The saga of ex-Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski continues to get stranger, with fresh accusations of stealing trade secrets. This time, they’re coming from the somewhat surprising source of Erika Wong, the former nanny for Levandowski’s two children from December 2016 to June 2017, via a report from Wired.
Levandowski had previously worked at Google where he ran the self-driving program there (the program was later spun out into a standalone company, Waymo) before leaving to work at Uber, and is accused of stealing approximately 14,000 documents from Waymo.
According to Wired, Wong filed a lawsuit earlier this month accusing Levandowski of breaking various California labor laws. But within the 81-page complaint are new allegations against Levandowski of stealing trade secrets.
Wong claims that Levandowski apparently had an expletive-filled conversation with his lawyer the day Waymo first filed its lawsuit against Uber, demanding to know “how could they do this to me?” Wong also describes how a month later, after Waymo filed for a motion for an injunction against Uber, Levandowski came home with then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, bringing a bucket of circuit boards and lenses, and legal documents for Levandowski to sign.
Just a perfectly ordinary evening meeting with a bucketful of circuit boards and some legal documents
Wong’s complaint also alleged that Levandowski was paying for information from a Tesla employee named Pat Green, who was said to be providing updates on Tesla’s self-driving truck technology — specifically, the company’s non-LIDAR technology and use of Nvidia chips. Wong also mentions overhearing Levandowski boasting about “microchips sales all over the world,” and suggests that Levandowski may be involved in autonomous startups Argo AI and JingChi, although Wired reports it was unable to find any evidence linking Levandowski to either company.
Obviously, for now Wong’s claims are just that: one person’s claims without any corroborating reports. But if true, it’s another piece of an increasingly bizarre puzzle that could have far reaching implications in the upcoming Uber / Waymo lawsuit.
In a statement release to Wired, Levandowski’s spokesperson dismissed Wong’s claims, commenting: “On January 5th, a frivolous lawsuit was filed against Anthony Levandowski in US District Court. The allegations in the lawsuit are a work of fiction. Levandowski is confident that the lawsuit will be dismissed by the courts.”