Hermalyn takes shots at DraftKings CEO Robins in latest court filing

Archer aiming at target
Image: Shutterstock

The mud is still slinging in the ongoing legal saga between Mike Hermalyn and his former employer, DraftKings. In a recent filing from Hermalyn requesting a jury trial and denying the charges filed against him in the initial complaint from DraftKings, Hermalyn brought up some new allegations, one of which involves CEO Jason Robins.

CCO allegedly miffed by Robins’ preference for Hermalyn

According to the filing from Hermalyn, Robins was a fan of Hermalyn, so much so that he would regularly go straight to Hermalyn instead of his boss, Chief Customer Officer Shawn Henley.

“It was an open secret at DraftKings that Mr. Henley felt eclipsed by Mr. Hermalyn and was threatened by his position and success within DraftKings and beyond,” the complaint reads. “Mr. Henley therefore sought to take Mr. Hermalyn down a peg any chance he got, including by seeking to undercut his professional rival’s position at DraftKings and by repeatedly taking credit for Mr. Hermalyn’s work.”

The complaint also says that, even though DraftKings is a publicly traded company, it is “effectively controlled” by Robins.

According to Hermalyn, his access to desirable people and events was what drew Robins to him. The complaint emphasized that these contacts were Hermalyn’s, not the company’s, so these were not contacts Hermalyn was stealing and taking to his new employer Fanatics but contacts that Hermalyn brought to DraftKings in the first place.

Court docs call DraftKings “vindictive”, “Machiavellian”

The complaint also continues to portray DraftKings as a “toxic” company to work for, and a place that employees were eager to leave for other opportunities.

The opening of the complaint paints a bleak picture:

“Behind the curtain of DraftKings’ competitive world of gaming and sports betting is a Machiavellian leadership team that rules with fear and intimidation tactics. This lawsuit is a vindictive effort by the top echelon at DraftKings to drag its former employee Mr. Hermalyn through the mud and suppress legitimate competition in the market.”

The filing said this isn’t the first time DraftKings has resorted to such tactics and alleges that 186 DraftKings employees have applied for roles with Fanatics since the company announced its sports betting aspirations.

Hermalyn brings up PointsBet bidding war

Hermalyn also calls out DraftKings for artificially inflating the purchase price of PointsBet for Fanatics.

“It is well known that just last year, DraftKings’ Mr. Robins purposely initiated a bidding war against Fanatics to acquire the U.S. assets of PointsBet Sportsbook in a concerted effort to ruin the deal for Fanatics, or at least to drive up the cost of Fanatics,” the response states.

DraftKings entered a $195 million competing bid to buy PointsBet after Fanatics offered $150 million for the assets. Fanatics later upped its offer to $225 million, which PointsBet accepted.

Hermalyn has requested a jury trial to resolve the initial lawsuit filed against him by DraftKings. In the meantime, he is appealing the temporary injunction against him that a judge granted in April.