‘Hookers, lies and fraud’: Snopes ‘in danger of closing doors’

Snopes Founder David Mikkelson with his new wife, Snopes staff member Elyssa Young

Snopes Founder David Mikkelson with his new wife, Snopes staff member Elyssa Young

So-called “fact-checking” website Snopes.com is reportedly on the verge of financial collapse since one if its founders has been accused of using company cash to fund his contentious divorce and to pay for fancy vacations with his new wife, a former escort and porn actress.

Snopes-logoThe financial situation has apparently become so dire that Snopes owner David Mikkelson launched a crowd-funding website to solicit donations, according to London’s Daily Mail. Readers contributed more than $500,000 in just the first 24 hours.

As WND has reportedSnopes.com, a website that’s been around since 1995, is sometimes cited by other “fact-checking” sites to support their claims. Facebook has even indicated it plans to use Snopes as one of its arbiters of “fake news.” But WND revealed the site has been criticized by conservatives for a left-leaning bias and admits it has no standard procedure for fact-checking.

Snopes Founder Barbara Mikkelson (Photo: Facebook)

Snopes Founder Barbara Mikkelson (Photo: Facebook)

Snopes.com’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, have been embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce. At one point, Barbara accused the CEO of using company money for prostitutes. Barbara Mikkelson also accused her ex-husband of embezzling more than $100,000 in company funds. She urged the court to limit access to David’s bank account because she said she feared he would drain the company funds due to his wild spending habits.

David claimed Barbara took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas. He has since remarried to a former escort and porn actress, Elyssa Young, who is one of the site’s staff members. Young, who was a Las Vegas escort until at least 2015, charged $500 for her services. She also starred in porn films as “Erin O’Bryn.”

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Now, the Daily Mail reports, Proper Media, an advertising and Internet services company, has filed a lawsuit against David in California. A court hearing is scheduled for August.

In 2016, the owners of Proper Media bought 50 percent of Bardav Inc., a company launched by the Mikkelsons that owns Snopes. The owners took Barbara’s share of the company.

But now Proper Media claims David, in the last year, “engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits.”

The Daily Mail reported, “[David] Mikkelson counters that Proper Media – which Snopes also contracts for advertising work – has been holding the website ‘hostage’ by ‘withholding advertising revenue.’”

David pleaded for financial donations this week, saying Snopes.com “is in danger of closing its doors” because Proper Media isn’t releasing ad revenue or giving up control of advertising on the website.

“Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile,” David said.

Snopes founder David Mikkelson with new wife, Elyssa Young (Photo: Facebook)

Snopes founder David Mikkelson with new wife, Elyssa Young (Photo: Facebook)

Proper Media argues that David’s spending habits are the cause of Snopes’ financial troubles.

“But while Snopes is built entirely around the concepts of transparency and truth, its founder, Defendant David Mikkelson … has engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits,” according to legal documents filed in San Diego Superior Court.

Proper Media accuses David of breaking his contract and rebuffed shareholders’ attempts to get him to control his spending. It claims David signed court documents in June claiming he is under financial duress, but he signed those papers while he was vacationing in Orleans, France.

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“If Mikkelson is permitted to continue unabated as director of Bardav, he will irreversibly drain the company of important financial resources through personal and unnecessary expenditures,” claimed Proper Media, which also accuses David of “pervasive fraud” at Snopes.

Court documents from the Mikkelson divorce reveal David sought to be paid $720,000 a year.

Elyssa Young, David Mikkelson's new wife, as 'Eryn O'Bryan' offering 'courtesan' services (Photos: Twitter)

Elyssa Young, David Mikkelson’s new wife, as ‘Eryn O’Bryan’ offering ‘courtesan’ services (Photos: Twitter)

According to the accusations, he spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on vacations and a honeymoon at Tokyo Disneyland with Young, his new wife. Young, now an administrative assistant at Snopes, still has a website online that says she’s “an elite courtesan who provides discreet companionship for those who appreciate the finer things in life.”

Young describes herself to prospective clients: “I have an adult woman’s build and the soul of an indomitable force of nature burning within it.”

Kim LaCapria, principal fact checker at Snopes, has blogged as "Vice Vixen" and offered sex toy tips

Kim LaCapria, principal fact checker at Snopes, has blogged as “Vice Vixen” and offered sex toy tips

As WND reported, one of Snopes’ leading fact-checkers is a former sex-and-fetish blogger who described her routine as smoking pot and posting to Snopes.com. Kim LaCapria is disclosed to be a former sex-blogger who called herself “Vice Vixen.”

Her blog had “a specific focus on naughtiness, sin, carnal pursuits, and general hedonism and bonne vivante-ery.”

LaCapria’s day-off activities she said on another blog were: “played scrabble, smoked pot, and posted to Snopes.’”

“That’s what I did on my day “on,” too,” she added.

David Mikkelson has told the the Daily Mail that Snopes does not have a “standardized procedure” for fact-checking “since the nature of this material can vary widely.”

He said the process of fact-checking “‘involves multiple stages of editorial oversight, so no output is the result of a single person’s discretion.”

Snopes has no formal requirements for fact-checkers, he told the London paper, because the variety of the work “would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.”

Mikkelson has denied that Snopes takes any political position, but the Daily Mail noted his new wife ran for U.S. congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004.

During the campaign she handed out “Re-Defeat Bush” cards and condoms stamped with the slogan “Don’t get screwed again.”

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

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Clean repeal a no-go in the Senate

On Wednesday an effort to repeal Obamacare without a replacement was shot down in the Senate as seven GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in voting against the legislation.

The clean repeal failure comes a day after repeal/replace legislation failed to muster the necessary support for passage.

Joining Democrats voting against repeal Wednesday were Republican Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Shelly Moore Capito, Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Dean Heller.

McCain’s no vote came as a surprise, but others like Murkowski and Capito were promised if the leadership presented a repeal plan without a replacement option.

“Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare, and as we move forward in this process, I urge them to join me in supporting a clean repeal of as much of this disastrous law as possible,” Sen. Rand Paul, who introduced the clean repeal legislation, said ahead of the vote.

Legislation similar to Paul’s amendment was supported by many of the same Repubicans who voted against the repeal when Congress passed repeal legislation in 2015 with the knowledge that President Obama’s veto was inevitable.

What’s it all mean? Obamacare isn’t going to be repealed in any meaningful way because the GOP establishment only used the healthcare law as a vote-getting machine.


On healthcare, Rand Paul says what a true friend of conservatism should (video)

As GOP leaders fail to deliver, Trump says it’s time to ‘let Obamacare fail’

Senate’s ‘new’ healthcare reform bill looks a lot like Obamacare… and it’s about to get worse

The post Clean repeal a no-go in the Senate appeared first on Personal Liberty®.


Shock report: Government rules against spying on Americans aren’t rules at all

It isn’t getting much attention because of the ongoing turmoil in Washington– but a report out this week reveals the government is majorly abusing its spying authority with little regard for rules agencies claim exist to protect American privacy.

The revelations come from The Hill’s John Solomon, who reviewed a series of declassified memos detailing the government’s own accounting of how intelligence employees break privacy rules throughout the year. The memos obtained by the newspaper via an American Civil Liberties Union FOIA request detail privacy violations at the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation during the previous administration.

From Solomon’s report:

[T]he government admitted improperly searching the NSA’s foreign intercept data on multiple occasions, including one instance in which an analyst ran the same search query about an American “every work day” for a period between 2013 and 2014.

There also were several instances in which Americans’ unmasked names were improperly shared inside the intelligence community without being redacted, a violation of the so-called minimization procedures that Obama loosened in 2011 that are supposed to protect Americans’ identity from disclosure when they are intercepted without a warrant. Numerous times improperly unmasked information about Americans had to be recalled and purged after the fact, the memos stated.

“CIA and FBI received unminimized data from many Section 702-tasked facilities and at times are thus required to conduct similar purges,” one report noted.

“NSA issued a report which included the name of a United States person whose identity was not foreign intelligence,” said one typical incident report from 2015, which said the NSA eventually discovered the error and “recalled” the information.

Likewise, the FBI disclosed three instances between December 2013 and February 2014 of “improper disseminations of U.S. persons identities.”

The NSA also admitted it was slow in some cases to notify fellow intelligence agencies when it wrongly disseminated information about Americans. The law requires a notification within five days, but some took as long as 131 business days and the average was 19 days, the memos show.

The intelligence machine’s line on the privacy violations is that government investigators noting those few mentioned above is proof that citizens have no reason to worry about the surveillance state.

But what the intelligence insiders fail to mention is the “waivers” spies can obtain to keep intercepts obtained on U.S. soil without warrants under changes the agencies made to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

More from Soloman:

The new documents show that the NSA has, on occasion, exempted itself from its legal obligation to destroy all domestic communications that were improperly intercepted.

Under the law, the NSA is supposed to destroy any intercept if it determines the data was domestically gathered, meaning someone was intercepted on U.S. soil without a warrant when the agency thought they were still overseas. The NSA, however, has said previously it created “destruction waivers” to keep such intercepts in certain cases.

The new documents confirm the NSA has in fact issued such waivers and that it uncovered in 2012 a significant violation in which the waivers were improperly used and the infraction was slow to be reported to the court.

“In light of related filings being presented to the Court at the same time this incident was discovered and the significance of the incident, DOJ should have reported this incident under the our immediate notification process,” then-Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote the FISA court in Aug. 28, 2012, about the episode, according to one memo released through FOIA.

The NSA declined to say how often destruction waivers are given…

The NSA’s spokesman told The Hill that the waivers are compliant with 702 and the 4th Amendment. The full report is worth a read. 

Think for a second what Solomon’s report is really revealing. The government set up a secret court to help it conduct extrajudicial surveillance without having to deal with the pesky justice system. It uses the secret court to assure Americans that their rights are being protected, even if not by the traditional legal system, and then changes the secret court’s rules around at will. This is why we have the regular justice system, which is only one branch of a government power balance.

Much of the conservative push-back against government spying has died down since President Obama left office– but the government is still out of control. In fact, there’s indication that unconstitutional spying could increase under the Trump administration.

At the end of this year, Section 702 is up for renewal. Now would be an ideal time to begin reminding your lawmakers that warrantless government spying on Americans isn’t why you vote for conservative candidates.


The post Shock report: Government rules against spying on Americans aren’t rules at all appeared first on Personal Liberty®.


Boehner used to ‘sneak into’ White House to see Obama

(MEDIAITE) — Speaking at an event in Las Vegas last week, former Speaker of the House John Boehner said that he used to “sneak into” the White House to see President Barack Obama, according to The Washington Post.

Boehner apparently adopted his cat burglar style approach to visiting the president out of fear of backlash and scrutiny from the “right-wing press.”

According to the Post, Boehner said that the scrutiny would not be exclusive to the conservative media. The liberal media would be critical of President Obama for meeting with the Speaker as well.

“If I didn’t sneak in, if I went in like I would normally go in, the right-wing press would go crazy. ‘What is Boehner up to?’ The left-wing press would go just as crazy. ‘What is Obama doing? He’s going to let Boehner roll him again.’ You’re dead before you even have an agreement,” Boehner said.


Steve Scalise discharged from hospital

(POLITICO) House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday and will now begin “intensive inpatient rehabilitation,” his doctors at MedStar Washington Hospital Center announced Wednesday.

The Louisiana Republican has made “excellent progress in his recovery from a life-threatening gunshot wound six weeks ago,” the hospital said in a statement. Scalise took a bullet to the left hip when a gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in June.


Hillary’s new book blames Russia, Comey

(THE HILL) Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book will double down on Russia’s interference and James Comey’s involvement in her stunning election defeat, according to sources familiar with the memoir.

Privately, Clinton has told friends and longtime associates that she “wants the whole story out there” as she rushes to tweak and put the finishing touches on the book due out in September.

“She really believes that’s why she lost, and she wants to explain why in no uncertain terms,” one longtime ally said. “She wants the whole story out there from her own perspective. I think a lot of people are going to be really surprised by how much she reveals.”