Whitefish, Mont., is known for fly fishing and hiking trails studded with yellow Aspen trees. But after Silicon Valley billionaire Michael Goguen took up residence in the Rocky Mountain town several years ago, he transformed it into his private fiefdom: a dark banana republic where he allegedly controls local law enforcement — and a “harem” of young women.
The bombshell allegations, which also include claims of Goguen ordering his security chief to kill detractors, are contained in a lengthy civil complaint recently filed in United States District Court for the District of Montana.
According to the court papers, Goguen, 57, employs hundreds of residents in companies he controls, and owns a series of luxury “safe houses” where he takes dozens of young women for sex. He has a spreadsheet documenting his sexual encounters with 5,000 women, and even outfitted a local bar he owns with a basement “boom boom” room, which features a stripper pole. The underground enclave is allegedly used “to maintain women for the purpose of committing illicit sexual activity.”
Requests for comment from Goguen’s lawyer were not returned Friday.
The complaint, which seeks more than $800 million in damages, was filed by four former employees who set up Goguen’s Amyntor Group LLC, a Whitefish-based security contractor that had clients around the world.
Now, Goguen is wrapped up in a mystery that just keeps getting messier, as person after person has apparently tried to take him down — only to end up taken down themselves.
Originally from Bedford, Mass., Goguen joined the venture investment firm Sequoia Capital, based in Menlo Park, Calif., in 1996. It was already known for taking smart early bets on companies, including Apple and Cisco, and would later generate big buzz — and money — for getting behind brands that would become enormous: Google, YouTube, PayPal and Instagram among them.
He had gotten a share of the Google deal and, as Bloomberg reported, “frequently appeared on the Forbes Midas List for his ability to find and fund winning technologies.”
But things came to a crashing halt in 2016 when his former mistress Amber Baptiste, an exotic dancer from Canada, accused him of “constant sexual abuse,” including “countless hours of forced sodomy,” court papers say. He also demanded that she refer to him as “king” and “emperor,” according to the filings. In 2012 Baptiste said, she underwent surgery for a ruptured anal canal after Goguen “forcibly sodomized her and left her bleeding and alone on the floor of a hotel room in a foreign country,” court papers claimed.
Goguen won a countersuit in the three-year legal battle, eventually securing a restraining order against Baptiste from filing any similar suits against him. But the allegations cost him his job at Sequoia Capital in Silicon Valley, where he had been a longtime partner.
At the time a Sequoia spokesman told TechCrunch that “while the firm understood ‘these allegations of serious improprieties’ to be ‘unproven and unrelated to Sequoia’ its management committee had nevertheless ‘decided that Mike’s departure was the appropriate course of action.’”
Despite the high-profile exit, Goguen is still worth more than $5 billion, according to a source.
Goguen, began spending more time in Whitefish, a town of just over 7,000 residents, where he built a sprawling 75,000-square-foot mansion with an additional 30,000-square-foot nuclear-grade bunker that can accommodate up to 25 people for a year. He lives with his fourth wife.
There, he runs several businesses, including Casey’s Whitefish, a pub and restaurant, and Two Bear Capital, a firm that invests in “early stage companies with disruptive innovations,” including biotech and cybersecurity, according to his LinkedIn page. He also funds Two Bear Farm and is behind Two Bear Air Rescue Foundation, a non-profit that provides “world class aviation support” to law enforcement and others for search and rescue, free of charge.
He started Amyntor Group LLC, a private defense contractor that, at one point, was in line to create a private spy network for the Trump administration, according to BuzzFeed. Negotiations were stalled because Goguen could not obtain a security clearance with the US government because of the allegations of sexual abuse, court papers allege.
Meanwhile, another ghost from his past was about to haunt him.
Bryan Nash was a former workout buddy from California, who had reluctantly accompanied Goguen to bars and strip clubs.
In 2019, federal authorities indicted Nash on 10 counts of stalking and extortion; according to the criminal complaint, Nash had threatened to reveal unspecified secrets unless Goguen paid him $15 million, and also emailed members of Goguen’s family. In May 2020, Nash pleaded guilty to blackmailing Goguen, and was later sentenced to five years of probation.
This is where Matthew Marshall comes in.
A former Marine and alleged CIA operative, he once headed up the Amyntor Group — and is now the lead plaintiff in the civil suit filed against Goguen in February and amended in September.
Although Marshall, now 51, had been recruited by Goguen in 2013 to set up the private security contracting business, he alleges in his lawsuit that he soon became a reluctant fixer for the billionaire, arranging the purchase of luxury homes and vehicles for members of his harem, and spying on and intimidating his enemies.
“Marshall was being asked to purchase, out of his personal accounts, vehicles, jewelry,
earnest money deposits on properties, and to provide cash or other items for
Goguen’s mistresses, or as hush-money payoffs to Goguen’s acquaintances and
employees who had ‘learned too much’ about Goguen’s sexual misconduct and
crimes, and the Goguen Sexual Scheme,” court papers allege.
Marshall also paid for luxury vacations, health care and education expenses in exchange for women “to strip and have sex with him [Goguen], to perform other deviant sexual acts with him, or to maintain their silence as participants in Goguen’s sexual misconduct,” court papers say.
Goguen’s girlfriends were given Marshall’s number and were urged to call him directly if they had any problems. In one case, he was dispatched to help a group of Playboy Playmates who were on safari in Africa and lost their passports, court papers say.
Women who tried to complain to police about Goguen’s alleged sexual assaults were met with unsympathetic law enforcement in Whitefish, many of whom were on Goguen’s payroll, according to court papers — which also allege that Goguen had set up a mechanism to listen in on police communications.
When one of those women told a local police officer that Goguen had allegedly sexually assaulted her, Marshall urged the officer to go to the FBI. But the investigation was quashed after Goguen wined and dined the cop, promising him luxury elk hunts in his private jet, court papers say.
In 2018, the woman identified in court papers as Pam Doe, told Whitefish police that Goguen had sexually assaulted her after giving her cocaine and alcohol.
“He had sex with her and then paid her $1,200,” court papers say. The investigation was handed to Detective Shane Erickson, who did not follow through, court papers say.
“Det. Erickson openly shared with Marshall the fact that he was spending time with Goguen, including having dinner at his house, spending time on Whitefish Lake, going on a coyote hunt,” court papers say. “Erickson also informed Marshall that Goguen had offered to take him on his yearly week-long $20,000 elk hunt in Colorado with private guides.”
Pam Doe later recanted her story with police after signing a non-disparagement agreement with Goguen. It is not known if the agreement included a financial settlement.
In another instance, Marshall was dispatched to help a married woman, identified in court papers as Kim Doe. The wife of a prominent Whitefish businessman, she allegedly had a long-term affair with Goguen. When her husband found out about the trysts and began divorce proceedings, Goguen gave her a credit card and bought her a five-bedroom home in a nearby town. He told Marshall to pay the charges, which amounted to $30,000 a month.
“After witnessing their relationship over several years, Marshall came to understand that Goguen had placed Kim Doe and her children in a position of utter dependence based on false promises and emotional manipulation to satisfy his sexual appetite,” court papers say.
Goguen’s old accusers also pop up in the new suit.
According to the court papers, Goguen once brought his daughters and their teenage babysitter to Nash’s home, where he allegedly had sex with the babysitter in a cottage on the property, according to court filings. An outraged Nash called him a pedophile and reported him to local police “to no avail,” court papers say.
The papers also claim Goguen had sex with Nash’s wife as they were going through a divorce. Goguen allegedly had Nash followed by a private detective and paid for the wife’s legal expenses, “causing the divorce to be drawn out and having Nash incur more expenses,” court papers say.
On Sept. 19, 2014, Goguen allegedly asked Marshall to arrange to kill Nash in a text message on wickr, an encrypted instant messaging platform: “He needs to be killed. I know that’s a VERY big ask but we are in defcon 5. We can discuss details in person but we do NOT have conversations about this on our cell phones. Wickr only…”
Marshall has claimed that he refused and tried to “dissuade Goguen from going to extreme measures against his enemies.”
As for Baptiste, the former mistress, in the lead up to her 2016 suit against him, Goguen allegedly asked Marshall to help with “cyber operations” and “immigration fraud,” urging him to find a way to deport Baptiste back to Canada. If he could have her deported “then his case with Baptiste would go away,” court papers said.
Once Baptiste’s lawsuit was filed, Goguen allegedly told Marshall to act as his “general 100x more aggressive than Patton was, to coordinate and make sure everything is happening that should be happening — PR firms, private investigators criminal side, local PR, everything,” according to court papers. Goguen allegedly asked Marshall to hire a private investigator to follow Baptiste and use the resources of the security company to target her.
According to court papers, Marshall observed “the psychological pain and pressure” that Goguen “relentlessly applied” to Baptiste after she filed her California lawsuit for breach of a $40 million settlement.
But on Nov. 10, Marshall — like Nash and Baptiste before him — found himself suddenly in the hot seat.
He accepted a plea agreement in federal court in Montana for wire fraud, tax evasion and conning Goguen out of millions of dollars.
The federal charges against Marshall allegedly came after he began to complain about some of the extracurricular duties Goguen asked him to perform in order to keep his harem under control.
Marshall’s own civil suit states that Goguen and his associates filed false claims against the security expert, alleging that he committed fraud in order to hide Goguen’s underground sexual activities.
“Goguen … falsely told the FBI that Marshall did not have the requisite experience, had stolen and then laundered funds from Goguen and testified in other ways meant to obstruct law enforcement’s discovery of Goguen’s sexual misconduct and the existence of the Goguen Sexual Scheme,” court papers allege.
Marshall pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He said that he did not use money that Goguen had forwarded to him for paramilitary missions to Mexico “or anywhere else. Instead, he spent the money on personal expenses and loans and gifts to friends and family members, among other expenditures,” the plea states.
But according to the civil complaint, Marshall spent the cash on Goguen’s orders and was not reimbursed by Goguen.
Marshall agreed to pay up to $3.5 million in restitution and is scheduled to be sentenced next year.
At least one local authority has had enough of Goguen.
“This man has to be stopped,” said Bill Dial. The retired Whitefish police chief sued Goguen in December 2019 for alleged interference in his own investigation. “He’s a billionaire a la Harvey Weinstein and Epstien. There’s a lot of people in this community who know what he’s about and they’re afraid of him.”