SEC Claims Adams St. Partner ‘Usurped’ Funds

A former venture capitalist is being charged with breaching his fiduciary duty and “usurping” his ex-employer’s funds to launch a separate investment vehicle that invested in TicketsNow, the online secondary market ticket exchange, according to an SEC complaint reviewed by sister Web site peHub.

In 2006, according to the civil complaint, Matthew Crisp, was then a partner with Adams Street Partners, an international private equity firm with operations in Chicago, among other spots. Crisp worked on a $15 million investment in TicketsNow with Adams Street, and, with cash he allegedly usurped from Adams Street, in 2007 sought to make an additional investment, according to the complaint.

The separate investment vehicle, called AV Partners, bears the initials of his child’s, as well as his partner’s, named in the complaint as Joseph Wolf. Among the allegations presented against Crisp by the SEC are that he purposely concealed his involvement with AV Partners, telling TicketsNow it was the investment vehicle of “a friend,” the complaint stated.

In 2008, according to the complaint, Crisp received a $150,000 “transaction bonus” that reduced Adams Street’s buyout proceeds, according to the complaint.

“After discovering Crisp’s misconduct and conducting an internal investigation, Adams Street terminated Crisp on or about March 20, 2008,” according to the complaint. Adams Street then self-reported the matter to the SEC.

peHub could not contact Crisp for this story; Adams Street did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

(Jonathan Marino is editor/columnist at sister Web site peHub.)