ITCHMO EXCLUSIVE: Simon Brodie, the controversial founder with a criminal past behind the Allerca hypoallergenic cats, is the CEO of a company that owns Flexpetz, the pet sharing service. Brodie was convicted in the UK of multiple counts of accounting fraud. Ever since his move to the United States, he has been linked to pets or animals in his ventures and is shadowed by a history of failed ventures, lawsuits, unpaid bills, and fraud allegations. He characterized his past by saying “I’ve had some hits, some misses.”
How is Simon Brodie linked to Flexpetz?
Brodie was appointed the CEO of Tetros, Inc. — a firm purchased by ColdStar Capital — on April 4, 2007. Flexpetz issued a press release on April 10 which described itself as a wholly owned subsidiary of Tetros, who are both owned by ColdStar Capital. ColdStar, who lists its president as Jonathon Nicholson, is based out of the Cayman Islands.
When we talked with Brodie, he flatly denied having any knowledge about ColdStar Capital. When asked about the SEC filing that lists him as CEO of Tetros, Brodie retracted his statement, but would not provide a phone number for Nicholson.
The reference to ColdStar Capital was removed from the Flexpetz website on Thursday, the same day we spoke with Simon Brodie.
Add $22,000 exotic “Ashera” cats that haven’t been seen.
Simon Brodie is also the founder of Allerca (which is selling hypoallergenic cats for thousands of dollars) and also the man behind the supposedly unique “Ashera” cats.
Brodie is seeking to set up franchises to sell these “Ashera” cats. However, the cat breeder community says that the cats are not new. They say that the cat depicted on Brodie’s site is the Savannah breed already in existence. In fact Brodie’s company web site does not identify the cat as a Savannah and refused to show pictures of the actual breed until the franchises have been launched.
Mainstream media such as the New York Times and Time magazine have picked up the hypoallergenic cat story and Time went as far as to call it one of the best inventions of 2006.
Even murkier past
A Boston Globe article sheds more light into Brodie’s past.
Former associates have cast doubts about Simon Brodie’s new venture based on the past of its founder.
His latest legal troubles include a $285,000 federal tax lien placed on him last February by the Internal Revenue Service — about the same time Allerca was evicted from its headquarters in downtown San Diego, which was also Brodie’s home, for failing to pay rent.
A ColdStar Capital press release describes Brodie in a more favorable light:
Mr. Simon Brodie, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer has over 20 years of international management, sales, marketing and trouble-shooting experience. He has managed divisions of multinational corporations and has guided startup companies from start-up through acquisition.
Mr. Brodie has worked with organizations including United Kingdom’s National Health Service, Barclays Bank, HSBC, National Freight, Computer Sciences Corporation and JP Morgan. In 2004, he established companies to operate the new concept of high-priced domestic “lifestyle pets” which has resulted in worldwide acclaim for this new sector of the multi-billion dollar pet industry.
A Flexpetz representative could not be reached in time for this post.