Phil Garber
10 min readApr 16, 2024


Photo by Tania Melnyczuk on Unsplash

MAGA Gets Fleeced While Trump And Trumpers Get Rich, Same Old Story

So many Americans have flushed their hard earned pay down the toilet to buy worthless “Trump Social” stock but many others are making a killing off the ex-president’s latest scam.

That is just the way it is with trump and his gullible, innocent, brainwashed minions who are losing their communal shirts while trump shills like former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Eric Swider, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino Jr., Phillip Juhan and Andre Northwall are swimming in cash.

At the same time that trump is about to be exposed by Stormy Daniels, his much ballyhooed “Trump Social” stock is being exposed for the scam that it is, as the latest report shows company losing a staggering, $6 billion. Small-time, MAGA investors, who worship trump and believe he can do no wrong, should have listened to billionaire Barry Diller, the chairman of Expedia and People Magazine owner IAC, who told a reporter that Trump Media is a “scam” and people buying it are “dopes.”

Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. (TMTG) is majority-owned by trump and is the parent to trump’s social network company, Truth Social. TMTG became a public company on March 26 2024 after merging with Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), a special-purpose acquisition company. The shell company is based in Sarasota, Fla.

In an effort to gain the necessary, sizeable amount of financial backing for TMTG, trump reached out to billionaires, three men who have been indicted on insider trading charges, another who has connections with the Russian government and a Chinese-based company that is under federal investigation.

According to published reports, Anton Postolnikov, a Russian American financier, is involved with the ES Family Trust, an organization that lent Trump Media up to $8 million in late 2021 and early 2022. Trump Media received a $2 million promissory note from ES Family Trust, whose only named trustee, Angel Pacheco, is a director at Paxum, Postolnikov’s bank.

Postolnikov, who lives in Miami Beach, Fla., was the principal owner of Paxum Bank, a small bank based in the Caribbean island of Dominica that wired some of the loan money to Trump Media. Paxum Bank’s main business is in processing payments for adult entertainment companies.

Postolnikov is the nephew of Aleksandr Smirnov, who served as a high-ranking Russian government official for almost 15 years. As of two years ago, he was the deputy head of a state-owned enterprise governing seaports. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Postolnikov in 2017 faced an arrest warrant in his hometown on charges of tax fraud but the warrant was lifted after Russia’s deputy prosecutor general intervened, according to published reports. Postolnikov’s uncle, Aleksandr Smirnov, had served for most of the last two decades as a senior member of the Russian government.

In March 2021, Postolnikov donated $30,000 to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign.

Postolnikov denied in a statement that he was connected to allies of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and said Russian websites were spreading lies about him. Postolnikov was investigated by federal authorities on suspicions of insider-trading regarding the Trump merger with Digital World securities around the time of the merger announcement in 2021. Postolnikov was not charged.

Gerald Shvartsman and his brother Michael, a close associate of Postolnikov, have each pleaded guilty to securities fraud related to Digital World shares. The brothers were accused of illegally trading on nonpublic information in October 2021 that Digital World Acquisition Corp. planned to acquire Trump Media & Technology Group, the parent company of social media network Truth Social.

According to the indictment, the individuals together made more than $22 million in October 2021 by illegally trading on nonpublic knowledge of Digital World Acquisition Corporation’s secret plan to buy Truth Social. The defendants allegedly tipped off friends and colleagues, who also purchased securities in Digital World before the Trump Media deal became public. After the deal was announced, the value of the securities spiked. The defendants and individuals they tipped off then sold their securities for a significant profit, according to prosecutors.

Arc Capital, an investment advisory firm based in Shanghai, China, worked with trump to create Digital World Acquisition, the investment vehicle that raised more than $1.2 billion to merge with Trump Media and Technology Group.

Arc Capital has been the target of investigations by federal securities regulators, who say the firm misrepresented shell companies with no products and few employees as ambitious, growing enterprises, documents and interviews show. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Arc of deceiving investors about the scope of its operations, the locations of the businesses and the identities of the people behind them. In 2017, the SEC stopped three Arc-backed companies from publicly selling shares, citing “material misstatements and omissions” in their registration documents.

Two members of Congress are among those who have invested in Trump Media. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., bought between $15,000 and $50,000 shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), after the trump merger was announced. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., bought DWAC stock on October 25, 2021, with an investment between $1,000 and $15,000.

Billionaires have been and continue to be crucial for their roles in trump’s political fortunes.

Billionaire, Kenny Troutt, a retired Dallas telecommunications executive, has given more than $1.1 million to efforts backing trump’s three White House bids. Troutt, who breeds racehorses, made a $3 million loan to Trump Media through an affiliated company.

George Glass, an Oregon real estate developer and Trump fundraiser who served as U.S. Ambassador to Portugal during the trump administration, invested $500,000.

Bob McNutt, the chief executive officer of a mail-order fruitcake company in Corsicana, Texas and a longtime trump supporter invested $100,000 in Trump Media.

Patrick Walsh, a Florida hedge fund manager, lent $6.2 million to Trump Media. Walsh is chief executive of the holding company that controls luxury gym brands including TMPL, Palm Beach Sports Clubs, and LIV. He had worked with Phillip Juhan, who was the financial chief at fitness chain operator Town Sports International Holdings until Juhan left to take on the same role at TMTG.

Karl Pfluger, an oil and gas billionaire, provided nearly $10 million to Trump Media. Pfluger is president of Oryx Midstream Services, an oil pipeline company. Pfluger’s brother is Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, a vocal Trump ally who first earned Trump’s endorsement in February 2020.

Roy Bailey, the co-chair of Trump’s 2020 campaign, helped to raise some of the financing for Trump Media. Bailey’s Dallas-based firm lent at least $33,000 to Trump Media. Bailey is the chief executive officer of Bailey Deason Capital Investments in Dallas, Texas. He invested at least $200,000 to trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Martin Davis is a member of the family that owns Cambria quartz tabletops, an airline and vast dairies, that cumulatively rates as the 38th largest publicly traded company in Minnesota. Davis contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to help re-elect Trump in 2020, and encouraged him to fight to overturn the 2020 election results. Davis was one of the first to lend Trump Media & Technology Group millions so that it could stay afloat until its merger closed and finance the launch of Truth Social. Davis loaned $5 million to Trump Media & Technology Group, part of $40 million Trump Media raised from more than a dozen private investors.

In 2018, Davis successfully lobbied the trump administration to impose tariffs on quartz from China in order to counter what he said was damage to his company from illegal dumping. In October 2020, Davis hosted a $100,000-a-person fund-raiser for trump at his Minnesota home.

Trump Media, has a grand total of 36 employees. After Trump Media went public, its board members and employees raked in the cash while the lowly MAGA followers bleed.

Devin Nunes, Trump Media’s chief executive and president, received 115,000 shares, worth about $4.3 million. He was paid a $750,000 salary last year that increased to $1 million this year. Nunes, a former Republican congressman from California, also will receive a $600,000 lump-sum “retention bonus” this month.

When he was president, trump awarded Nunes the Presidential Medal of Freedom on January 4, 2021, along with another major MAGA, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. A press release said Nunes helped “thwart a plot to take down a sitting United States president,” referring to Nunes’ work to discredit the allegations which lead to trump’s first impeachment.

Board member Eric Swider, who was chief executive of the special purpose acquisition company that merged with Trump Media, and Renatus, his consulting firm in Puerto Rico, received about 153,000 shares as part of the merger deal, a stake worth $5.7 million.

Another board member, Kash Patel, a former Nunes aide who served on trump’s National Security Council, was paid $130,000 last year as part of a consulting agreement with his company, Trishul. In 2022, Patel created the non-profit, “Fight With Kash,” to bring “America First patriots” together to “ fight the Deep State.” Patel supported various conspiracy theories related to the January 6 Capitol attack and the validity of the 2020 election.

The other four board members include trump’s former trade representative Robert E. Lighthizer; trump’s former Small Business Administration leader Linda McMahon; Louisiana attorney W. Kyle Green; and trump’s son Donald Jr.. The four were not paid last year but an SEC filing notes that board members could be given “stock as non-cash compensation … from time to time.”

Former board member, Dan Scavino Jr. is a longtime trump aide who led the White House’s social media operation and is now advising trump’s presidential campaign. Scavino was paid $240,000 last year through a consulting agreement with his company, Hudson Digital. Scavino will also receive a $600,000 retention bonus this month. Trump Media also issued a $2.2 million “executive promissory note” to Scavino. Promissory notes were automatically converted on the day of the merger into stock.

Trump Media’s chief financial officer, Phillip Juhan, received 490,000 shares, worth $18.2 million. He was paid $337,500 last year, and his salary jumped to $365,000 when the merger closed.

Chief operating officer Andrew Northwall received 20,000 shares, worth $743,000. He was paid $365,000 last year. Previously he worked at Parler, the social network that was popular among pro-Trump rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Juhan and Northwall also will receive $600,000 retention bonuses this month.

Other executives will receive a total of $1.24 million in bonuses. They include chief technology officer Vladimir Novachki, who also received 45,000 shares, worth $1.7 million, and general counsel Scott Glabe, who received 20,000 shares, worth $743,000. Glabe served as an associate White House counsel under trump.

Trump Media co-founders Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss met trump on the TV show “The Apprentice” and helped launch Trump Social in 2021. They received a combined 7.5 million shares through their partnership, United Atlantic Ventures, a stake worth about $279 million.

Arc Global Investments II, the biggest founding investor in Digital World Acquisition, said in a filing it received 13.3 million shares, worth about $494 million. A previous filing by Trump Media said Arc would receive 9.5 million shares.

Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the company that operates trump’s social media platform, was created through a merger of Digital World Acquisition and Trump Social. TMTG took a nearly 18 percent hit in value by Monday afternoon, with shares priced at just under $27. The latest subterranean drop is on top of nearly 20 percent in value last week alone.

The stock surged when Truth Social went public and shares were for sale on the Nasdaq in March. Trump hoped the decision to go public would prove a bonanza for him to pay his many growing legal expenses, penalties and to fund his campaign. Many gullible MAGA believers thought they were helping their leader when they bought the stock when it peaked at $70.90 a share when it went public last month. They are now watching helplessly as their investments slowly die.

The stock began its precipitous fall in late March after an SEC filing revealed the company as typical trump, showing losses of $58 million and just $4.1 million in revenue, about as much as the average McDonald’s franchise. The news spread and the price of shares tumbled by more than 21 percent in a single day, causing trump’s net worth to fall by $1 billion.

Anyone who bought Trump Media at the closing high of $66.22 on March 27 has lost more than half of their investment. Trump has not been immune as the former president’s stake was valued at $5.2 billion at the closing high for Trump Media’s stock price. Trump owns nearly 60 percent of the stock and as of Monday, the value of trump’s shares went down to about $2.1 billion, cutting trump’s net worth by $470 million. Trump cannot legally sell his 78.8 million shares until after a six-month waiting period since TMTG was created.

The market value of TMTG has plummeted by roughly $6 billion as a result of Monday’s downturn, leaving its current value at about $3.7 billion.

In an effort to stop the bleeding for trump and his cohorts, documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that Trump Media moved to issue millions of additional shares just before the stock cratered. The filing outlines a plan to offer more than 21.4 million shares, which can be obtained through warrants that allow holders to buy at a set price within a specific timeframe. The filing said Trump Media may receive “up to an aggregate of approximately $247.1 million from the exercise of the Warrants.”

The decision to open the floodgates for the sale of another 21.4 million shares would substantially devalue existing shareholders’ stakes including those owned by trump but it also means that millions of shares could be sold off at a set price to staunch even greater losses.

As of Monday, trump’s stock was worth about $2.9 billion. Through a cozy agreement, trump will get another 36 million shares if the share price stays above $17.50 for 20 days, which would raise his total stake to $4.2 billion.

It should come as no surprise that Trump Media is at the center of four ongoing lawsuits.

Arc and Digital World are involved in a legal dispute regarding how many shares Arc is owed. Arc is managed by Digital World’s former chief executive Patrick Orlando.

Trump Media and Digital World sued Arc and Orlando in Florida, claiming their “irrational and disturbing behavior” had “imposed massive costs” and caused “extensive reputational harm.” Arc sued Digital World, its chief executive and three board members in Delaware, saying they had worked to deprive Orlando of millions of shares.

Litinsky and Moss’s United Atlantic Ventures sued Trump Media in Delaware, saying trump had pushed a “last-minute stock grab” that would dilute their shares.

Trump Media sued Moss, Litinsky and Orlando in Florida, accusing the co-founders of mismanaging the company with a “toxic corporate culture” and seeking to force the forfeiture of their shares.

Digital World said it spent $19.6 million on “legal investigations” last year, mostly due to its $18 million settlement with the SEC. Trump Media also agreed last year to pay an unnamed law firm a $500,000 convertible note with a conversion price of $10 per share; the stake is worth $1.9 million today.