twitter-mute

Less than two months after being fired from PayPal amid a series of bizarre tweets and emails (including calling a female colleague a “piece of shit”), Rakesh Agrawal has apparently begun staffing up for his new startup, reDesign Mobile.

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Agrawal appeared in a hilarious interview with The Street’s Jonathan Marino in which the credulous interviewer ignored Agrawal’s recent behavior and took as gospel his story of having recruited his new six-person team by… uh… taking them shopping.

News of the hirings is jarring given the lack of clarity over how Agrawal is funding reDesign. Having originally said on Twitter that he had fully funded his company, and was not looking for other investors, he subsequently told me that he hadn’t yet secured a single backer. Presumably the people being hired have been assured there’s money in the bank.

To get closer to the truth, Pando tried to get in touch with members of his new team, as listed on the company’s Facebook page, and named by Agrawal on Twitter. Names we’ve been able to confirm include:

“Marketing lead,” Sam Jones.

Sara Nordmann

Victor Marks

Elaine Gaddam

Charles Marshall

Shuchi Rana

The first person we contacted was Nordmann, who told Pando that she had not been hired as an employee, but instead had been offered work in a “freelance capacity” with reDesign.

But as we started to contact other employees for clarification, Agrawal went on a social media and blog assault. On Linkedin, he wrote a post calling me an “asshole,” but later deleted the reference to me.  On Twitter this morning he accused me of libel. He has also ranted that Pando has not contacted him or other sources to establish the truth (we have).

Suddenly, Agrawal’s supposed new “employees” stopped talking. According to Agrawal , they have been ordered not to speak to Pando reporters due to my “grossly irresponsible and libelous post.”

Helpfully, Agrawal has posted a list of three reporters who he considers honest in their reporting of reDesign: CNBC‘s Jon Fortt, freelancer Rob Pegoraro and Business Insider’s Jillian D’Onfro. Hopefully they’ll ask him exactly how he’s paying his new hires, and whether any of them have actually been hired by reDesign.

[Image by Brad Jonas for Pando]