When we last checked in with Matt Crisp, he had just settled a nasty piece of litigation with some of his former partners at (now-defunct) venture capital firm VSP Capital — including current San Francisco mayoral candidate Joanna Rees. Lots of allegations of adultery, hacked email, fraud, etc. And it didn’t work out well for Crisp, who agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in a settlement.
Today, Matt Crisp was found guilty of having formed a secret investment fund to siphon opportunities away from Adams Street. In 2006 he co-founded with a friend AV Partners a private vehicle through which Crisp invested alongside Adams Street in two deals in 2007. This included TicketsNow, an online ticket reseller, and ShermansTravel online travel site . As the SEC statement reveals Crisp never neither told Adams Street about his role in AV Partners and nor the start-ups.
Crisp’s attorney says the omissions did not cause any financial harm. But Crisp and the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement today that bans him from working as a registered investment advisor through July 2013, ordered him to pay Adams Street $89,761, and fined him $50,000.
It’s a “fairly mild penalty,” says former SEC attorney Dan Hurson, particularly given where the SEC started. Reached for comment, Crisp, likely consistent with his settlement, didn’t admit or deny.