Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is facing two lawsuits from former employees who allege that they were pressured into violating securities laws while working at his company, Strive Asset Management. The lawsuits were first reported by Bloomberg.
The first lawsuit was filed by Joyce Rosely, who claims that she was fired as co-head of institutional sales after raising concerns about an executive making sexual advances toward a lower-level staffer and about securities violations. Rosely also alleges that Ramaswamy and cofounder Anson Frericks pressured her into using sales materials that promised future returns and allowed unregistered employees to make sales pitches, both of which are securities violations. She also complained about Ramaswamy's social media posts, which she believed amounted to illegal securities sales.
The second lawsuit was filed by John Phillips, who claimed that he was lured to Strive Asset Management from his previous job at JPMorgan on false promises about the firm's financing and Ramaswamy's commitment to the company. Phillips alleges that Ramaswamy misrepresented the company's finances and that he was pressured to violate securities laws.
Both employees were fired in March, with Phillips claiming he was fired without cause and Rosely alleging age discrimination in addition to being fired in retaliation for her complaints.
A spokesperson for Strive stated that the company intends to vigorously defend itself but declined to comment further on the litigation.
In the lawsuit, Rosely also claimed that she reported the sexual harassment incidents to Frericks, who allegedly told her that it was "none of his business."
Rosely's attorney, Christopher Lenzo, argued that Ramaswamy did not take the management of the company seriously and that it was primarily founded as a PR mechanism for his presidential campaign.
Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for president in the Republican primary in February, citing his business acumen and accomplishments as reasons why he should be the next president. He founded Strive Asset Management after stepping down as CEO of drug development company Roivant in 2021. As a presidential candidate, Ramaswamy is currently polling third in most averages, behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.