Fired employee of PassivDom sued the company and lost. The case involves AVentures fund previously accused of share extortion

On October 10, 2019, the Dniprovskyi Court of Kyiv City ruled in favor of Maksym Herbut’s PassivDom accused of illegal dismissal of an employee. The company produces “autonomous homes” based on resource-saving and resource-generating technologies. The names of the persons involved in the case are not disclosed in the register of court decisions, however, it is known that the plaintiff was Andriy Stetsovsky, who worked at PassivDom as the Development Director from 2017 to 2018.

In addition, Andrey Kolodyuk, the managing partner of the AVentures Capital fund, is also involved in the case (in the portfolio of the Petcube fund, Depositphotos, SolarGaps; the second managing partner is Evgeny Sysoev). 

AIN.UA shares the details of the case.

What happened

Andriy Stetsovsky sued PassivDom for allegedly illegal dismissal in 2018. Herbut fired him in the fall of 2018 for absenteeism, but Stetsovsky denied this version and, as a result, filed a lawsuit, adding also the requirement to pay arrears in salary. 

Plaintiff’s viewpoint

According to the court ruling, Stetsovsky worked at PassivDom as deputy development director with a salary of UAH 20,054 per month since August 2017. Since August 2018, he was no longer paid salary nor traveling allowances. 

In November of that year, the plaintiff filed a letter of resignation of his own free will, but it was ignored. Also, the employer did not return his workbook.

Later, after resorting to the court to protect his rights, he learned about the existence of truancy records, and on January 31, 2019, he received a notice of dismissal. In the days of supposed absenteeism, the plaintiff, according to his words, was on a business trip and on sick leave.

In this regard, Stetsovsky asked the court to recognize his dismissal as unlawful and pay him a total of UAH 200,000 (salary arrears, severance pay, travel and leave allowances).

Defendant’s viewpoint

Herbut objected to the above arguments claiming that the plaintiff did not have documents that would confirm the fact of his business trip – no one officially sent him there. 

He also stated that the plaintiff did not properly inform him of his quitting, was absent from the workplace without any good reason, and then completely ceased coming to work.

Other former and current PassivDom employees also participated as witnesses in the court hearing.

What do Andrey Kolodyuk and AVentures Capital have to do with it?

One of the evidence items supporting the version of Andriy Stetsovsky in court was the document that was issued to him by the AVentures Capital fund. It says that during the last three months of 2018, during alleged absenteeism, Stetsovsky, on behalf of PassivDom, worked with the AVentures fund on “drafting and conclusion of contracts.” However, this document, signed by Andrey Kolodyuk, managing partner of the AVentures fund, did not become a proper proof for the court: the power of attorney from Herbut, on the basis of which Stetsovsky allegedly worked with AVentures in September and October, was canceled back in June.

Simply put, when Stetsovsky allegedly worked with AVentures on behalf of PassivDom – as evidenced by the paper issued by the fund – he did not have the authority to do so. Also in the court decision, there is no data on providing the court with evidence to support the fact that the cooperation really took place.

The text of the document translated into English:
This is issued hereby to confirm that AVentures Capital and Andriy Stetsovsky, Deputy Development Director at PassivDom Ukraine, who acted under the Power of Attorney dated by February 02, 2018 were negotiating the drafting and conclusion of contracts in the period from September 12, 2018, to October 31, 2018.
Sealed and signed by Andrey Kolodyuk, AVentures Capital.

The editors of AIN.UA asked AVentures fund for a comment:

“I don’t comment on the cases of other people and especially pending ones (the appeal was filed)! Herbut is now in court in America with his investors and we need to wait for their decision!” Andrey Kolodyuk replied to AIN.UA’s request regarding the case in Ukraine. 

What exactly was the collaboration of AVentures with Stetsovsky as a representative of PassivDom during this period, documented by the paper, and whether there is evidence of this cooperation? AIN.UA did not receive answers to these questions from the AVentures fund. 

It is noteworthy that in the past, Andrey Kolodyuk, according to Herbut, CEO of PassivDom, tried to seize a stake in PassivDom through extortion and blackmail. And after a while, Andrey’s fund, AVentures gives the ex-employee of PassivDom a piece of paper, which does not turn out to be proper evidence, but at the same time actually helps create troubles for PassivDom. Kolodyuk himself did not comment to AIN.UA about the connection between the paper and the extortion charges.

Herbut also commented on a court in the United States, “In the United States there is not a single court with our company. There is a statement on which the court did not even schedule a single hearing since the applicant lied in a statement and could not substantiate a single claim. The case has not been accepted by the court for consideration until the applicant either formulates his claims again or the parties come to an agreement”.

Ruling of the court

Having heard the versions of the parties and the testimonies of witnesses, the court decided to reject the plaintiff’s claims because of the lack of supporting documents. The court also decided to pay the defendant UAH 21,000 as compensation for legal costs. This decision may be challenged in the Kyiv Court of Appeal.