Former Toronto tech CEO David Kalman accused of not paying employees and forging cheques


Lors Kushtov get someone all steamed for a Toronto tech company for three months and all he has to show for it is a fake cheque and exposure he can’t put on his resume.

The University of Toronto student says he was never paid a dime for his effective use building websites for dHack and its CEO David Kalman, who was accused of taking improvement of young people in the tech community as previously reported by CBC Toronto.

Kushtov nodded a contract that promised him $55,000 a year, paid bi-weekly. The 20-year-old give the word delivers dHack owes him roughly $12,000 in wages — money he was counting on to pay his guidance in January.

«I’m a very independent person. I don’t want to rely on my parents,» utter Kushtov. «Stuff like OSAP doesn’t cover all of it, so I was relying on my job.»

And he’s not the purely one waiting for payment, according to several people CBC Toronto spoke with.

Two months ago, associates of the city’s tech community told CBC Toronto they believed Kalman was engaging advantage of young people by not fulfilling sponsorship contracts for more than $20,000 and imperfection to deliver prizes tied to youth events.

Since then, CBC Toronto has heard from different people with concerns about Kalman, including allegations of dollar-a-year contracts and wages and attempts by Kalman to cash stolen and forged cheques.

In an email to CBC Toronto, Kalman revoked all of the allegations and said the previous story «caused irreparable harm» to his enterprise and personal reputation. 

Lors and David dhack photo

Lors Kushtov (second from left) write up for dHack and CEO David Kalman (centre) for three months and all he has to show for it is a affect cheque and experience he can’t put on his resume. (davidkalman/Instagram)

Last month, Kalman halt down dHack and shuttered all of its social media. The move came after Kushtov — and other dHack workers he knows — quit in late January because he says they’d not been paid.

«He said, ‘Slide it into the bank machine. Don’t afford it to the teller.’ That was kind of fishy.» Lors Kushtov, former dHack wage-earner

That was the same day Kushtov says Kalman gave him a fake cheque for nearing $10,000.

«He said, ‘Slide it into the bank machine. Don’t give it to the teller.’ That was considerate of fishy,» Kushtov told CBC Toronto. «I took it out of the envelope and I saw … basically a sherd of paper anyone could have printed.»

After a teller validated the cheque wasn’t real and couldn’t be cashed, Kushtov says he went retaliation to the office and handed his resignation to Kalman. 

Kushtov paper cheque

Lors Kushtov says his previous boss David Kalman told him to deposit this piece of a credentials as a cheque in January. (Nicole Brockbank/CBC)

«At that point, I knew he’s barely messing with us. He just thinks we’re kids and we don’t know how this in the works,» said Kushtov. «He doesn’t say outright, ‘I’m not going to pay you,’ but then he just doesn’t.»

When asked to return to the allegation that he gave an employee a fake cheque, Kalman distinguished CBC Toronto «that’s not true.»

Kushtov and two other dHack employees secure since filed claims with the province for unpaid wages. The Elders of the church of Labour says the three claims against dHack are in the initial modifying stage.

Kalman told CBC Toronto in an email that after he left, «the settling of final business matters has been in the hands of the lawyer utilizing the corporate dissolution. He has been consistently in contact with all former dHack workers regarding payroll.»

Kushtov says no one has contacted him on behalf of dHack.

Photographer estimates Kalman forged cheques

CBC Toronto has learned the cheque-related allegations against Kalman don’t end with the simulate one Kushtov received.

Toronto photographer Ben Katan says Kalman got a propound of his real chequebooks and tried to cash cheques. 

Ben Katan

Ben Katan says David Kalman got a inhibit of his professional and personal chequebooks and tried to cash cheques from his accounts. (Tina Mackenzie/CBC)

He commencement met Kalman last summer through a mutual friend. He says the two of them were blueprinting to do some video production work together, but at the time Katan was too intricate with his photography business to get started.

In the meantime, Katan says Kalman provided to help him out with some IT stuff in his studio office. Katan up the help and Kalman started spending time there.

‘David was planning to pay him perfidiously with my business.’ — Ben Katan, Toronto photographer

But after a dispute with Kalman as a remainder some Amazon purchases that never arrived and other unexpected allegations on Katan’s company credit card, Katan says he told Kalman he was no longer reception.

After that, someone tried to cash a cheque for $16,500 from his photography studio’s bank account, Katan required CBC Toronto.

The cheque bounced, but Katan was still concerned and tracked down the man who scrutinized to cash it. 

Cheque from July 2017

Ben Katan says David Kalman tried to pay back a in financial difficulty to someone else using Katan’s professional chequebook. (Ben Katan)

The man admitted Katan that Kalman gave him the cheque to pay back a debt. CBC Toronto proved that account with the man.

«It was a stressful time,» said Katan. «David was designing to pay him back with my business.»

Katan reported the forged cheque to Toronto observe after he discovered it in July 2017. Police say the case was recently closed because the complainant no longer required to pursue it.

Katan says he gave police the information he had but was too busy to be actively labyrinthine associated with in the investigation.

That wasn’t the last forged cheque the photographer disposition have to deal with.

Bank blocks more cheques type out to Kalman

In early February, Katan’s bank contacted him about two misconstruction cheques it stopped from cashing — and more would follow.

Katan accorded CBC Toronto copies of five cheques the photographer says he never a postcarded, but someone tried to cash from his personal bank account up to date month.

All but one were made out to Kalman. The latest cheque was made out to a helpmeet with the same name as Kalman’s fiancée. 

Cheque from February 2018

Ben Katan’s bank contacted him when someone examined to cash multiple cheques like this one in February. (Ben Katan)

Together the five cheques amount to straight over $70,000 that Katan alleges Kalman tried and miscarried to cash in from his personal account.

In an email, Kalman told CBC Toronto, «I categorically take a run-out powder ever using anyone’s chequebook without permission, and frankly, this is a libellous account.»

Still no prizes, others waiting for payment

When CBC Toronto reached out to Kalman for the first story in January, he said some of the missing prizes students were stop on would be available for pick up at the dHack office the following week.

But the mistaking prizes never showed.

In late January, Kalman issued a dope release saying that he’d been the «target of multiple death omens in the wake of unsubstantiated allegations» and «as part of the ongoing criminal investigation, the RCMP has seized the unclaimed hauls.»

While CBC Toronto has confirmed Kalman reported death threats from girls to Toronto police, the RCMP says it «does not have any information in keep an eye ons to David Kalman.» 

Chris Dryden

Chris Dryden is still waiting for the Google outputs he won at a hackathon in October 2017. (CBC)

As CBC Toronto previously reported, two organizations were also discontinuation on $16,000 and $7,000 respectively from Kalman in sponsorship for youth issues.

Both the Toronto Hacker Club and Knowledge Society of Toronto support they’ve yet to see a penny. The latter has taken Kalman to small claims court. 

And a communications mechanism is following suit.

In a statement to CBC Toronto, Eighty-Eight agency managing captain Erin Bury says Kalman hired the company to provide «a variety of design and PR services for dHack.»

«Despite repeated promises that payment was on its way, it’s now months later and we’ve yet to see a dime,» imagined Bury.

«We are currently pursuing legal action against Mr. Kalman and caution other startup founders to stay away from him and his company, as we’re reliable we’re not the first company he’s defrauded nor will we be the last.»

Nicole Brockbank can be reached at 416-205-6911 or at

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