Emails Show eBay Executives Figured They'd Tick Off Craigslist

Former eBay executive and Craigslist board member knew competing site a problem

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A former eBay executive admitted to authoring emails which revealed he knew that Craigslist wouldn't be happy about a competing online classifieds site from an investor.

    No one at eBay was surprised when Craigslist was not amused that the former company launched a competing online classifieds site, Kijiji.

    Emails revealed during the ongoing trial featuring competing lawsuits from eBay and Craigslist showed that former eBay executive Josh Silverman and eBay head counsel Brian Levey debating exactly how to break the news to Silverman's colleagues on Craigslist's board of directors.

    In fact, Silverman admitted that the announcement of Kijiji would likely lose them the board seat they bought along with a 28 percent stake in the company from a disgruntled former Craigslist investor.

    Silverman and Levey were also already worried that Craigslist would accuse them of stealing confidential business information, which is exactly what Craigslist has alleged in the countersuit it brought against eBay.

    "If we're going to compete, perhaps it's cleanest to have me be the board member since they'd have a much tougher time alleging that I'm using any confidential information to benefit our business," Levey wrote to Silverman in an email.

    Silverman replied "Right, that could be true. However I'd expect that we would lose our Board seat right away, no?"

    The original suit brought by eBay accuses Craigslist co-founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster of manipulating shares in order to dilute eBay's stake and therefore force them off the board of directors.

    How much of this skullduggery was known to former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is not clear, but that didn't stop rival candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, from having his campaign forward NBC Bay Area a report on the trial proceedings.

    The revelations of the trial may point to one of the reasons that wealthy candidates have fared so poorly in statewide elections -- in order to amass the kind of money that Whitman, or Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, have managed to do, mistakes -- and enemies -- are often made.

    Not to mention the fact that being wealthy enough to splurge on expensive campaigns at a time when a record number of Californians are having trouble making ends meet does not exactly a populist make.

    Jackson West can't wait to hear what Newmark and Buckmaster, expected to take the stand today, have to say for themselves.