Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry is stepping down as chairman of the digital startup Ozy Media following allegations that the company's COO impersonated a YouTube executive during a call with a potential investor, CNBC and other outlets reported Thursday.
The allegations emerged when The New York Times reported that COO Samir Rao allegedly impersonated the YouTube executive on a call with potential investor Goldman Sachs. The Times also reported Ozy Media allegedly inflated viewership statistics on YouTube and other platforms.
Lasry was named chairman of Ozy Media three weeks ago. In a statement announcing the resignation, Lasry said, “I believe that going forward Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise," according to CNBC. He remains an investor in the company.
Ozy Media's board blamed the incident on Rao's mental health. The board on Tuesday asked Rao to take a leave of absence while it investigated the allegations brought up in the Times report.
Under federal law it is illegal to impersonate an employee in order to obtain something of value, and can result in fines and imprisonment.
Billionaire Marc Lasry purchased the Bucks with Wes Edens in 2014 from former owner Herb Kohl. Lasry is also co-founder and CEO of Avenue Capital Group.
Marc's son, Alex, is a Bucks executive who is running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin in 2022.