As is often the case in he-said-she-said situations, the truth probably lies somewhere in between, venture capitalists and tech watchers around town said.

Many VCs not connected with the company said although they'd heard rumors of internal strife and growing pains over at BeachMint, the problems seemed typical for a young company and didn't appear to be cause for alarm.

"I was surprised to hear Michael say he'd heard people say BeachMint was going to shut down," said TX Zhuo, managing partner at Karlin Ventures. "I hadn't heard that story, honestly. I don't think the company is doing badly at all. I think they're doing somewhere in between OK and well.

"I know the people pretty well in the community, so if something was happening I would be one of the first to know, even before Michael Carney," Zhuo said.

BeachMint executives themselves contend that the company grew too quickly and was forced to lay off staff last year when its employee ranks became bloated. They also note that although the company has rolled out several "-mint" brands, some -- namely its four fashion-focused brands -- are more successful than others. That could mean consolidation or changes to some brands down the line.

Things seemed to be running smoothly over at BeachMint's Santa Monica headquarters when I visited a few days ago, with both Berdakin and Berman in the office chatting with employees and holding meetings. About 100 employees were working as Berdakin showed off the company's newly designed shoes and jewelry slated to become available in the fall.

On Tuesday, BeachMint plans to release a statement in which it says PandoDaily committed a "fundamental violation of the rules of journalism and fairness."

"BeachMint trusts that its customers, employees, and others who have followed the company will take into account Ms. Lacy's and PandoDaily's refusal to correct and retract indisputable falsehoods about BeachMint and its senior officials in the future when judging the credibility of anything else appearing in PandoDaily about BeachMint," the company said. 


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