Finance

A woman who worked at an investment bank that advised on electric-truck company Hyliion’s SPAC deal says she was fired after complaining about sexual misconduct

  • Logan Williams got a job at investment bank Marathon Capital after serving in the Coast Guard and graduating from Columbia University in 2019.
  • She said she was frozen out and fired this summer after she complained to others about a “boys club” culture and walked in on a senior employee masturbating in the office.
  • Marathon called the allegations baseless and said it would fight the suit.
  • The firm’s recent deals include advising Hyliion, an electric-truck startup, in a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that valued it at over $1 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A former employee at the energy-focused investment bank Marathon Capital has sued the company and its leaders, saying she was fired after complaining about sexual misconduct.

Logan Williams said in a lawsuit filed in New York on Tuesday that Marathon’s New York office head, Chuck Hinckley, recruited her when she was still a student at Columbia. But rather than the business-development role she was told she was being hired for, she said, she was given administrative responsibilities and paid less than other new hires.

Williams said Hinckley yelled at her and made inappropriate remarks, discussing his sex life and remarking that a woman who had been a senior managing director at Marathon “f—– her way to the top.” Other managers called her “little missy” and encouraged her to be “more ladylike,” her complaint said.

She said Ted Brandt, Marathon’s founder, also made sexualized remarks, and ultimately asked her if she was a “friend or foe” after she escalated her complaints about Hinckley.

“Chuck has proven his value here, and you don’t have any,” Brandt told Williams in July, according to her lawsuit.

The lawsuit includes numerous texts that Williams said she exchanged with other employees about misconduct she experienced and witnessed, including an incident in July when she claims she walked in on Hinckley masturbating in a conference room, even though she’d notified him that she would be coming by to retrieve some belongings.

Read more: Former employees say BTIG, a Wall Street firm backed by Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, had a toxic party culture that was stuck in the ’80s

She said he acted like the incident never happened and called her into his office later to spend an hour discussing work. She texted two managing directors about the incident, according to pictures included in the lawsuit; one responded, “that’s really f—– up,” and the other said, “hostile work environment,” but neither escalated it, she claims.

Marathon, which works on deals in the global power and infrastructure industries, lists more than 70 employees on LinkedIn. It is based in Chicago, with offices in San Francisco and New York, according to its website. Its recent deals include advising Hyliion, an electric-truck startup, in a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that valued it at over $1 billion.

The lawsuit claims Marathon’s actions violated New York city and state anti-discrimination laws, and seek unspecified monetary damages. Williams is represented by Michael Willemin and Sarah Arena of the law firm Wigdor.

A Marathon spokesperson said in an email, “it is unfortunate that our former employee has resorted to making baseless allegations that are nothing more than a desperate attempt to extract an undue payment. Marathon Capital adheres to the highest standards of professional conduct and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Brandt and Phillipe Lavertu, the firm’s chief operating officer, are both defendants in the suit, as is Hinckley, who is no longer on Marathon’s website. None of them responded to requests for comment.

Read more: Elite law firms are rushing into the ‘SPAC’ craze, looking to make hundreds of millions of dollars in the process — here’s how it works

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