Tinder co-founder Sean Rad — who’s suing Barry Diller’s media empire for a staggering $2 billion, claiming it duped him astir the wildly palmy hookup app’s worth — paid $2 cardinal to a cardinal witnesser up of his testimony, according to tribunal documents.
The witness, Tinder’s ex-vice president of concern James Kim, was besides offered an further $1 cardinal if the tribunal rules against Diller’s companies, according to tribunal filings.
Kim is expected to archer the assemblage successful a high-stakes New York proceedings kicking disconnected Monday that helium was pressured by higher-ups astatine Diller’s media conglomerate IAC, proprietor of the Match Group dating-app empire, into underselling Tinder’s fiscal prospects during conversations with concern bankers arsenic Match prepped its 2017 Tinder takeover.
Rad and different Tinder co-founders assertion the bankers dramatically undervalued Tinder astatine $3 cardinal erstwhile it should’ve been worthy acold much — allowing Diller’s companies to cheat Rad and others retired billions erstwhile the app was absorbed into Diller’s conglomerate. They are seeking $2 cardinal successful damages.
A justice has recovered that the payments to Kim are ineligible — but Diller’s companies, Match Group and IAC, are nevertheless expected to usage them to formed uncertainty connected Kim’s credibility arsenic a witnesser erstwhile the proceedings opens connected Monday, a root adjacent to the concern said.
“We’re astir to spell person a assemblage proceedings successful which you person a concern wherever a witnesser has already been paid millions of dollars,” said Stephen DiPrima, an lawyer for Match, during a precocious October hearing. “He’s been promised a cardinal more.”
Partially-redacted documents made nationalist arsenic portion of find look to amusement Kim negotiating the payments with Rad’s attorneys.
“Can you spell backmost to Sean and the investors to spot if they would beryllium unfastened to [redacted] up beforehand and connected the backend (vs [redacted] up beforehand and [redacted] connected backend)?” Kim wrote successful a 2018 email to a lawyer astatine Gibson Dunn, a instrumentality steadfast representing Rad.
Kim was yet paid $2 cardinal successful May 2019 and promised an further $1 cardinal if the lawsuit goes Rad’s way, according to DiPrima. The alleged dollar amounts, which had been redacted successful erstwhile grounds but were revealed successful a non-redacted mentation of DiPrima’s grounds successful a proceeding connected Oct. 27, person not been antecedently reported.
“Thank you for the payment,” Kim wrote successful a May 2019 email to a litigation backing steadfast moving with Rad soon aft allegedly being fixed the $2 million. “I look guardant to continuing to enactment with everyone and enactment towards a palmy outcome.”
Kim was primitively 1 of the plaintiffs connected Rad’s suit against Tinder but was forced to retreat successful 2018 owed to an arbitration statement helium had signed successful his Tinder contract.
Attorneys for Rad person argued that the payments to Kim were lone made to marque up for mislaid wage and banal options that were stripped distant erstwhile Kim was fired from the institution successful 2018. And the $2 cardinal outgo is worthy acold little than the $4.2 cardinal worthy of banal options that Match took distant from Kim, attorneys for some Rad and Match person said.
Joel Cohen, the justice proceeding the lawsuit successful New York authorities Supreme Court, has recovered that the $2 cardinal outgo is not illegal, saying that it ”approaches the enactment betwixt morganatic litigation backing and illegitimate outgo of witnesses, [but] it does not transverse it.”
Judge Cohen has declined to propulsion retired the suit oregon artifact Kim from testifying. Nonetheless, helium is allowing accusation astir the payments to beryllium presented to the assemblage and has asked Rad’s attorneys to nutrient much details astir correspondence betwixt Kim and Rad’s campy up of Monday’s opening.
The outgo to Kim volition apt service arsenic ammunition successful a broader warfare implicit witnesser credibility that Susquehanna litigation expert Thomas Claps expects to play retired during the trial.
“There volition beryllium grounds introduced by some sides that could rise definite eyebrows successful the assemblage box,” Claps told The Post. “In cases similar this, wherever precocious illustration witnesses are expected to instrumentality the basal for some sides, credibility becomes paramount. Both sides volition effort to present imaginable ‘smoking gun’ documents and allegations of firm and idiosyncratic wrongdoing.”
Claps predicts the Match and Rad volition settee the suit for betwixt $300 cardinal and $700 cardinal alternatively than duke it retired to the extremity of the proceedings — an thought that Match spokesperson Justine Sacco antecedently said is “clearly speculative” but has not ruled out.
In what could awesome a program to combat the lawsuit to its bitter end, Match precocious hired Bill Carmody, a high-powered proceedings lawyer who antecedently represented Uber successful a tribunal spat with Google-backed self-driving car institution Waymo and helped WeWork laminitis Adam Neumann unafraid a $480 cardinal colony from SoftBank.
Carmody volition present Match and IAC’s opening remarks connected Monday, a root adjacent to the companies said.
Spokespeople for Match and Rad declined to comment.