OWNER OF SNOOPES.COM IS A DOMINATRIX





















Fraud, embezzlement, and using company funds to pay for prostitution are just a sampling of the accusations against the CEO of fact-checking website, Snopes — a site which, incidentally, is part of Facebook’s new panel to combat “fake news.”

Facebook’s choice to hire Snopes to arbitrate which news items will be allowed to stand and which should receive the Scarlet-Letter label ‘disputed’ already brought outrage — the site is notoriously left-leaning — but an exclusive report from the Daily Mail on alleged shady dealings should turn Mark Zuckerberg’s cheeks a deep shade of red.

David and Barbara Mikkelson, ex-spouses and founders of Snopes, have been hurling accusations allegations at one another in an ongoing bitter legal dispute following their divorce — and many of the claims don’t exactly give the company an air of professionalism.

Last month, David remarried — his new wife is a former porn actress and escort — and is now one of the site’s fact-checkers. As for the accusations, reports the Daily Mail,

“They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of ‘embezzlement’ and suggesting he is attempting a ‘boondoggle’ to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.”

As the Daily Mail notes, the couple met on an online message board with a folklore theme in the early 1990s, and created a fake organization — “The San Fernando Valley Folklore Society” — which, according to a Webby Awards profile, is “an entity dreamed up to help make the inquiries seem more legit.”

David, now CEO of Snopes — which the former couple created after marrying in 1995 — told the Los Angeles Times in 1997, as cited by the Daily Mail, “When I sent letters out to companies, I found I got a much better response with an official-looking organization’s stationery.”

Although they divorced in 2015, the pair remains embroiled in a caustic legal battle — mostly about money — and particularly concerning each other’s use of Snopes’ funds. Legal documents viewed by the Daily Mail — some of which are verifiable, as presented by the outlet, some not — evince a drawn out personal and corporate quarrel, which a lawyer, unidentified by the outlet, described as “contentious.”

image: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3B90629E00000578-4042194-image-a-26_1482343563900.jpg

image: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3B90652400000578-4042194-image-a-27_1482345222180.jpg


Barbara, in court filings, accuses David of “raiding” Snopes’ bank account “for his personal use and attorney fees” and embezzling “$98,000 from our company over the course of four years, which were monies he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired …”
image: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3B905B6C00000578-4042194-image-m-24_1482343232064.jpg

In a court document from June, she contended, “He’s been depleting the corporate account by spending monies from it on his personal expenses,” such as purchasing his ‘girlfriend’s’ ticket to Buenos Aires and $10,000 for a “personal vacation” to India.

David later claimed India to be a business prospecting trip to familiarize himself with the country in order to set up a fact-checking site there, and that the $10,000 only financed 22.5 percent of the total cost of the excursion.

Barbara apparently worried her ex-husband would drain Snopes’ entire account and said he must be prohibited from using the company’s debit card and checks “right away.”

Another acrid disagreement concerned David’s salary, which Barbara was obligated to approve. As the Daily Mail explains, “David wanted his salary raised from $240,000 to $360,000 – arguing that this would still put him below the ‘industry standards’ and that he should be paid up to $720,000 a year.”

image: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3B90629800000578-4042194-image-a-25_1482343559126.jpg

In an April email to his ex-spouse, David wrote, “As I said, based on industry standards and our revenues, my salary should be about 2x to 3x what it is now. I’ll settle for $360K with the understanding that it’s to be retroactive to the start of the year.”

She balked, however, describing that request as “not even in the galaxy of reasonable.”

But the greed-tinged financial battle so divided the former ‘fact-checking’ couple, they even fought over the person assigned to settle disputes as the legal war raged. In fact, court filings show one arbiter subtly suggesting an arbiter step in to arbitrate yet another sub-battle in the ongoing war over money.

In the original settlement, Barbara received $1.5 million in stocks, savings, and other investments, as well as $660,000 upon agreement to give up her claim to their home in Calabasas, California.

David, on the other hand, kept their joint baseball card collection of undisclosed value and two savings accounts with a combined balance of $1.89 million.

Each took half of Snopes’ checking account at the end of 2015, with a balance of $240,000, and as the Daily Mail reports, “both of the former couple were due to receive $20,000 a month as a draw against profits, as well as a share of any net profit the company made after those payments.” Monthly payments were later increased to $30,000 for both David and Barbara.

But their monetary avarice still didn’t cease, as “court documents show that a decision on David’s salary for 2016 became bogged down in legal argument when Barbara referred it to an arbiter, and the appointment of the arbiter became itself a matter of dispute.”

Since the acrimonious divorce, David hired Elyssa Young — better known as Erin O’Bryn, a longtime escort and porn star, and now his wife — as administrative assistant at Snopes. According to the Daily Mail, Young’s escort profiles on professional sites and social media are still active, though it’s unclear whether she still works in that field.

image: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/erin-1024x687.png
Staff member: Elyssa Young is also known as Erin O’Bryn and maintains a website adveritising her services as an escort with photographs of her over the years

However, of particular concern about Young — given Snopes will soon wield the almighty censorship hammer for Facebook — is her deeply political past. The maybe-former escort ran an unsuccessful bid on the Libertarian ticket for U.S. Congress in Hawai`i in 2004, and became the subject of legitimate controversy for a snafu in which she misspelled her Republican competitor’s name — on her official campaign website.

Young isn’t the only eyebrow-raising Snopes employee — Kim LaCapria, the company’s lead ‘fact-checker,’ boasts openly of being a dominatrix known as “Vice Vixen,” and wrote on her personal blog she “played scrabble [sic], smoked pot, and posted to Snopes. That’s what I did on my day ‘on’ too.”
image: http://pixel.watch/qut7

David, who is legally prohibited from discussing anything concerning the dispute with Barbara, told the Daily Mail there is no “standardized procedure” in place for Snopes fact-checking “since the nature of this material can vary widely,” but the process “involves multiple stages of editorial oversight, so no output is the result of a single person’s discretion.”

Rather alarmingly under the circumstances, he added there are no ‘set requirements’ for Snopes fact-checkers given the broadness of the job “would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.

“Accordingly, our editorial staff is drawn from diverse backgrounds; some of them have degrees and/or professional experience in journalism, and some of them don’t.”

Anyone with even a cursory concern about freedom of speech and of the press is likely already distressed that Facebook’s self-appointed mission to slay ‘fake news’ includes only left-leaning organizations like ABC News, Politifact, FactCheck.org, and, of course, Snopes.

But that distress could turn to sheer horror knowing one of these supposed ‘fact-checkers’ can’t agree on a single point, once made up a fake organization just to appear professional — and is ensnared in a war over seemingly every penny.

Snopes will profit from its arrangement with Facebook — but how those profits will be spent appears entirely up in the air — and for the courts to decide.

However, one point incontestably underpinning the personal battle behind the scene at the company demands an urgent question — with money as the seemingly only motivator, can the public ever be assured Snopes’ checked facts are accurate at all?

Perhaps Snopes has finally been Snoped.
Facebook 'fact checker' who will arbitrate on 'fake news' is accused of defrauding website to pay for prostitutes - and its staff includes an escort-porn star and 'Vice Vixen domme'
Facebook has announced plans to check for 'fake news' using a series of organizations to assess whether stories are true
One of them is a website called Snopes.com which claims to be one of the web's 'essential resources' and 'painstaking, scholarly and reliable'
It was founded by husband-and-wife Barbara and David Mikkelson, who used a letterhead claiming they were a non-existent society to start their research
Now they are divorced - with Barbara claiming in legal documents he embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on 'himself and prostitutes'
In a lengthy and bitter legal dispute he is claiming to be underpaid and demanding 'industry standard' or at least $360,000 a year
The two also dispute what are basic facts of their case - despite Snopes.com saying its 'ownership' is committed to 'accuracy and impartiality'
Snopes.com founder David Mikkelson's new wife Elyssa Young is employed by the website as an administrator
She has worked as an escort and porn actress and despite claims website is non-political ran as a Libertarian for Congress on a 'Dump Bush' platform
Its main 'fact checker' is Kimberly LaCapria, whose blog 'ViceVixen' says she is in touch with her 'domme side' and has posted on Snopes.com while smoking pot

One of the websites Facebook is to use to arbitrate on 'fake news' is involved in a bitter legal dispute between its co-founders, with its CEO accused of using company money for prostitutes.

Snopes.com will be part of a panel used by Facebook to decide whether stories which users complain about as potentially 'fake' should be considered 'disputed'.

But the website's own troubles and the intriguing choice of who carries out its 'fact checks' are revealed by DailyMail.com, as one of its main contributors is disclosed to be a former sex-blogger who called herself 'Vice Vixen'.

Snopes.com will benefit from Facebook's decision to allow users to report items in their newsfeed which they believe to be 'fake'.

It is asking a number of organizations to arbitrate on items which are reported or which Facebook staff think may not be genuine, and decide whether they should be marked as 'disputed'.

Husband and wife: David Mikkelson is now married to Snopes.com staff member Elyssa Young - but also engaged in a bitter legal battle with his former wife Barbara with whom he set up the site


Wedding: Elyssa Young - who maintains a website offering her services as an escort - and Davik Mikkelson married in November. The wedding party included two other Snopes.com workers


Arbiter: Facebook announced that Snopes.com was one of the organizations to which it would turn for 'fact-checking' when questions are raised over the veracity of news stories

The others include ABC News, the Associated Press and 'fact-checking' websites including Politifact.com.

Now a DailyMail.com investigation reveals that Snopes.com's founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.

He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site's staff members.

They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of 'embezzlement' and suggesting he is attempting a 'boondoggle' to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.

The Mikkelsons founded the site in 1995. The couple had met in the early 1990s on a folklore-themed online message board, and married before setting up the site.

Profiles of the website disclose that for some time before it was set up, the couple had posed as 'The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society', using its name on letterheads, even though it did not exist.

A profile for the Webby Awards published in October describes it as 'an entity dreamed up to help make the inquiries seem more legit'.

David Mikkeleson told the Los Angeles Times in 1997: 'When I sent letters out to companies, I found I got a much better response with an official-looking organization's stationery.'

In 2015, their marriage ended in divorce - but a bitter legal dispute continues.

Both stayed on as co-owners of Snopes - which is registered under its legal name of Bardav, Inc. and were its sole board members.



Staff member: Elyssa Young is also know as Erin O'Bryn and maintains a website adveritising her services as an escort with photographs of her over the years






Political: Elyssa Young, under her other name Eryn O'Bryn, keeps her escort website running. An online review of her services was posted in March 2015






Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s, and appears to have continued posing for photographs until recently. She is now an administrative worker at Snopes.com and travels with her husband David Mikkelson, its co-founder



Active: The most recent review online of Elyssa Young's services was posted in March 2015

Legal filings seen by DailyMail.com detail a lengthy financial and corporate dispute which stretches long after their divorce, and which one lawyer describes as 'contentious' in court documents.

In the filings, Barbara, 57, has accused her former husband, 56, of 'raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use and attorney fees' without consulting her.

She also claimed he embezzled $98,000 from the company over the course of four years 'which he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired'.

When contacted by the Dailymail.com, David said he was legally prohibited from discussing his ex-wife’s allegations.

'I'd love to respond, but unfortunately the terms of a binding settlement agreement preclude me from publicly discussing the details of our divorce,' he said. Barbara Mikkelson said: 'No comment.'

In court records, Barbara alleged that her ex-husband removed thousands from their business accounts between April and June of 2016 to pay for trips for him and his 'girlfriend'.

She claimed he spent nearly $10,000 on a 24-day 'personal vacation' in India this year and expensed his girlfriend's plane ticket to Buenos Aires.

'He’s been depleting the corporate account by spending monies from it on his personal expenses,' said Barbara in a filing last June.



First wife: Lawyers in court documents described Barbara Mikkelson's split from David, with whom she co-founded the Snopes.com website, as contentious.

She added that he needed to be suspended from using the company checkbook and debit card 'right away before there are no funds left in the corporate account'.

David and his attorneys countered that the India visit was a legitimate business trip, and that he only expensed a fraction - 22.5 per cent - of the total cost of the excursion.

He said he was considering setting up a fact-checking website in India, and wanted to get a sense of the culture. He also said he went to Buenos Aires to attend an international fact-checking conference.

Meanwhile, his attorneys blasted Barbara as 'a "loose cannon" who simply must have her way'.

One major point of contention was David’s 2016 salary – which Barbara was responsible for approving.

David wanted his salary raised from $240,000 to $360,000 – arguing that this would still put him below the 'industry standards' and that he should be paid up to $720,000 a year.

'As I said, based on industry standards and our revenues, my salary should be about 2x to 3x what it is now,' he wrote in an email to Barbara in April 2016. 'I'll settle for $360K with the understanding that it’s to be retroactive to the start of the year.'

Barbara responded that his request was 'not even in the galaxy of reasonable'.

So bitter was the dispute, that they even fell out over the arbiter they had appointed to settle disputes, meaning that Facebook's arbiter cannot even agree on its own arbiter.

The court papers also detail the substantial financial rewards 'fact-checking' brought the former couple - and how they have even fallen out over remuneration.

The divorce settlement stipulated that David Mikkelson receive a salary of $240,000 a year in 2015, while both of the former couple were due to receive $20,000 a month as a draw against profits, as well as a share of any net profit the company made after those payments.

The settlement also noted: 'Each party waives his or her claim upon Bardav's revenues received by Husband into his PayPal account and spent by him, accountant's fees for restating tax returns to reflect previously unreported income...'

The nature of those revenues and fees, and of the unreported income is not disclosed.

The settlement saw savings, IRAS and stockholdings of well over $1.5 million given to Barbara, while she renounced claim on their marital home in Calabasas, California, in return for a payment of $660,000.

David kept their joint baseball card collection, a savings account with $1.59 million balance, and other savings worth more than $300,000. They also agreed to split the company checking account's $240,000 balance at the end of 2015 after his salary had been paid and a $50,000 float left.

Accusation: The claim of embezzlement was made in court documents seen by DailyMail.com




Contentious exchange: Barbara Mikkelson suggested a plan to relocate Snopes.com might be a 'boondoggle' and David demanded a $360,000 annual salary



The arbiter needs an arbiter: How details of spending were described by Barbara Mikkelson's legal team

They later increased the $20,000 monthly payment to $30,000.

That has not ended the difficulty however; court documents show that a decision on David's salary for 2016 became bogged down in legal argument when Barbara refered it to an arbiter, and the appointment of the arbiter became itself a matter of dispute.

Snopes.com will be asked by Facebook to be an arbiter on the veracity of news.

Attorneys for the former husband and wife also conducted a lengthy exchange on what was actually true about the actions of the former couple.

In correspondence his side disputes her right to 'decide what is and is not a legitimate business expense', while her side accused of him of making false claims about the appointment of the arbiter.

In the time since the couple split, David has run the company's day-to-day operations, and authored a number of 'fact checks'.

He has also made hires – including Elyssa Young, 47, an administrative assistant at Snopes.


She is also a long-time escort and porn star who has worked for decades under the name 'Erin O'Bryn' - and now his wife.

Mikkelson married Young last month in Washington state, and pre-wedding photos show the happy couple traveling the world and posing provocatively with tigers while wearing 'Snopes' hats and t-shirts.

The wedding party included two of the site's workers. The newlyweds honeymooned on the Jungle Cruise at Tokyo Disneyland.

Although Young lists her job as 'administrative assistant at Snopes' on LinkedIn, her escort websites and Twitter accounts still appear to be active. it is unclear if she is still working as one.

She describes herself on her Twitter page as 'a mature and experienced courtesan, idealist, activist & dreamer.'

On her escort website, she calls herself 'an elite and discreet companion' who 'understands that while pleasure and passion may be explored in the bedroom, it is hardly the only place.'

'I only accept a very limited number of new lovers because I'm only seeking long term engagements,' she wrote.

She also wrote: 'Here's the donation I request for my time, companionship, and entertainment', with 'non-negotiable' rates of $1,200 for her minimum four hours and $5,000 for 24 hours.



Fact checker: Kim LaCapria is the principal fact checker at the website but also blogged as Vice Vixen and wrote about her 'domme' side and offered sex toy recommendations

Online reviews suggest that she was working in Las Vegas as an escort in March 2015.

While David Mikkelson has denied that Snopes takes any political position, his new wife has a background in politics.

She ran for U.S. congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004, during which she handed out 'Re-Defeat Bush' cards and condoms stamped with the slogan 'Don't get screwed again'.

LUCRATIVE FACTS


Financial details of Snopes.com disclosed in court papers show that the website appears to be healthily profitable.

In February 2016, it had gross advertising sales of $216,199 and a gross profit of $150,599.50.

Expenses were notes as $2,500 for 'server expense' and $4,470 to Brooke Binkowski, which was marked as 80 per cent of payroll expenses.

Binkowski described herself as the editor of Snopes.com.

Her remuneration, which would be equivalent to $53,640 per annum, pales in comparison to that of David Mikkelson.

His 2015 annual salary was $240,000. On top of that the divorce settlement stipulated a $20,000-per-month draw on profits, with he and Barbara later upped to $30,000 - a package that would be the equivalent of $500,000 a year.

He is seeking a pay rise to '2x or 3x' the $240,000, court documents show, although he was prepared to settle for $360,000.

On top of that the court documents show that he had previously been able to charge other things to the company rather than paying for them himself.

In court papers his lawyers said: 'Prior to separation, Barbara wrote off every trip David took that involved visiting historical landmarks, sites, monuments; or museums; or any other site of pop culture significance (including baseball games), as a business expense.

Further court documents showed some of the details of the couple's personal wealth.

They included: a $205,000 home in Las Vegas; a $1,525,000 home in Calabasas, Los Angeles; two savings accounts with $3,064,993; a cash account with $81,785 and a stock account with $47,588; IRAs valued at $455,101; and a baseball card collection which was not valued.


'Let's face it, I am an unlikely candidate. I fully admit that I am a courtesan,' she wrote bluntly on her campaign website.

Her upstart campaign faced a number of obstacles – including a lack of funding and a bad spot of media attention after Young misspelled her Republican opponent's name on her campaign website.

But Young still managed to get on the ballot without spending any money, an accomplishment she touted on her campaign website.

'NO BULS***...I got ON THE BALLOT with the least possible waste,' she wrote, adding, 'Lets get less REAL boobs in office...'

In the end she pulled in three percent of the vote, losing the seat to Democratic incumbent Neil Abercrombie.

She is not the only Snopes employee who is frank online about their sex life.

One of the lead fact-checkers, Kim LaCapria, has also been a sex-and-fetish blogger who went by the pseudonym 'Vice Vixen.'

She described her blog as a lifestyle website 'with a specific focus on naughtiness, sin, carnal pursuits, and general hedonism and bonne vivante-ery.'

She regularly provided intimate advice and reviewed sex toys, including a vibrating wand that 'drives boys mad.'

'If you are doing something to your fella, and you apply this to the base of his cash-and-prizes while you carry on, he will scream and perhaps cry,' she wrote.

She also recommended one book with the review: 'How to Tell A Naked Man What To Do seems like the perfect how-to for the dominatrix-in-waiting, or any girl looking to get in touch with her domme side. Mine, I wish I could shut her up sometimes, but there you go.'

In others posts, LaCapria claimed to be 'addicted to smutty HP [Harry Potter] fanfic.'

Describing her day-off activities on another blog, she wrote that she 'played scrabble, smoked pot, and posted to Snopes.' She added, 'That's what I did on my day "on," too.'

David Mikkelson told the Dailymail.com that Snopes does not have a ‘standardized procedure’ for fact-checking ‘since the nature of this material can vary widely.’ He said the process ‘involves multiple stages of editorial oversight, so no output is the result of a single person’s discretion.’

He also said the company has no set requirements for fact-checkers because the variety of the work ‘would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.’

‘Accordingly, our editorial staff is drawn from diverse backgrounds; some of them have degrees and/or professional experience in journalism, and some of them don't,’ he added.

LaCapria did not respond to a request for comment.

More News Here
Breaking News
World News
Science News
Tech News
Politics
Health News
Weather
Android
Paranormal News
UFO News
Games
Video Gamer
Funny
Videos
GIF
Nature


LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
News Just For You on Facebook
Cyber Network News on Facebook
Quantum Science News on Facebook
Awake News on Facebook
Paranormal News on Facebook
UFO News on Facebook
Neural Network on Facebook
FML on Facebook
Dark Humor on Facebook
Health News on Facebook
Weather News Facebook
Android Lover on Facebook
Nature on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Advertise with us

Can't Find it? Try our Search