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Truth Social lost $58 million last year. Here’s who made money anyway.

Former president Donald Trump’s social media company generated just $4 million in revenue last year — about as much as the average McDonald’s franchise in the United States, according to a report last year by the fast-food industry publication QSR.

But that hasn’t stopped Trump Media & Technology Group, which runs Truth Social, from granting Trump a share package now worth billions of dollars — or from paying its leaders millions of dollars in salaries, bonuses and stock, according to documents it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trump Media, based in Sarasota, Fla., has only 36 employees and lost $58 million last year, the filings show. The online analytics firm Similarweb estimates that Truth Social’s traffic is less than 1 percent of Reddit’s, a platform that received $800 million in revenue last year.

But a stock-market frenzy has supersized Trump Media’s value to about $5.5 billion — more than the market values of Macy’s, Columbia Sportswear and Alaska Airlines, which make billions in revenue a year.

The Washington Post shared with Trump Media the numbers it intended to highlight in this report, all of which were taken from the company’s filings. Trump Media spokeswoman Shannon Devine responded in a statement: “Truth Social just successfully launched as a public company, with a committed and expanding audience of millions of users, so it’s no surprise the partisan activists at The Washington Post — already the target of ongoing legal action for its defamatory reporting on us — would gin up this sort of ridiculous hit piece.”

Trump Media sued The Post for defamation last year, saying the news organization had reported incorrectly on allegations concerning its financing. A federal judge in Florida recently dismissed the case but said Trump Media could amend its complaint if it believes it can state a viable claim.

Trump is Trump Media’s biggest shareholder, with 57.3 percent of the company, or 78.7 million shares — a stake worth about $3.2 billion based on the stock’s closing price Friday.

Through an “earnout” provision, Trump stands to receive another 36 million shares if the price stays above $17.50 for 20 days, which could happen as soon as April 26 and would raise his total stake to $4.7 billion.

A six-month “lockup” agreement says Trump can’t sell or transfer his shares until Sept. 25 — or possibly a few days earlier, if the stock hits a certain price threshold. Trump could ask the company’s board to waive that requirement but has yet to do so. The lockup also applies to company executives and board members.

Three people on Trump Media’s seven-member board of directors have been compensated with either stock or cash or both.

Devin Nunes, Trump Media’s chief executive and president, received 115,000 shares, worth about $4.6 million. He was paid a $750,000 salary last year that increased to $1 million this year.

Nunes, a former Republican congressman from California, also will receive a $600,000 lump-sum “retention bonus” this month. A bonus agreement signed by Nunes said the money was designed to help “ensure the continuity” of Trump Media’s business.

Board member Eric Swider, who was chief executive of the special purpose acquisition company that merged with Trump Media, and Renatus, his consulting firm in Puerto Rico, received about 153,000 shares as part of the merger deal, a stake worth $6.2 million.

Another board member, Kash Patel, a former Nunes aide who served on Trump’s National Security Council, was paid $130,000 last year as part of a consulting agreement with his company, Trishul. A filing says Patel also serves as a “national security adviser to [Trump] as a private citizen” and receives payment for that service from Trump’s Save America political action committee.

The other four board members — Trump’s former trade representative Robert E. Lighthizer; Trump’s former Small Business Administration leader Linda McMahon; the Louisiana attorney W. Kyle Green; and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. — were not paid last year, though a filing said the board could give itself “stock as non-cash compensation … from time to time.”

One former board member, Dan Scavino Jr., a longtime Trump aide who led his White House’s social media operation and is now advising Trump’s presidential campaign, was paid $240,000 last year through a consulting agreement with his company, Hudson Digital. Scavino will also receive a $600,000 retention bonus this month.

Trump Media also issued a $2.2 million “executive promissory note” to Scavino. The company gave similar promissory notes to other executives, which automatically converted on the day of the merger into stock. The filings do not specify whether Scavino’s note was converted.

Trump Media’s chief financial officer, Phillip Juhan, received 490,000 shares, worth $19.8 million. He was paid $337,500 last year, and his salary jumped to $365,000 when the merger closed. He last worked as the finance chief of a chain of fitness clubs.

Chief operating officer Andrew Northwall received 20,000 shares, worth $812,000. He was paid $365,000 last year. Previously he worked at Parler, the social network that was popular among pro-Trump rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Juhan and Northwall also will receive $600,000 retention bonuses this month.

Other executives will receive a total of $1.24 million in bonuses. They include chief technology officer Vladimir Novachki, who also received 45,000 shares, worth $1.8 million, and general counsel Scott Glabe, who received 20,000 shares, worth $812,000. Glabe served as an associate White House counsel under Trump.

Trump Media co-founders Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss, who met Trump on “The Apprentice” and helped launch the business in 2021, received a combined 7.5 million shares through their partnership, United Atlantic Ventures, a stake worth about $304 million.

Arc Global Investments II, the biggest founding investor in Digital World Acquisition, the company that merged with Trump Media to take it public, said in a filing it received 13.3 million shares, worth about $539 million. A previous filing by Trump Media said Arc would receive 9.5 million shares.

Arc and Digital World are involved in a legal dispute regarding how many shares Arc is owed. Arc is managed by Digital World’s former chief executive Patrick Orlando.

Trump Media said it had helped fund its operations by issuing 19 convertible notes since 2021 in exchange for loans with a total face value of more than $40 million. The holders of those notes, most of whom the filings do not identify, can convert the unpaid principal into stock. The company said several of the notes had been amended or extended since they were issued, and that it had an “ongoing disagreement” with one noteholder over their “differing interpretations of certain terms.”

The company also said it had issued convertible notes to unnamed investors for “working capital purposes” during the last quarter of 2023, and that more than $1 million of the notes remained outstanding by the end of the year.

The Trump Media deal sits at the center of four ongoing lawsuits, all of which were filed within the last two months:

Trump Media and Digital World sued Arc and Orlando in Florida, saying their “irrational and disturbing behavior” had “imposed massive costs” and caused “extensive reputational harm.”Litinsky and Moss’ United Atlantic Ventures sued Trump Media in Delaware, saying Trump had pushed a “last-minute stock grab” that would dilute their shares. Trump is scheduled to be deposed in that lawsuit this month.Arc sued Digital World, its chief executive and three board members in Delaware, saying they had worked to deprive Orlando of millions of shares.Trump Media sued Moss, Litinsky and Orlando in Florida, accusing the co-founders of mismanaging the company with a “toxic corporate culture” and seeking to force the forfeiture of their shares. The Delaware judge in the United Atlantic Ventures lawsuit said at a hearing April 1 that he was “gobsmacked” that Trump Media filed this suit when the dispute was already playing out in his court.

Digital World said it spent $19.6 million on “legal investigations” last year, mostly due to its $18 million settlement with the SEC, a Trump Media filing shows.

Trump Media also agreed last year to pay an unnamed law firm $500,000 for services, the filing said. In November, the firm was issued a $500,000 convertible note with a conversion price of $10 per share; that stake is worth $2 million today.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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