Former President Donald Trump, his son Don Jr., and other Trumpworld figures made quiet exits last month from the board of a troubled social media venture launched to give the former president an online outlet.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune first reported the resignations.
TPM reviewed a copy of a Florida corporate filing from Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) which attests to the changes.
Filed on June 8, the document shows the company seeking to amend its application for authorization to do business in Florida. It specifically sought to remove Trump, Don Jr., Kash Patel, and Wes Moss from the company’s board. It also sought to remove Scott Glabe as the company’s general counsel and Andrew Northwall as its chief operating officer.
TRUTH Social, owned by TMTG, issued a statement on the platform calling the reports “fake news” and disputing that Trump had departed.
“Donald Trump remains on the board of Trump Media and Technology Group,” the statement read in part.
TPM called the Division of Corporations at Florida’s Department of State, and was told that the changes described in the filing did in fact refer to departures from the company’s board.
It’s not clear why the departures took place when they did.
Corporate reorganizations are not uncommon, and Trump’s departure from the board does not appear to change any underlying dynamics in the proposed merger.
As the Sarasota Herald-Tribune noted, the departures come as SEC and DOJ investigations into TMTG’s merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. appear to be heating up, with subpoenas from the SEC going to Digital World in May and from the DOJ in late June.
Digital World is a special purpose acquisition company — known as a SPAC. These are firms that are publicly traded, but have no assets of their own. Instead of building their own business, they aim to acquire privately held firms.
The benefit here is that privately held firms can essentially go public via SPAC without subjecting themselves to the traditional initial public offering process. If successful, it would give TMTG, which owns TRUTH Social, access to billions of dollars via the public stock market.
The catch, however, is that SPACs cannot, under federal securities law, discuss potential acquisition targets before going public, and without disclosing those conversations to investors. The New York Times reported last year that Digital World may have skirted both those laws.
Trump and others appear to have left the board after Digital World was subpoenaed by the SEC, but before the DOJ issued subpoenas to each member of that firm’s board of directors.
Trump also departed before TMTG itself received subpoenas from the SEC and from a Manhattan federal grand jury.
It’s not clear that Trump’s departure would have any impact on the investigation itself — the allegations that Digital World discussed TMTG long predate Trump’s departure. But it leaves the question open of whether this merger — valued at $875 million — will become the latest in a long line of failed Trump ventures, from Trump Steaks to Trump University.