Snopes.com, a website Facebook is using to fact check ‘fake news’ on Facebook, is involved in a bitter legal dispute between its co-founders. Seems the CEO has been accused of using company money for prostitutes. Oh and he hired one. Oh and then he married her. (Or maybe he married her and then hired her.)

While we don’t care what she does for a living, we do care if he defrauded the company he owns with his ex-wife, for nearly $100,000 (which his ex-wife says was spent on “prostitutes and himself”).

(Facebook has asked a number of organizations to arbitrate on items reported on the site as to their truthfulness and then decide whether they should be marked as ‘disputed’.)

Husband and wife: David Mikkelson is now married to Snopes.com staff member Elyssa Young - but also engaged in a bitter legal battle with his former wife Barbara with whom he set up the site

Wedding: Elyssa Young - who maintains a website offering her services as an escort - and Davik Mikkelson married in November. The wedding party included two other Snopes.com workers

(The couple married in November. Elyssa maintains a website offering her services as an escort. An online review of her services was posted in March of 2015.)

Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s, and appears to have continued posing for photographs until recently.

Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s. She is now an administrative worker at Snopes.com and travels with her husband David Mikkleson, its co-founder

Staff member: Elyssa Young is also know as Erin O'Bryn and maintains a website adveritising her services as an escort with photographs of her over the years

Since dissolving their marriage they have each accused the other of financial impropriety; Barbara claims her ex-husband is guilty of ’embezzlement’ and suggested he is attempting a ‘boondoggle’ to change tax arrangements and David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.

Arbiter: Facebook announced that Snopes.com was one of the organizations to which it would turn for 'fact-checking' when questions are raised over the veracity of news stories

First wife: Lawyers in court documents described Barbara Mikkelson's split from David, with whom she co-founded the Snopes.com website, as contentious. 

Let’s break all this trouble, from the ‘trusted’ fact-checking source, down:
  • The Mikkelsons found the site in 1995.
  • They divorce in 2015.
  • Both stay on as co-owners of Snopes – which is registered under its legal name of Bardav, Inc. and are its sole board members.
  • Trouble begins.
  • Barbara, 57, accuses her former husband, 56, of ‘raiding the corporate businessBardavbank account for his personal use and attorney fees’ without consulting her:
    • Claims he embezzled at least $98,000 from the company over the course of four years ‘which he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired’.
    • Claimed he spent nearly $10,000 on a 24-day ‘personal vacation’ in India this year and expensed his girlfriend’s plane ticket to Buenos Aires.                                                                                                        (David’s first wife, Barbara Mikkelson.)
  • David and his attorneys countered that the India visit was a legitimate business trip. (He was considering setting up a fact-checking website in India, and wanted to get a sense of the culture. Sure.)
  • David then wants his salary raised from $240,000 to $360,000 – arguing that this would still put him below the ‘industry standards’ and that he should be paid up to $720,000 a year.
  • They hire an arbiter.
  • The dispute is so bitter that they fall out over the appointed arbiter. (This means that Facebook’s arbiter cannot even agree on its own arbiter.)
Accusation: The claim of embezzlement was made in court documents seen by DailyMail.com

(The claim of embezzlement.)

(Barbara Mikkelson suggested that David’s plan to relocate Snopes.com might be a ‘boondoggle’. David responded by demanding a $360,000 annual salary.)

Contentious exchange: Barbara Mikkelson suggested a plan to relocate Snopes.com might be a 'boondoggle' and David demanded a $360,000 annual salary

(Details of her ex-husband’s spending were described by her legal team.)

The arbiter needs an arbiter: How details of spending were described by Barbara Mikkelson's legal team

Initially, the divorce was supposed to see “savings, IRAS and stockholdings of well over $1.5 million given to Barbara, while she renounced claim on their marital home in Calabasas, California, in return for a payment of $660,000. David kept their joint baseball card collection, a savings account with $1.59 million balance, and other savings worth more than $300,000. They also agreed to split the company checking account’s $240,000 balance at the end of 2015 after his salary had been paid and a $50,000 float left,” the article says.

Some would call that serious cash.

Since the divorce, David has run day to day operations at Snopes and also hired some new people, including Elyssa Young, 47, an administrative assistant. She is a long-time escort (and seems to still be working according to her website and Twitter account) and porn star
who has worked for decades under the name ‘Erin O’Bryn’  and now his wife.
On her escort website, she says, ‘I only accept a very limited number of new lovers because I’m only seeking long-term engagements.’ To book her you’ll need to make a donation, for her time, companionship, and entertainment at a rate of $1,200 for a minimum of four hours and $5,000 for 24 hours.

Snopes also hired Kim LaCapria as their principal fact checker. She has written false information on Snopes attempting to debunk this very website, but quietly changed it once we called her out publicly on Youtube.

Fact checker: Kim LaCapria is the principal fact checker at the website but also blogged as Vice Vixen and wrote about her 'domme' side and offered sex toy recommendations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Cash Facts

In February 2016, Snopes had gross advertising sales of $216,199 and a gross profit of $150,599.50.

There were expenses of  $2,500 for ‘server expense’ and $4,470 to Brooke Binkowski- the editor. That puts her at a yearly salary of about $53,640.

David’s 2015 salary was $240,000 as well as a $30,000-per-month draw on profits, giving him around $500,000 a year.

Political Leanings

It should be mentioned that even though David Mikkelson has denied Snopes takes political positions, his new wife ran for U.S. congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004. During that time she handed out ‘Re-Defeat Bush’ cards and condoms stamped with the slogan ‘Don’t get screwed again’. Sadly, reports state she misspelled her opponents name on the official forms.

But the problems don’t end there. The Daily Caller says:

“As originally reported by TheDC, Snopes almost exclusively employs leftists as fact-checkers, many of whom have exhibited a clear distaste for Republican voters. TheDC could not identify a single Snopes fact-checker who comes from a conservative background. “

In fact, Mikkelson said the company has NO set requirements for fact-checkers (although sex seems to have something to do with it), “Accordingly, our editorial staff is drawn from diverse backgrounds; some of them have degrees and/or professional experience in journalism, and some of them don’t.”

Snopes hasn’t just been wrong about Health Nut News, they’ve also gotten caught lying about stories on The Daily Caller. I imagine there have been still other instances.

(Here’s the video I made at 4am having to call them out for their failed attempt to “debunk” me.)
I’m not sure if Facebook doesn’t care or just used a lousy vetting process when they decided to use Snopes. However, this story is out now, isn’t going away (please forward this to all your friends) and Facebook will have to deal with it at some point!

Source: The Daily Mail (and many verified court documents) and The Daily Caller