Defunct Aspen hedge fund, former employee tangle in court |

Defunct Aspen hedge fund, former employee tangle in court

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A defunct, Aspen-based energy hedge fund claims a former employee is trying to shake it down in federal court.

Texas resident Clifton White is suing a consortium of hedge funds — Roaring Fork Partners LLC, Roaring Fork Advisors LP and Roaring Fork Advisors LLC — in the U.S. District Court of Denver. White claims he joined the startup May 1, 2013, and was fired by email notification July 1, 2014.

White sued Roaring Fork Advisors in September, but an amended complaint, introduced May 1 by Houston-based Law Office of G. Scott Fiddler PC, adds as a defendant firm founder and Aspen resident Sandeep Sachdeva, who declined comment Thursday.

White is seeking his base salary that he was due through his employment contract. White’s employers said he was fired with cause because he was not a team player, his suit says. But that reason didn’t satisfy the definition of “cause” in White’s contract, the suit says.

“Because White was not terminated for cause in accordance with the contract, he is owed his base salary and earned Company Profit Share Bonus through the remainder of his initial employment term,” the suit says.

In its response to the suit, also filed Friday, Roaring Fork claims White’s job performance was poor enough to comply with the “cause” definition in his contract. The answer also says White was fully compensated for his work.

“(White) was terminated for cause for, among other things, being abusive, negative and disruptive at work, and for abandoning responsibilities and not completing job tasks,” says the response, which was filed by Denver law firm Sherman & Howard LLC. “Further, he exceeded the scope of his responsibilities, openly and repeatedly questioned his superiors and stopped caring about his employer, interfered with trading operations, confronted traders and neglected his duties.”

The response says White’s suit was filed against a company that “is winding up and financially challenged.” It also says the lawsuit is baseless and aimed at getting a financial “windfall that would not constitute payment for any work (White) performed or for any benefit (White) generated for Roaring Fork.”

The Roaring Fork hedge fund, which specialized in U.S. natural gas, announced it was closing Dec. 29 after less than two years of existence because of its financial performance, according to published reports.