Snopes.com was recently named as one of the arbiters by Facebook to verify so-called ‘fake news’ stories. In a bombshell report from Daily Mail, Snopes founder David Mikkelson has been accused by his ex-wife, and Snopes co-founder, for embezzling $98,000 for prostitutes.
Snopes will be part of a panel that determines if a flagged news story is ‘fake.’ If classified as such, it will come with a warning to anyone who wants to view the article. But the two founders are in the midst of a rather ugly dispute that paints a sordid light on their life and credibility. They also founded the website under false pretenses:
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.’.
Their marriage ended in 2015 but the dispute continues. The company is officially known as Bardav, and Barbara Mikkelson has made stunning allegations against her husband:
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’.
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.
But that’s not all.
David Mikkelson’s new wife, Elyssa Young, works for the website as an administrator. She previously worked as an escort and in porn. She once ran for Congress as a Libertarian on a ‘Dump Bush’ platform.
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.
The main ‘fact checker’ on Snopes.com is Kimberly LaCapria, who runs a sex blog called ‘ViceVixen’ and has allegedly posted on Snopes while smoking pot.