A co-founder of Truth Social’s media parent company was forced off the board of the firm after he ignored demands by Donald Trump to give some of his stock to Melania Trump, a whistleblower has told The Washington Post.
Trump pushed for the giveaway to his wife even though he had already been given 90% of the stock in the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) in exchange for the use of his name and some other “minor involvement,” former company executive Will Wilkerson told the Post.
The company co-founder reportedly dodged the request, telling Trump that it would leave him with a tax bill he couldn’t pay. “Do whatever you need to do,” Trump snapped back, according to Wilkerson.
He was forced off the board five months later in what Wilkerson believes was payback for failing to turn over a “small fortune” to Melania Trump, the newspaper reported Saturday.
The incident was one of a series of bombshell revelations supported by several documents viewed by the newspaper about bitter infighting in the Trump business, technical screwups, questionable financial representations, and what Wilkerson insisted were violations of Securities and Exchange regulations, according to the Post.
Wilkerson submitted a whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission in August regarding the company. Wilkerson’s attorney’s told the newspaper that he is also cooperating with current investigations into Trump Media by the SEC and by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York.
Wilkerson was fired from his job Thursday as TMTG senior vice president of operations after he spoke to The Post.
Trump Media said in a statement responding to several specific questions from the Post regarding Wilkerson’s information that Trump as company chairman had hired former California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes as CEO to “create a culture of compliance and build a world-class team to lead Truth Social.”
The statement complained that the Post “sent us an inquiry rife with knowingly false and defamatory statements and other concocted psychodramas.”
It did not specifically address any of the Post’s questions, according to the newspaper.
The new information follows a lengthening list of bad news for Trump’s Truth Social media venture.
Digital World Acquisition Corp. — the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that Truth Social needs to go public — revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last month that investors had already backed out of $139 million in commitments of the $1 billion previously announced by the company.
There’s likely more to come. Investors, who agreed to put up the money nearly a year ago, can now drop their commitments because Digital World missed its initial Sept. 20 deadline to merge with Trump Media. That deadline was extended by three months after shareholders refused to approve its bid for a 12-month extension. But investors can still pull out.
A major web-hosting operator complained in August that Truth Social owed about $1.6 million in contractually obligated payments, an allegation suggesting the operation’s finances are in “significant disarray,” Fox Business News reported.
In another setback, Truth Social’s application for a trademark was turned down in August because its name was too similar to other operations.
Trump insisted last month that he was unconcerned about any Truth Social money woes because, he explained, “I’m really rich,” he posted on the social media platform. “I don’t need financing.”
Yet in the next sentence he asked: “Private company, anyone???” in what appeared to be an invitation to investors.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.