentum until they can be resolved,” Lloyd said in his memo to staff. “That didn’t happen here.”

Indeed, the company recently announced its ambitious plans to build a passenger-ready hyperloop in the United Arab Emirates, releasing a fantastical vision for travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes. But while the lawsuit may not have distracted the company’s employees, it certainly overshadowed much of the company’s work since its test in the desert outside Las Vegas last May. The sordid saga was covered in length by Wired, New York Magazine, and other outlets.

The drama started when BamBrogan was ousted for reasons unknown just weeks after the desert test. Those reasons became clear in a lawsuit filed by BamBrogan and three other employees in July, alleging financial misconduct, abuse, and physical threats by several of the company’s top executives. He accused Lloyd, co-founder Shervin Pishevar, and Pishevar’s brother Afshin, of using Hyperloop One "to augment their personal brands, enhance their romantic lives, and line their pockets (and those of their family members)," according to the complaint.

In one of the more memorable allegations, BamBrogan said Afshin Pishevar left a hangman’s noose at his desk as a threat. Pishevar said the rope was meant to symbolize a cowboy’s lasso, referencing BamBrogan’s outlaw attitude. The company’s executives countersued BamBrogan, accusing him of conducting secret meetings in his garage to plot a takeover of the company. Both complaints are now settled under the confidential resolution, a spokesperson said.

“We are planning to build rad shit with rad people, starting with our take on hyperloop,” BamBrogan said in a statement from his lawyer. “More to come in the near future.”

With the lawsuit now behind them, Hyperloop One can focus on preparing for its first full system test of its ultrafast transportation system, which they’ve promised will be held in the first quarter of 2017.