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’.)
(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.)
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.
- 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.)
(The claim of embezzlement.)
(Details of her ex-husband’s spending were described by her 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.