Connect with us


Judge Freezes Bitwise Assets in Lawsuit by Texas Partner



A Fresno judge on Wednesday froze various Bitwise assets in relation to a $33 million lawsuit filed against the company. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
Share with friends

A Fresno County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order freezing several assets of companies related to Bitwise Industries.

The action from Judge Jeffrey Hamilton was the result of a lawsuit filed Tuesday by NICbyte LLC, a Texas-based business partner of Bitwise entities.

The two firms collaborated to buy seven property in Fresno, Oakland, and Bakersfield. NICbyte held 95% interest in the joint company, and invested $43 million.

NICbyte accused the Bitwise entities — listed in the lawsuit as Wishon Row, LLC and several others wholly-owned subsidiaries — of taking out $30 million in loans, using the properties as collateral.

Wishon Row did so without permission, and in violation of the joint venture agreement, the lawsuit alleges. The Bitwise entities also listed four properties for sale without permission from its partner.

NICbyte’s attorneys had no comment. The listed corporate counsel for Bitwise could not be reached for comment. The company furloughed its employees on Monday.

A chart from court filings showing the relationship between Bitwise and NICbyte, LLC.

Accusations Made By Partner

Parren James

While it is still not clear who is behind NICbyte, in court filings, Parren James, a principal with San Francisco-based Grounded Capital, LLC, says he is “authorized to act on behalf” of NICbyte.

“Defendants’ intentional malfeasance and other wrongful behavior almost certainly is motivated to save or enrich Defendants’ affiliate — Bitwise Industries, Inc. — the financially troubled Fresno technology company,” James wrote in a court declaration.

James also alleged that on May 25, Bitwise co-CEO Jake Soberal made an “unannounced and unscheduled” visit to the residence of someone affiliated with NICbyte. It was not revealed who.

“This attempted personal visit was shocking and unwelcome in all respects. After the attempted visit and later that day, I spoke to Mr. Soberal over the phone and even during that call, Mr. Soberal concealed and failed to disclose the loans or recorded trust deeds,” James said in the declaration.

James said he “does not have any knowledge” of where the $30 million loan went.

Temporary Order Granted

The lawsuit asked the judge for the temporary restraining order to freeze seven bank accounts at Central Valley Community Bank; stop the sale of the State Center Warehouse at 747 R Street in Fresno, and three properties in Bakersfield; turn over books and other documents; prevent damaging the buildings or other documents; and set an injunction bond of $10,000.

Hamilton granted the TRO at a Wednesday afternoon ex parte (meaning one side brings the action and is required to attend) hearing. It is not clear if any Bitwise representative was present.

The bank account of the main company, BW Industries, Inc., was not frozen by Hamilton’s ruling against the plaintiff’s request.

The TRO will run through June 17.

Attorneys for NICByte notified Soberal and Bitwise co-CEO Irma Olguin Jr. a day head of the hearing.

The Fresno Bee first reported the story of the TRO.

Read the Judge’s TRO

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Continue Reading
Advertisement GVwire