Monday morning, I had a bizarre conversation with Ed Krassenstein, who confirmed that the website founded by he, his brother Brian, and former Business Insider employee James Kosur does not pay out revenue to the three co-founders, but rather donates it to “charities.”
“Hill Reporter makes money,” Krassenstein said. “We’ve just reinvested or donated every dollar thus far.”
That seems like a noble endeavor, but Krassenstein refused to confirm which “charities” have been the beneficiaries of the website’s altruism. He said he’d have to contact Kosur before releasing the information. The conversation ended mid-morning on Monday, and Krassenstein has still not returned with a response.
“I finance Hill Reporter,” Krassenstein said. “Along with James Kosur and Brian Krassenstein. Right now we don’t get a paycheck for anything we do on Twitter or Hill Reporter.”
That admission raised another interesting question: How exactly do the Krassensteins make money?
“We’ve sold the vast majority of our businesses over the past 5 years and are living off of interest right now,” he said.
He told me it was “none of [my] business,” when I asked which businesses he had sold, but later provided further information.
“I’ve run dozens of websites over the past 20 years, and have sold several of them for large sums of money,” he said.
When asked which websites specifically, he pointed to one – 3dprint.com. The rest of the “dozens of websites” which the Krassensteins have apparently sold and from which they have accrued wealth are apparently confidential, “because they were private businesses sold to a private party,” according to Krassenstein.
A few months ago, a video clip was released online showing Brian Krassenstein claiming that the brothers were paid to Tweet. That clip, purportedly a promotion for the “KrassenCast,” the brothers’ new cringeworthy podcast show, was edited down, and did not show Brian saying that he was “just kidding” about being paid to Tweet. Ed, who filmed the clip, said Monday that it was leaked accidentally, but that he did not know how. He said he had emailed it, and posted it in a Slack channel, both of which could have plausibly been hacked. Either way, it caused a media storm. Several right-wing news websites reported that Brian had admitted to being paid to Tweet.
Big League Politics specifically asked Brian about the context of the video before we published a story on it. At the time, Brian refused to clarify the context. He ignored our question completely. Instead, he received a good deal of press from left-wing rags, bashing right wing media for what he deemed to be irresponsible reporting.
When asked why Brian refused to clarify the context of the video at the time, which would have quashed the false rumor that they were paid to Tweet before it was spread throughout the media, Ed said that it was “because we were trying to figure out how it was leaked at the time,” and that at the time they “were bombarded with questions.”
The brothers rose to prominence by responding to nearly every Tweet by President Donald J. Trump, which they still do. They have significant Twitter followings.
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