On Monday, CNN reported that a whistleblower is alleging former President Donald Trump ousted an executive from the board of Trump Media and Technology Group, the company behind his Truth Social platform, when he refused to relinquish control of shares Trump wanted to be given to his wife Melania.
The allegation was first flagged in a report by The Washington Post over the weekend.
"Will Wilkerson filed in August a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission against Trump’s media venture and has also provided the SEC with a tranche of internal documents," reported David Goldman and Matt Egan. "The documents included an email, which Wilkerson also shared with the Post, in which company co-founder Andy Litinsky claims that the former president retaliated against him because he refused to gift shares to the former first lady."
"Litinsky, a 2004 contestant on Trump’s reality TV show 'The Apprentice,' refused Trump’s demands and was removed from TMTG’s board months later, according to the Post. Wilkerson told the Post that Litinsky believes his ouster was retribution for his failure to cede his shares to Melania Trump. Litinsky did not respond to a request for comment," said the report. "Patrick Mincey, an attorney representing Wilkerson, confirmed that Wilkerson was fired on Thursday after speaking to reporters at the Post. Wilkerson is also represented by attorneys Stephen Bell and Phil Brewster. 'Trump Media’s termination of the whistleblower after the company was contacted for comment by the Washington Post is patent retaliation against a SEC whistleblower of the worst kind,' a statement Mincey, Bell and Brewster jointly said."
According to CNN, a TMTG spokeswoman called the allegation "knowingly false and defamatory" and threatened legal action against CNN for reprinting the story.
TMTG is currently in the process of trying to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp., a so-called "blank-check" company. The merger has been plagued with setbacks, with one DWAC executive suing the company's CEO, Patrick Orlando, for fraud, and delays amid suspicion about the deal by investors.