WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has made millions in deals leasing properties to the company, and that’s making some investors uncomfortable, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Neumann’s position as a part-owner of properties was reported in March 2018 by The Real Deal, which said the company initially didn’t expect to act as a landlord. But eventually its strategy changed and began to acquire its own real estate.
Among other things, the Journal listed the names of properties Newmann was involved in and some of the sums involved. The report notes a 2018 bond prospectus for the privately yeld company disclosed the company paid more than $12 million in rent at buildings “partially owned by officers.” Future lease payments were expected to top $110 million.
The report also says that a number of investors were concerned by the arrangements because they present a potential conflict of interest. Such arrangements are considered unusual in corporate governance because executives could act in their own interest over that of the company.
In January, WeWork closed on a $6 billion investment from SoftBank: $5 billion for growth and $1 billion to repurchase shares from investors and employees.
According information WeWork provided Fortune, the majority of the board is independent, all transactions were approved, and investors have not raised any issues. A company statement said, “WeWork has a review process in place for related party transactions. Those transactions are reviewed and approved by the board, and they are disclosed to investors.”
Additionally, WeWork said the review process is performed by the audit committee of the company’s board.
The company did not reveal how the review process works.
Neumann has more than 65% of share votes, according to the Journal, which gives him control over the company.