Trump Media merger partner loses board member days before meeting

In this image illustration taken on February 21, 2022, the logo of social network Truth is seen behind a woman holding a smartphone.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

A South Florida real estate executive has left the board Digital World Acquisition Corp.blank check company that agreed to take former President Donald Trump’s media company public, according to a securities filing Wednesday.

Justin Shaner, CEO of Shaner Properties in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, resigned from DWAC’s board of directors on Friday, according to the filing.

The move came a few days before DWAC’s shareholders meeting scheduled for November 22. DWAC CEO Patrick Orlando has adjourned the meeting several times in recent months as he seeks shareholder approval to delay his company’s merger with Trump Media and Technology Group, which owns the Truth Social app, about a year from now.

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The deal between DWAC and Trump Media is being investigated by federal prosecutors and regulators. Will Wilkerson, the former head of Trump Media, filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission and filed a whistleblower complaint alleging the companies were providing misleading information.

If the merger deadline is not delayed until early December, DWAC will likely be liquidated.

Shaner did not immediately return a request for comment, and neither did DWAC. “Mr. Shaner’s resignation was not the result of any disagreement with the company regarding any matter related to company operations, policies or practices,” DWAC said in Wednesday’s filing.

Shaner was a board member of another Orlando-run blank check company, Benessere Capital Acquisition Corp., which is also being investigated by federal authorities in connection with the DWAC investigation. Beneser and some of its directors were subpoenaed by the SEC and a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York in June, according to filings.

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Benessere announced in October that it would be liquidated after a merger deal with fellow company eCombustible Energy fell through. Beneser said the SEC investigation delayed the registration statement, according to securities filings. Trump Media has also blamed regulators for delaying its merger with DWAC.

DWAC shares It fell 16% to $21.29 on Wednesday, a day after Trump announced he would run for president in 2024. The stock is well off the year high of $101.87 reached in March.

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Trump himself is under federal criminal investigation, while his parent company, the Trump Organization, is on trial in New York.

He founded Truth Social after being banned from Twitter for his posts on January 6, 2021, when hundreds of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in what was ultimately a failed attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Twitter’s new owner and CEO Elon Musk has said he will allow Trump back on the social network, where the former president had about 88 million followers. He has about 4 million followers on Truth Social.

– CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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