In many ways, Vishal Garg, 42, is the archetypal tech CEO: brilliant, brash and mercurial. Though his outbursts have caused headaches for some staffers, and forced others to quit — according to interviews with 19 current and former employees — such concerns have been overshadowed by Garg’s success in building Better, a venture-backed online mortgage originator that just secured a $4 billion valuation.

The New York-based company boasts a fix to the notoriously byzantine home lending process, with a product that offers pre-approval on a mortgage in minutes. Riding the coattails of a white-hot residential lending market brought on by low interest rates and Covid-19, Better has grown exponentially — with more than 2,000 employees hired since the start of the pandemic — and is on track to generate $800 million in revenue this year, according to The Information.

But Better’s investors appear to be overlooking a whole lot more than Garg’s scorched-earth management style: Ongoing lawsuits accuse Garg or entities he controls of improper and even fraudulent activity at two prior business ventures, and of misappropriating “tens of millions of dollars.”

Other parties in that dispute, including PIMCO — one of the world’s largest money managers — are still pursuing claims against companies Garg controlled, alleging they siphoned off money owed to investors in a troubled multibillion dollar mortgage portfolio. Meanwhile, a separate group of investors tied to management of the portfolio filed a lawsuit in June accusing Garg and his associates of fraud — a claim that Garg’s attorneys have asked the court to dismiss.

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The Rise And Fall Of’s Controversial CEO | Forbes