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Josh Clemence Sues After BlkboxLabs Skips BuyoutLock Icon

2 min read

The founder and CEO of a creative agency in Fayetteville filed a civil suit alleging fraud because, he said, the current owners have failed to pay him for his half-interest in the company.

Josh Clemence founded BlkboxLabs in 2012 but elected to sell his share of the company in March 2014. BlkboxLabs agreed to make 48 monthly payments for his ownership share, Clemence said in a suit filed in Washington County Circuit Court by attorney James Graves of the Bassett Law Firm in Fayetteville.

In 2017, Clemence filed suit, alleging that BlkboxLabs stopped its payments, and the two parties agreed to a consent order, signed by Circuit Judge Beth Storey Bryan in January 2018. The order called for the company to pay Clemence $50,000 within 30 days; Clemence’s suit said no payments have been made.

In the current suit, filed Sept. 26, Clemence said the defendants claim that they are different owners than the ones who agreed to buy Clemence out and financial difficulties preclude further payments. The defendants include BlkboxLabs and its parent companies, Blacksails Capital Ventures and Blackhive Corp. of Fayetteville, along with individual defendants Ryan Efurd, Steve Renfro and Shayne Hart.

Efurd is the CEO of Blackhive and managing partner of Blacksails and BlkboxLabs, Renfro is also a managing partner of Blacksails and is managing partner of Blackhive, and Hart is the CEO of BlkboxLabs. Efurd did not return a call for comment, nor did attorney Jason Wales of Wales & Comstock, who represented the defendants in the 2017 lawsuit and consent order.

“It’s a very, very old matter, predating the existing partnership,” said Hart, who declined further comment. He joined BlkboxLabs in 2015 after Clemence left the company.

Clemence claimed, in his suit, that during discovery for the earlier suit, he learned that BlkboxLabs was profitable but was “moving items around” financially to make it appear unprofitable. Clemence’s suit called BlkboxLabs a “shell game” seeking to get out of paying Clemence.

Clemence is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest and fees, for the defendants’ alleged tortious interference and fraud.

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