Forgive me for not buying into this. This story seems soooo one-sided. ‘Rick’ was reponsible for all our hard times! Really?
Any decent developer on your team should be able to see if Rick is creating more work for a team to maintain. If Rick is creating needlessly complex things, just because “it’s fun”. If Rick is creating unmaintanable solutions, and there is no-one in your team to call him out on a very detectable trait of overcomplicating things, I am sorry, Rick is the least of your problems.
It sounds to me that Rick was designing a car with changeable suspension, one that you can drive your kids, drive alone like a madman, drive economically when times are tough.
And your guys shipped a great, collaboratively built electrical bycicle, after you decided that without Rick, a car is too ambitious.
Where was your agile mentality back then? Why did you not demand start small, MVP, release every X months/weeks? Where were your management, your leadership, dev managers? You guys never heard/did agile? Threw out 150 000 lines? How about tests? Coverage? Continuous Delivery Pipeline of some kind?
No one in their right mind would have an unreleasable project for years.
It’s easy to scapegoat Rick, and I am sure he is no flower and not as genius as he thinks, overdesigning and overcomplicating, but there is soo much management failure here, even in just this side of the story. Wonder what’s Rick is take on events.