The past few weeks have seen a few stories about a car that doesn't even exist yet — the Rezvani Beast. After we published a critical account of Rezvani's business practices by a former designer for them, they contacted us to clear the record and appear to have contacted him to get him to stop talking.
First, let's give Rezvani a chance to respond. Here's the statement I received from them regarding Moghadam's allegations that the company deceived investors by using a kit-car platform and claiming it as original, among other issues:
Though we don't typically respond to rants by individuals with personal agendas such as Mr. Moghadam, we feel that potentially libelous and damaging opinions were published as if they were factual, and that warrants correction. This person had legally binding agreements and relationships that it appears he could be violating by these published inferences and mis-statements.
Note that the DDR is a kit car replica of the McLaren F1, and is neither trademarked nor patented. Such a kit initially costs $23K for bare body panels alone. Value added to build a finished product can cost over $100K at best, as was projected and validly pursued. As happened to many in 2009, a bankruptcy did interfere with completion of those plans, and Mr. Moghadam applied for his relief there — beyond which he is not entitled to pursue an extra-legal and one-sided rumor campaign.
For the project mentioned, in 2009, an engineer was hired to extensively customize construction of the DDR pieces and added additional other proprietary value. N2A Motors was contracted for all the new and revised bodywork and all value-add that was the genuine car under production. This is well-known. The President of N2A Motors is fully available to confirm this.
As stated earlier, Shawn Moghadam was hired as a freelance designer. Due to his performance quality and management issues, he was terminated. His rights have been fully disposed of within a Federal Bankruptcy. Since that time, unhappily, Mr. Moghadam has attempted to go beyond the court and has repeatedly attempted to manipulate the media into bashing Mr. Rezvani. This includes casting doubts on future performance, in a manner beyond mere opinion, and posing as factual. Continuance of that behavior has led to engagement of counsel.
In coordinating these reports, Mr. Moghadam may be in direct violation of a NDA (Non-discolusre agreement) he signed in 2009 for said project, in which he is releasing trade secrets to the general public. As well, Federal bankruptcy law forbids creditors from harassing or intimidating debtors outside of bankruptcy court, such as he is doing in this article.
As previously stated, this report is not a reflection of Rezvani Motors, nor the Beast. We hope that media and readers alike will be able to understand that we are here to build fun cars that people will love. We are beginning production of our first vehicle, which is scheduled to be delivered to a customer in the next few months. We will be documenting the build and sharing it with media and readers alike, which should put any concerns to rest.
Our hope is that baseless accusations end here. We have worked very hard, and dedicated many hours to bring the Beast to market. We love cars, and we want people to know that. We're not just a bunch of corporate suits looking to make a quick buck. Companies often struggle in this space, and sometimes they fail — it's all a part of business. But we have picked up the pieces, and we're ready to make an impact in the industry.
This statement doesn't attempt to refute that the earlier Rezvani cars were based on the DDR kit car, which, admittedly, isn't some Bradley GT fiberglass-on-a-VW-pan kind of thing. It's a pretty seriously engineered vehicle, but that doesn't explain the claims in the bankruptcy filing from a case discharged in 2012 that allege that this fact was withheld from investors.
To Rezvani's credit, they do seem to be actually proceeding with the development and building of the Beast, and they have invited me to view it in progress at their facility (N2A Motors, who has worked with Rezvani in the past) in the upcoming weeks.
If anything, though, this statement does support one of Moghadam's key claims — that the Vollara was not based on an original platform. This is important because statements from investors in the company appear to show that the original platform was a crucial factor in their decision to invest. In Moghadam's statement, he talks about one investor, Baradar's reaction:
"Had (Baradar) known that the design of the Volarra GT was not unique, he would not have invested any money with Debtor."
I was going to simply write about Rezvani's response, but I then got an email from Shawn Moghadam, saying that since the publication of the article with his statements about Rezvani, he's been harassed by Fardees (who also goes by Ferris, or Fardis) Rezvani himself:
1st I want to thank you for exposing this story. I felt a huge relief knowing I've told my story and hopefully prevented some more people from being hurt by this guy.
Unfortunately he is harassing me now, He's threatened me in different ways; messages, calls, e-mails, even found my mothers number to tell her I'm going to get hurt. He's even sent threats of lawsuits to my 2 employers (complete with a phony lawyer who does not seem to exist on google).
I've already contacted law enforcement and an attorney, but I was wondering since you guys have more experience with this kind of thing, maybe you guys know a better way for me to deal with him? I just want him to leave me alone.
Moghadam included this screenshot of what he says was Rezvani's text messages to him as well:
Rezvani also allegedly sent multiple other text messages from that same number, which appear to threaten Moghadam with legal action, contacting his employer, and offering to pay him a settlement amount instead of Rezvani spending that money on lawyers.
I confirmed that the number from the texts was, in fact, Fardees Rezvani's by calling the number and speaking with him. In our conversation, Rezvani did confirm that the first Beast had a customer, was about to be built, and that he could not comment on the content of the text message to Moghadam.
When I pressed him further about details in the text regarding investors and possible lawsuits, Rezvani then stated that he has had "no direct contact" with Moghadam.
I replied to Moghadam that Rezvani claimed he had no direct contact with him, to which Moghadam responded by providing me with a voice mail that sounds like Rezvani that he says was left on his phone, from the same number as the text messages. The voice did sound like the voice I had spoken with that same day on the phone, though I am not a speech-identification expert.
Also, the text messages seem to be implying that Moghadam's goal is to "stop us from building the car," which Moghadam has never stated as his goal.
This all still seems sort of a mess, but here's what seems to be true at the moment: Rezvani admits their previous car, the Volarra, was not based on an self-developed platform as they had originally claimed, which supports Moghadam's statement. They do seem to be proceeding with development and building of the Beast, which I should be able to confirm in the next few weeks. And, it does appear that they might be in direct contact with Moghadam, despite Rezvani's claim otherwise.
Moghadam's allegations of shady business practices and references to Rezvani's less-than-stellar track record of actually producing the cars he received investment money for was not directly addressed in statements from the company, aside from suggesting that Moghadam had a "vendetta" against Rezvani.
Maybe an interesting car will still come out of this? Honestly, at this point, I have no idea what to expect.
UPDATE: Mr. Moghadam sent us an email stating: "I do not have any knowledge of the Rezvani Beast being a scam. Please retract my opinions about Mr. Rezvani even though his previous company went bankrupt it does not reflect on his current company." When pressed for why he changed his mind he says "We went to court yesterday and this seems to be the best way."
UPDATE 2: Here's an official statement from the company "We have spoken with Mr. Moghadam and have come to an agreement regarding the previous issue. We would like to retract our opinions regarding Mr. Moghadam as we see them damaging to both parties involved. At this point, the issues between Mr. Rezvani and Mr. Moghadam have been