Who is Rodney Willett?
Rodney Willett tried to divert millions that were pledged to local charities to give himself and others raises and bonuses.
What We Know
- Willett works for and is on the Board of Directors of a company whose stated mission is to give all profits to local charities.
- Willett and others tried to change the rules to divert millions of dollars from the charities in order to give themselves bonuses and pay raises.
- When the founder and CEO tried to stop their scheme, Willett threatened to ruin his reputation and drive him to bankruptcy through litigation.
- The CEO sued Willett and others for extortion. Willett and others were forced to settle the lawsuit, thereby preserving the millions of dollars that had been promised to charity.
(Complaint, Michael Pirron v. Impact Makers Inc. et. al., Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Case # CL 19-2358-3, 5/8/19)
Richmond BizSense: https://richmondbizsense.com/2019/06/18/settlement-reached-impact-makers-dispute/
Comments from Lawsuit Supporters
"I want to see the mission and model of Impact Makers protected...I have joined this lawsuit to ensure that protective governance model is preserved in this unique all-profits-to-charity social enterprise.”
- JERRY GREENFIELD, Co-founder, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
“I support Michael Pirron in his lawsuit against Impact Makers...The illegitimate sale of Impact Makers for $1000 to another entity in an effort to remove Michael from his permanent board position is wrong."
- RICK HOOD, founder of Richmond, VA-based natural grocery store Ellwood Thompson's
"Selling the stock of the holding company for $1,000 in order to remove Michael and changing key parts of that charitable structure is inconsistent with the benefit corporation model, inconsistent with the charitable purpose for which we invested and inconsistent with the representations made to us at the time of investment.”
- DAVID BERGE, CEO of the Underdog Foundation
In the News
"The founder and former chief executive officer of Impact Makers filed a lawsuit last week claiming that he was wrongfully pushed out of his leadership role with the technology and management consulting business."
"Pirron’s lawsuit, filed May 8 in Richmond Circuit Court, also claims that some of the company’s executives and board members 'vindictively and maliciously conspired' to remove him from leadership...The named defendants include...the company’s vice president Rodney Willett, the Democratic nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates for District 73, which includes part of Henrico County."
“'I can’t just walk away … I want to protect my life’s work,' [Pirron] said."
"Pirron claims that the suit arises from the 'coordinated efforts of the defendants to empower and enrich themselves by targeting and eliminating Michael Pirron’s authority as permanent director of (Impact Makers Holdings) … thus destroying IMH’s purpose and gutting (Impact Makers’) public benefit mission'.”