Nikola (NKLA) founder Trevor Milton has found himself under more scrutiny as he has been accused of sexual assault by two women, who were 15-years-old at the time of the alleged acts, CNBC reported.

Milton, who resigned from hydrogen-electric truck maker Nikola in mid-September after a damaging report by Hindenburg Research claimed he defrauded investors, has denied the claims. Milton stepped down from his position as chairman shortly after the report was released, and an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice was initiated.

One of the women, Aubrey Ferrin Smith, a cousin to Milton, claimed on Twitter and Facebook that he groped her bare breast after a family funeral in Salt Lake City in 1999. She was 15 at the time, and he was 17-years-old. Ferrin Smith has now filed a formal complaint with the police in Holladay, Utah, where the alleged incident took place,

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A second woman has come forward with a sexual-assault allegation against Nikola Motors’ founder, Trevor Milton, CNBC reported on Monday.

The woman’s lawyer, Craig Johnson, told CNBC she was assaulted in 2004 when she was 15 and Milton would have been 22, after he hired her as an office assistant for a security company he ran in St. George, Utah.

“The allegation by my client is that he digitally penetrated her vagina with his fingers, which under Utah law constitutes object rape, and that is the charge the police will be investigating, in addition to forcible sexual abuse, which includes any ancillary touching of the vagina during the assault,” Johnson said, according to CNBC.

The first woman, Aubrey Ferrin Smith, who described herself as Milton’s cousin, came forward with a separate allegation on Twitter last week that he had groped her breasts when she was 15 and he was 18.

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Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton has voluntarily stepped down as executive chairman of the company’s board of directors, sending shares plunging to new lows.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
NKLA NIKOLA CORPORATION 28.51 +0.93 +3.37%

Milton will be replaced by board member and former General Motors Co. vice chairman Stephen Girsky, effective immediately.

“The focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me,” Milton said in a letter to employees. “I intend to defend myself against false allegations leveled against me by outside detractors.”

Milton’s resignation comes 10 days after short-seller Hidenberg Research accused Nikola of being an “intricate fraud” that mislead partners about its technology, causing both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice to launch investigations.

Nikola called the claims “false

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Former Nikola executive chairman Trevor Milton exited the company he founded with stock worth billions of dollars after his abrupt resignation on Monday amid allegations of fraud.

Under the terms of his separation agreement with electric vehicle manufacturer, Milton agreed to forfeit nearly 4.9 million in performance-based stock units worth roughly $166 million, as well as a two-year consulting deal with the company worth $10 million annually. The deal also allowed for the accelerated vesting of 600,000 restricted stock units Milton received last month.


Though no longer involved in Nikola’s leadership after the separation agreement, Milton remains the firm’s biggest individual shareholder, owning nearly a quarter of company shares. His stake in the company was worth roughly $2.7 billion as of Monday afternoon,

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(Bloomberg Opinion) — My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Michael R. Strain continues to believe in Milton Friedman’s doctrine and argues it has been misunderstood by critics. Read his column here.

In the summer of 1982, when I was 29, I was given a front-row seat as Milton Friedman’s famous dictum began to be put into practice.

I had recently joined the staff of Texas Monthly, where my first assignment was to profile a man I’d never heard of, T. Boone Pickens Jr., the founder and chief executive officer of Mesa Petroleum in Amarillo, Texas. My timing was spectacular: Pickens was secretly preparing his first hostile takeover attempt. Soon after I embarked on the story, his takeover bid became public, at which point he invited me to New York to sit in his hotel suite and watch him try to pull it off.

Not surprisingly, I became caught up in the excitement

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Liberals love to blame Milton Friedman for the misbehavior of American corporations.

Friedman, a free-market ideologue, published an essay 50 years ago this week in The Times Magazine in which he argued that corporations should not go beyond the letter of the law to combat discrimination or reduce pollution or maintain community institutions. Corporations, he said, have no social responsibilities except the sacred responsibility to make money.

The essay was a big hit with the executive class. Rich people were only too delighted to see selfishness portrayed as a principled stand. Friedman’s creed became the standard justification for corporate callousness. The Business Roundtable, a leading lobby for large companies, declared in 1997 that maximizing profit was the purpose of a corporation.

Critics have been fighting ever since to get corporations to acknowledge broader responsibilities.

It’s the wrong battle. Instead of redefining the role of the corporation, we need to redefine

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Milton Friedman wearing a suit and tie: Milton Friedman spearheaded shareholder primacy economics. Jon Hargest/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

© Jon Hargest/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Milton Friedman spearheaded shareholder primacy economics. Jon Hargest/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

  • In 1970, Milton Friedman wrote an influential essay in The New York Times Magazine declaring the primary purpose of a company is to maximize profits for its shareholders.
  • He disagreed that businesses had any responsibility to provide employment, eliminate discrimination, or avoid pollution, among other ‘catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers.’
  • From regular media appearances to advising President Ronald Reagan, Friedman’s influence cannot be understated. Waves of financial deregulation in the ‘70s and ‘80s followed his famous essay.
  • Today, amid rising inequality, massive fires in California, and calls for racial justice, Friedman’s theory of shareholder primacy seems more out of touch than ever before.
  • More Americans and business leaders are calling for a shift in mindset toward stakeholder capitalism, which dictates that companies are responsible to
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On September 13, 1970, the New York Times Magazine published an essay by the economist Milton Friedman titled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits.” It laid out what came to be known as the Friedman Doctrine — a call to arms for American free-market capitalism and arguably the most consequential economic idea, for better or worse, of the latter part of the 20th century.

Fifty years later, Mr. Friedman’s seminal essay continues to stoke debate among business leaders and policymakers — many of whom now seek to rebuke his view as leading to a generation of profiteering companies at the expense of society, exacerbating inequality.

Mr. Friedman was no mere economist; he was a kind of celebrity. He became a regular on the talk-show circuit. PBS even gave him a 10-part series. His economic theories still hold sway over large parts of corporate America — maybe

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