In this photo illustration, the logo of social media platform Truth Social is seen on a smartphone with a photo of former US President Donald Trump displayed in the background.
Rafael Enrique | Lightrocket | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump’s media company fired an executive Thursday after he shared internal documents from a Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower complaint with The Washington Post and spoke with the newspaper, the news outlet 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 first employees.
Wilkerson filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC in August, alleging the company relied on “fraudulent misrepresentations … in violation of federal securities laws,” according to the Post, in its bid to go public through an investment vehicle known as special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
In the article, Wilkerson also described discord at Trump Media, including tension with CEO Devin Nunes, who as a Republican congressman was one of Trump’s most loyal defenders. Wilkerson also said another executive described how Trump pressured him to give shares in the company to his wife, Melania Trump.
A spokeswoman for Trump Media denied the Post story and touted Truth Media’s availability in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Samsung’s 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 wants to take the media company public, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNBC has also reached out to Wilkerson’s attorneys for comment.
Trump Media fired Wilkerson for an “unauthorized disclosure” to the Post, the paper said. One of his lawyers called the firing retaliation against a whistleblower, according to the report. There are laws that protect whistleblowers.
The report comes as DWAC urges its shareholders to vote to delay the planned merger with Trump Media, which was announced last year. DWAC has warned it could liquidate if it doesn’t complete the merger, which would cost Trump Media hundreds of millions of dollars.
DWAC CEO Patrick Orlando ordered another of his companies to give DWAC funding to keep it running until December. He has already postponed a shareholder 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 being investigated by regulators at the SEC and prosecutors at the Department of Justice. Trump Media blamed the SEC for delaying the deal.
In the article, he also described undisclosed discussions between Trump, executives at his media company and Orlando last year before DWAC went public and the deal was announced. These conversations may have violated SEC rules.
Wilkerson shared internal logs, memos, photos, videos and other materials related to the SEC investigation with the Post. All of the materials had previously been released to government investigators, the Post said, citing Wilkerson’s attorneys.
Trump Media suspended the executive after the Miami Herald first reported the SEC complaint on Oct. 6, calling it a “clear violation” of his nondisclosure agreement, the Post said.
Read the full Washington Post report here.
— CNBC’s Jack Stebbins contributed to this article.