Did Nikola’s Trevor Milton Resign Due To #MeToo Claims?

Did Nikola’s Trevor Milton Resign Due To #MeToo Claims?

Tyler Durden

Tue, 09/22/2020 – 09:50

The resignation of Nikola founder Trevor Milton came as a shock to many on Wall Street when it first broke around midnight on Sunday. Sell side analysts were admittedly “shocked” by the move, though it didn’t stop many of them from maintaining ridiculous price targets on the name, like Cowen, who raised its target to $79 and defended Milton just before he resigned.

Milton’s departure even had some traders baffled; after all, he had just bought stock in the company days prior, while Nikola was in the midst of fighting allegations of being an “intricate fraud” from Hindenburg Research and after the company had retained Kirkland & Ellis and responded (admitted to) numerous claims put out by Hindenburg’s original report. 

When we first reported Milton’s departure on Monday morning, we couldn’t help but notice that Tweets began to surface late Sunday night by the CEO of Entrata, David Bateman, who alleged that women had “come forward accusing Milton of groping her”.

Bateman then followed those texts up with another slug of messages purported to be received by the same model years later:

Early Monday morning, another Tweet surfaced by someone who alleged they were Trevor Milton’s cousin. “Trevor Milton is my cousin. On September 12, 1999–the day of our grandfather’s funeral–Trevor sexually assaulted me. I was 15 years old, and he was 18,” the Tweet says. 

This tweet was confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, which amended a story published on Monday to include the sexual assault allegations against Milton:

On Monday, new allegations about Mr. Milton’s conduct emerged when a woman accused him on Twitter of sexually assaulting her when the two were younger.

Aubrey Smith, who says she is Mr. Milton’s first cousin, claimed in a series of tweets that he inappropriately touched her when she was 15 and visiting Utah for their grandfather’s funeral in September 1999. She says Mr. Milton was 18 years old at the time.

When reached by phone, Ms. Smith confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that she had made the posts on Twitter and said she wanted to go public now as other questions about Mr. Milton’s conduct have surfaced. Another family member also confirmed Mr. Milton is her cousin.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with two people who said that Ms. Smith told them about the alleged incident months afterward.

On Monday, Bateman continued to post photographs of what allegedly are conversations between Trevor Milton and a woman who we was trying to lure on a trip. The texts are unconfirmed and undated. 

Additionally, starting Monday night other reporters were starting to dig into the story, like CNBC’s Dawn Kopecki:

Recall, Milton’s resignation came less than 2 weeks after Hindenburg Research’s original report calling the company an “intricate fraud” and just 6 days after Hindenburg’s follow up report stating it viewed Nikola’s response as a “tacit admission of securities fraud”. 

Among the bolder accusations made by Hindenburg Research in their recent scathing report about Nikola Corporation was the allegation that Nikola faked its Nikola One semi truck “in motion” video, which appeared to show a functioning big rig barreling through the desert, trailer in tow. Some people even took to the desert with their own cars to recreate the experiment on the same hill. 

GM has said it is going to continue to try and work with Nikola, despite the allegations.

But we have to ask, could there be more to come? And, if Milton resigned for these #MeToo reasons – and not just business related reasons – how long will GM CEO Mary Barra stick by the company?

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Author: Tyler Durden