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Whistleblowers Allege Fraudulent Practices at The Knot

‘Troubling practices’ are alleged to have occurred both before and after its 2018 sale to private equity firms.

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Whistleblowers have levied allegations of fraudulent practices at wedding planning site The Knot, Forbes reports.

Among the accusations are that the company quietly altered advertising agreements with partners such as David’s Bridal and Macy’s when it had trouble delivering on ad inventory it promised, according to the report. “Troubling practices” are alleged to have occurred in various parts of the company both before and after its 2018 sale from XO Group to private equity firms Permira and Spectrum.

Forbes based its report on “government filings, public records and internal company materials; reviews of hours of audio recordings and a trove of text messages; and conversations with two dozen current and former Knot employees, advertisers and vendors, and legal and business experts.”

Former employee Jennifer Davidson, one of the whistleblowers, said ads sometimes failed to appear on the company’s website due to technical problems.

Another former employee told Forbes that staffers reported being told to falsify certain advertising numbers. Similar ethically problematic practices reportedly happened in a variety areas of The Knot, such as design and engineering, according to Forbes.

Tim Chi, CEO of The Knot Worldwide, told the business news outler: “We take these allegations extremely seriously and do not tolerate fraudulent practices, misconduct, or retaliatory behavior of any kind.”

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He added: “The claims made by former XO Group employees were extensively investigated in 2017 by both internal and external counsel. All claims of widespread misconduct were unsubstantiated.”

A spokeswoman for The Knot told Forbes that the U.S. government in 2017 and 2018 conducted an investigation in response to the whistleblower claims. But the government did not take any enforcement action, and the investigation was closed, she said.

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