In this photo illustration, the logo of social media platform Truth Social is seen displayed on a smartphone with a photo of former US President Donald Trump in the background.
Rafael Henrique | flare | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump’s media outlet fired an executive Thursday after he shared internal documents from a Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower complaint with the Washington Post and spoke to the newspaper, the news agency reported Saturday.
Will Wilkerson was senior vice president of operations at Trump Media and Technology, which owns the social network Truth Social, and was one of the company’s early employees.
Wilkerson filed the SEC’s whistleblower complaint in August, alleging that the company relied on “fraudulent misrepresentations … in violation of federal securities laws,” according to the Post, about an investment vehicle known as the Special Purpose Acquisition Company to go public. or SPAC.
In the article, Wilkerson also described disputes within Trump Media, including tensions with CEO Devin Nunes, who as a Republican congressman was one of Trump’s staunchest defenders. Wilkerson also said another executive detailed how Trump pressured him to give shares in the company to his wife, Melania Trump.
A spokeswoman for Trump Media has denied the Post’s story, touting Truth Media’s availability on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Samsung Galaxy Store. “As Chairman of TMTG, President Trump hired Devin Nunes as CEO to create a culture of compliance and build a world-class team to lead Truth Social,” the spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to CNBC .
Digital World Acquisition Corp.the SPAC, which is trying to take the media company public, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNBC also reached out to Wilkerson’s attorneys for comment.
Trump Media fired Wilkerson for making “unauthorized disclosures” to the Post, the newspaper said. One of his lawyers called the dismissal retaliation against a whistleblower, according to the report. There are laws that protect whistleblowers.
The report comes as DWAC is urging its shareholders to vote to delay its proposed merger with Trump Media, which was announced last year. DWAC has warned it could liquidate if it doesn’t complete the merger, which would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump Media.
DWAC CEO Patrick Orlando directed another of his companies to fund DWAC to keep it afloat through December. He has already adjourned a shareholders’ meeting four times, an indication that he does not have the support of shareholders to delay the merger.
The deal between Trump Media and DWAC is under investigation by SEC regulators and Justice Department prosecutors. Trump Media has blamed the SEC for delaying the deal.
The article also detailed undisclosed discussions between Trump, his media company executives and Orlando over the past year before DWAC went public and the deal was announced. These conversations may have violated SEC rules.
Wilkerson shared internal transcripts, memos, photos, videos and other material relevant to the SEC investigation with the Post. All of the materials were previously made available to government investigators, the Post said, citing Wilkerson’s attorneys.
Trump Media suspended the executive branch after the Miami Herald first reported the SEC complaint on Oct. 6, calling it a “blatant violation” of its nondisclosure agreement, according to the Post.
Read the full Washington Post report here.
– CNBC’s Jack Stebbins contributed to this article.