December 2, 2022

MONEY MEN: Trump’s Truth Social investors were just revealed

MONEY MEN: Trump's Truth Social investors were just revealed

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Is Donald Trump’s attempt to create his own social media platform with Truth Social in its death throes?

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With Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and with copious litigation filed against Trump’s social media company, many people believe it is.

New SEC filings have revealed the names of some of the financial backers of the beleaguered company, which is said to be $38 million in debt. One is a “Nutt,” and the others may be nuts — if they believe that they made a successful investment.

The names come to us courtesy of filings made by William Wilkerson, a former co-founder who was pushed out of the platform’s parent company – the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) – and has made allegations against it for improper filings and – basically – a whole bunch of other shenanigans (not the legal term).

There are multiple investigations into TMTG’s conduct, mainly centering on whether or not the company that was seeking to merge with it, the SPAC Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), negotiated with Trump and his team before going public, which would appear to be an SEC no-no.

DWAC saw its shares skyrocket from under $10 to over $94 after emerging a year ago. It then cratered over 50% before shooting up again to peak at about $97 in March. Since then it’s plunged to just $17 today, though it’s still unclear how Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter might impact it. The company has been plagued by investigations and missed deadlines, with investors fleeing out of fear that it might prove to be yet another Trump fiasco.

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Trump owns 90% of TMTG, though, according to statements Wilkerson made to the Washington Post, Dirty Donald was expected to have only “minor involvement” in operating the company — predominantly just selling his name to the venture. Yet he then insisted that more company stock be given to Melania Trump, which would have left Wilkerson with a tremendous loss. Wilkerson balked at that demand, leading to his ouster.

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And now Wilkerson’s fight has led us to some of the names behind Truth Social. As originally reported by Reuters, they include:

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  • Karl Pfluger, Congressional Trumper August Pfluger’s brother and chief of the Oryx Midstream oil company (Gee, I wonder why oil companies like Trump…), who has forked over more than $6 million;
  • Ken Troutt, Texas billionaire, in for some $4 million;
  • George Glass, a realtor who served as Trump’s ambassador to Portugal, invested to the tune of $500,000;
  • Roy Bailey, Trump’s 2016 campaign’s co-finance chair, who put up around $200,000; and
  • Bob McNutt, head of a fruitcake company (yes, really), who risked $100,000.

Of course, Trump has built a career on losing other people’s money. Though many might not remember, he got out of his early 1990s troubles, when he was essentially bankrupt, in two ways: leveraging his debt to make sweetheart deals that were later approved by courts, and creating his own stock – DJT – which suckered people into financing him. He used the capital he got and junk bonds to pay off debts and put himself in the clear. He got rich; his investors got hosed. By the end of 1996, the DJT company was $1.7 billion in debt and the stock had fallen from $35.50 to just $12. All the while Trump collected a salary of $7 million for his stewardship.

You see, Trump figured out a long time ago that the best business strategy was branding without investing any money of your own, as he has apparently done with Truth Social. He makes money off of being Donald Trump; not off of being a good businessman, which is why he’s still terrified of his tax returns going public – which will hopefully happen any day now.

The Trumps hate Ross. So you should show him some love with a follow on Twitter: @RossRosenfeld

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