June 18, 2024

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Disgraced Nikola founder backs 'Diesel Brothers' star to board of directors

Disgraced Nikola founder backs 'Diesel Brothers' star to board of directors

(Bloomberg) — Disgraced Nikola founder Trevor Milton is seeking to appoint five candidates to the board of the large electric platform maker, including a reality TV show star who supports smoke-emitting diesel trucks.

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An entity controlled by Milton notified the company last month that it plans to nominate the slate at Nikola's 2024 annual shareholders meeting, according to a statement Friday. The nominees include Dave Sparks, one of the stars of “Diesel Brothers,” which aired for eight seasons on the Discovery Channel.

The unconventional list highlights Milton, the company's former CEO who was recently sentenced to prison for fraud and previously clashed with Nikola's current management. “Diesel Brothers” features modified vehicles that sparked pollution complaints and led to a fine for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

Representatives for Milton did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sparks did not respond to a similar request sent to a social media account.

Other members of the list include Cole Cannon, Derek Johnson, Hans Peterson and Paul Southam. Nikola “strongly opposes” the nominees, saying they “have no public company experience, bring no skills or experience to the board, and undoubtedly lack the depth of experience of Nikola's current board members.”

They also don't have experience with trucking infrastructure and zero-emission energy, the Phoenix-based company said.

The electric car maker plans to disclose its nominees to the eight-person board of directors when it files a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Milton resigned under a cloud from his position as Nikola's CEO in September 2020. In December 2023, he was ordered to spend four years behind bars after a jury found him guilty of securities fraud and wire fraud for misrepresenting key details about Nikola's product development. And technology. The former CEO was also ordered to pay a $1 million fine.

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Although he has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the company for several years, Milton remains one of Nikola's largest shareholders. Last year, he called for leadership changes, urging investors to reject company-backed proposals to re-elect directors and allow new shares to be issued.

Nikola shares fell less than 1% to about 70 cents as of 10:54 a.m. in New York.

–With assistance from Ed Ludlow and Anne Cronin.

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