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thegreenspuncorp.com

Investments

13

Portfolio Exits

1

About Greenspun Corporation

The Greenspun Corp. is a privately owned company that manages and oversees the financial interests of the Greenspun Family of Companies. Headquartered in Henderson, Nev., TGC holds a strong regional presence in real estate, media, communications, travel and tourism, gaming and technology. Wel lpositionedto sustain a competitive advantage, TGC has partnered with shareholders, associates and the community to build an innovative portfolio of market leaders including American Nevada Company, SkyMall, travel websites VEGAS.com and LasVegas.com, various gaming partnerships, as well as the Greenspun Media Group whose primary businesses include weekly newspapers and magazine publications.

Headquarters Location

901 North Green Valley Parkway

Henderson, Nevada, 89074-7105,

United States

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Latest Greenspun Corporation News

These alleged TikTok scammers are targeting Black influencers

Dec 7, 2022

Comments rolled in: “This is disgusting. I cannot even believe the levels to this,” wrote author Danielle Prescod. “Influencer lawyer here. This absolutely infuriates me,” added attorney Merlyne Jean-Louis. As her follow-up videos went live, the story began posing more questions than answers. How did this so-called agency dupe so many influencers—and major brands? And was this the same Josh Popkin who dumped a tub of milk and cereal on the New York City subway in 2020? Ojekunle has been an influencer for a decade, starting in fashion but pivoting to beauty when she noticed a gap in the market—“You know the name to go to if you’re looking for a Black influencer who does skincare,” she says. “It’s Specs & Blazers.” She has three assistants to help edit and organize her various platforms, but she doesn’t retain an agent, manager, or publicist. In September 2021, Ojekunle landed a social media campaign for Naomi Osaka’s inclusive skincare line Kinlò via a PR agency she hadn’t worked with previously, but everything seemed standard. “I was so honored, because she’s a young Black girl, she has accomplished so much. I wanted to be associated with her,” Ojekunle tells Fast Company. “And the money was good: $5,000, I think. Kinlò ran it as a national ad, and that was it. It was a one-time thing.” Kinlò Skincare declined to comment for this story. Afterward, a fellow influencer contacted Ojekunle asking about her experience as a client with the Carter Agency. “A young girl named April reached out and said, ‘Ben wants to sign me and says he’s your manager, and clearly you’re killing it in the game,’” she recalls. “I said ‘What? I don’t have a manager.’” Ojekunle contacted the Carter Agency, speaking to someone who introduced himself as Ben Carter. She now believes she was speaking to Joshua Popkin who, according to public records, registered the Carter Agency as an LLC in California in 2021, designating a principal mailing address in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania at the previous home of the cereal spiller by the same name. He claimed to have secured her the Kinlò Skincare deal, and said he represented “a lot of celebrities.” She believed him—and agreed to a no-contract, no-strings, commission-based working relationship. “What’s the worst that could happen?” she says. “I make a few extra thousand dollars a month?” Initially, the Carter Agency brought Ojekunle a lucrative Melē Skincare campaign. But the deals started shrinking, with the agency claiming brands were offering her around $500 in compensation per partnership—a mere fraction of the industry standard for a following of her size. “I have this standing in the industry, and I think it’s because I’m so passionate because Black women get paid so much less than our white counterparts,” says Ojekunle. “When I sign contracts with brands, I always say, ‘What are you paying your highest white influencer? Match me there.’” Not long after, she met up with someone claiming to be Carter. He looked a lot like Joshua Popkin. “The person who talked on the phone was very New Yorker, very aggressive, and the person who showed up was so meek and quiet,” she says, adding that he only seemed interested in getting ahold of her contacts. “All the conversation was about was, ‘Can I get that Spotify email? Can I get that Nike email?’ Something just told me to not do it.” He continued to pressure her after the meeting, but the tone shifted. “Fifteen minutes [after leaving the meeting], I got a text from the same person I just had dinner with: We need that Spotify and Nike email,’” Ojekunle recalls. “That’s when I unraveled it in my head, like, something’s not right.’” Disappointed with the lowball offers and Carter’s demeanor, on August 15, Ojekunle sent a text, ending their association. Though he responded cordially, she says things became strange. Offers kept coming in, but for far lower than her usual rates. “I kept getting emails for $300, $400,” she says. “Fast forward to November, I get this email from Jesse Greenspun, who says he’s PR for Naturium.” Greenspun’s email came from Malibu Marketing Group, an LLC registered in the state of California in February 2022 by Joshua Popkin. Ojekunle was thrilled to be approached by the skincare line, founded by fellow content creator Susan Yara. “I want to have my own skincare line one day, and I’m just so proud to see her go from doing YouTube to doing skincare,” says Ojekunle. At $1,500, the fee was a quarter of her going rate, but she agreed to a post because of her admiration for the brand. Things went smoothly until Greenspun asked Ojekunle to share her post on Instagram Reels. She declined, informing him that she quit the platform. “He got really mad. When he was arguing with me, I heard Ben Carter in my head. This person knows me, this argument is too personal.” Ojekunle reached out to Yara directly to report her agency’s behavior—but it turns out Greenspun wasn’t her employee at all. “She says, ‘I don’t know a Jesse Greenspun,’” says Ojekunle. “She goes, one of my girls says she spoke to your manager, who referred him to Greenspun. I said ‘I don’t have a manager.’ So she gets the manager’s name: ‘Your manager, Ben Carter.’” On November 4, Ojekunle went public with her experience on TikTok . Her first video amassed more than 120,000 views. She alleges that the Carter Agency pocketed nearly $22,000 from her on one platform alone. In a follow-up, she notes that Popkin was a prank TikToker known as Fckjoshy, who dumped a huge bin of cereal and milk in the New York City subway in 2020. “A new low: Pulling a prank on essential workers in the middle of a global pandemic,” the MTA tweeted at the time. “And making essential workers clean up your mess. Despicable.” A new low: Pulling a prank on essential workers in the middle of a global pandemic. And making essential workers clean up your mess. Despicable. https://t.co/hMu8g5cJY9 “Niké was under the impression that he would be taking 20 percent in deals he got for [her]. But what we’re discovering is that he’s negotiating with these companies, probably saying things like, ‘I have this Black influencer, you’ve got to pay her triple the amount,’” says Jessy Grossman, founder of the membership-based networking group Women in Influencer Marketing . “And the scam is that he would pocket 80 percent of that, and not disclose to the influencer how much the deal was actually worth.” In Grossman’s opinion, the stolen sums are “the core of the actual scam.” Crystal Scruggs , a Houston-based lifestyle influencer who worked with the Carter Agency on a trial basis earlier this year, had a similar experience. Someone named Ben Popkin first contacted her on August 15, the same date Ojekunle severed ties. Scruggs agreed to a three month trial period, in hopes that the agency could help boost her income ahead of the holidays. She was assigned someone named Eric Fishbein as her account manager; she now believes Eric and Ben are the same person. “He brought me one big brand, Olay,” Scruggs tells Fast Company. However, she notes, “I pitched Olay myself, maybe a week before they reached out to Carter Agency.” She says everything seemed standard until a major red flag in the contract process. “They sent me a contract for $4,500,” she says. But “the agency that represented Olay copied me on the contract that they sent the Carter Agency. I don’t know if they were going to forge my information, but [Olay’s agency] just happened to copy me on the email, and it was for a totally different price.” Scruggs asked Fishbein about the disparity. He claimed the larger fee she’d seen was a bulk rate for all of the agency’s influencers involved. Like Ojekunle’s experience, subsequent offers Scruggs received from the Carter Agency were much lower, so she circumvented Fishbein and contacted clients directly. “They ended up giving me the deal—and it wasn’t for $300 or $400,” she says. When the Specs & Blazers TikToks hit, Scruggs was still signed. Fishbein told her not to worry, and asked if she wanted to re-up her contract, but she still hadn’t been paid for the Olay deal. Scruggs reached out to Fishbein to check on payment, but he told her he had been let go from the company. Eventually he stopped answering her calls. She contacted Olay’s agency, and they paid her directly. “Turns out there was more than one creator on the contract, but we were both supposed to be paid $6,000,” says Scruggs. In a statement to Fast Company, Nicole Draznik, communications director at Olay Skincare says: “Partnerships with content creators are of the utmost importance to Olay and we greatly value their work and contributions to the beauty industry. Crystal will receive her full compensation for projects completed with Olay and we are no longer working with the influencer agency.” After Ojekunle, other creators also began to go public, including Tampa-based Stephen Alexander, who recently posted about his experience as one of the Carter Agency’s first clients. For Alexander, red flags showed up early on. One deal stands out in particular: when the Carter Agency brought him a $700 offer to promote the social app Tiya; Alexander had roughly 2 million followers at the time. “I checked my email and noticed the brand also sent me the offer—and it was for about $2,500,” Alexander tells Fast Company. “So I only got 28 percent of the total amount.” Popkin also demanded that any money Alexander made had to be funneled through the Carter Agency. “He wasn’t paying me enough to pay my bills,” Alexander says. After one disagreement, he says Popkin became particularly enraged. “He says, ‘You’re going to be audited in three years. You’re going to have to pay for all the damages.’ And I was like, ‘Damages? Nothing happened here. '” He says, at one point, Popkin demanded he return every dollar earned through agency deals—”He was trying to take 100 percent of my money,” Alexander says. Alexander created the account @carteragency , where he published videos to warn off fellow creators. He tells Fast Company his contract included a strange clause that forces auto-renewal after surpassing an income threshold—”There was no cancellation, there was no way out,” he says. “It was extremely low, so basically anyone is going to hit that.” Because of the Carter Agency’s reputation, the talent they claimed to represent have likely lost out on thousands of dollars in income. In messages shared by Ojekunle, publicists revealed they sometimes declined to work with her because they believed they would have to deal with the Carter Agency. “Whenever I would see that [Josh] was representing a creator I would just cut them from the list,” says Lena Katz, a campaign execution specialist and strategist, who has had previous interactions with the Carter Agency. “A couple of his creators’ names wound up on request lists from my clients, and I had no background on him.” She reached out like she would to any other manager: “I said I have a potential opportunity coming up for X creator, this is the budget we have—which I think was about $8,000—if you can meet within this ballpark I can make you a firm offer today. I didn’t send a contract, I didn’t send a firm offer.” From there, things became less straightforward. Popkin replied, demanding a $25,000 fee, which she declined. “Within an hour or two, I started getting urgent emails, calls, and texts from Josh and Ben,” says Katz. “They started lowering and lowering, but it still was not anywhere near what I was able to offer. And I had already given it to someone else.” But they didn’t relent. “[Josh] kept repeating, ‘This is bad business, you made me a promise, you sent me a contract.’ Very shortly thereafter, I got an email from my supervisor telling me that Josh had emailed her saying all those things—that I had sent him a contract for a creator at a certain price and then reneged on it, and was breaking my promises, disrespecting his creators.” Although the complaint against her didn’t go anywhere, the interaction was enough to convince Katz to block their calls and avoid the Carter Agency altogether. Since publishing the exposé on TikTok, Ojekunle has connected with Grossman, who has used her platform to identify and interview other creators who have been affected, as well as speak to the real Benjamin Carter, Popkin’s former manager at Canadian agency Dulcedo. Grossman has also looked further into Malibu Marketing Group, which, as it turns out, circulated a robust client list, featuring many people who had never even heard of them . “One of the components [of Women in Influencer Marketing] is a private Facebook group where people look for advice, etc. We have posts going back to February saying, ‘Has anyone else worked with The Carter Agency? I never want to call out managers but this is getting ridiculous,’” Grossman tells Fast Company. Since Ojekunle’s first TikTok exposing the Carter Agency, the Popkins have kept a low profile. Following her TikTok revelations, the agency shared a letter with remaining clients claiming that it was they who chose to drop Ojekunle. But, as she says, “I have receipts for days.” The real Benjamin Carter, who has been inadvertently caught up in the scandal (in name only) has been outspoken in his support of Ojekunle and those affected. In a statement to Fast Company, Carter says: “I want to unequivocally state that Dulcedo, myself, our company ownership, our subsidiaries, talents, clients, and employees bear absolutely no affiliation with Carter Agency LLC or Joshua and Ben Popkin or any of their various aliases. “Dulcedo previously represented Joshua as an influencer talent for a short period of time before severing ties with him completely back in 2020. I cannot speculate as to why my family name was used for the name of his company. Dulcedo and myself are strongly committed to credibility, ethics, and an honorable commitment to our talents and clients. We do not condone any of the alleged wrongdoings and misconduct that took place by the Popkins.” One influencer formerly on the Carter Agency’s roster tells Fast Company that legal action is being pursued, with as many as 13 former clients potentially participating. As for Ojekunle, she simply wants justice. “I don’t care about the money anymore, I just want this man in prison.” Joshua and Ben Popkin did not respond to a request for comment. Be in the Know. Subscribe to Fast Company Newsletters. SUBMIT

Greenspun Corporation Investments

13 Investments

Greenspun Corporation has made 13 investments. Their latest investment was in Mochila as part of their Series E on December 12, 2010.

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Greenspun Corporation Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

12/16/2010

Series E

Mochila

No

12/14/2009

Series D

Mochila

$1M

No

10/9/2009

Unattributed VC - II

Telesphere Networks

$11.5M

No

5/19/2009

Unattributed

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$99M

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0

1/13/2009

Series C

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$99M

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0

Date

12/16/2010

12/14/2009

10/9/2009

5/19/2009

1/13/2009

Round

Series E

Series D

Unattributed VC - II

Unattributed

Series C

Company

Mochila

Mochila

Telesphere Networks

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Amount

$1M

$11.5M

$99M

$99M

New?

No

No

No

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Co-Investors

Sources

0

0

Greenspun Corporation Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

Greenspun Corporation has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Telesphere Networks on November 07, 2014.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

11/7/2014

Acquired

$99M

1

Date

11/7/2014

Exit

Acquired

Companies

Valuation

$99M

Acquirer

Sources

1

Greenspun Corporation Team

2 Team Members

Greenspun Corporation has 2 team members, including , .

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Hank Greenspun

Founder

Current

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Name

Hank Greenspun

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Work History

Title

Founder

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Status

Current

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