A billionaire Google co-founder set up a website to badmouth his estranged wife after dumping her and tried to carry out "domestic terrorism" on her. And he did all this to avoid splitting billions of dollars in assets with his wife. Scott Hassan, 51, who wrote much of the original code that powers the search giant, is even allegedly treated his children unfairly.
Hassan and his ex-wife Allison Huynh have been embroiled in a nasty divorce battle that has raged for seven years and involves millions of dollars but Hassan is in no mood to split anything.
As Bitter as It Can Get
The bitter divorce battle between Hassan and Huynh started in 2014 after a 13-year marriage. Hassan sent a text to his wife saying that he wanted a divorce. Since then they have been in a nasty battle over how to split the billions of dollars in assets.
Huynh, a Vietnam immigrant and a senior research fellow at Stanford University's Robotics Laboratory, is seeking half of the couple's assets but Hassan is in no mood to agree to that. Huynh claims that she is legally entitled to that money but her ex-husband is illegally holding on to it.
According to the Daily Mail, to her lawyer Pierce O'Donnell said that the assets were valued at $1.8 billion in 2018, which included investments in technology companies and real estate. "His court position is that she gets nothing: Zero, zip, nada. Every settlement conference, he's reduced his offer. I haven't seen that in my 45-year-long career. He's trying to pull off the ultimate dirty trick on his wife and three teenage children," O'Donnell said.
"In my experience it's the longest running court case in California history," said O'Donnell, who has been practicing for 50 years.
Hassan, however, told New York Post that the claims made by Huynh that he doesn't want to give his wife or children anything is "not accurate."
Mud Slinging Game
The divorce settlement proceeding are scheduled to start on Monday in San Jose, California, but more than splitting the assets, Hassan is embroiled in a controversy that was about badmouthing his wife through an online endeavor.
A genius in robotics, Hassan has admitted to launching the site AllisonHuynh.com earlier this year, seeding it with links to positive articles written about his ex-wife â but also links to court documents from three embarrassing lawsuits that involve her. The mud-slinging game was started by Hassan to show his ex-wife in a bad light, which could have changed the course of the court case.
Huynh didn't know about it for long and became aware of the website only on August 5. She reported it to her lawyers, but when their tech department couldn't definitively determine who created it, she used her own tech savvy to crack the code.
"She's the one who figured out it was Scott," her lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, told DailyMail.com. "They call him the computer genius of Silicon Valley. He didn't count on his wife â his wife â figuring him out. So this super genius who co-founded Google... was outed by his wife who's got her own computer chops. For me, it's a delicious story, and it's true."
"Scott was trying to bully me into dropping my [fight for assets] and accepting a pittance," Huynh told the New York Post.
Hassan too admitted doing this. "I did, but I have taken it down. It came together in a moment of frustration, when I felt Allison and her attorney were telling one-sided stories to the press. I thought aggregating publicly available information without commenting or editorializing would help ... It only ended up making our dispute more public and tense, which was never what I intended."
Understandably, the website was launched with the idea of tarnishing Huynh's image. The documents posted on the website are about sexual allegations related to Huynh's wrongful termination suit against her former employer Samuel Ockman and Penguin Computing in 2000. They claim that Huynh threatened to "kill [Ockman] and then herself" if he ever left her and "kept track of when Ockman was out with a new girlfriend," according to the cross complaint filed by Ockman and his attorney in response to Huynh's suit.
With Hassan exposed now, it now needs to be seen what course the case takes after seven years. The two were believed to be a happy couple for years till Hassan wanted a divorce. The exact reason behind this is still unknown.
When Hassan met Huynh in 2000, he was already a star programmer â famous for having helped build the search engine that billions of people use every day. And he was always a great businessman.
Characterized as a high-tech Dr. Dolittle who can talk to computers, Hassan was never an employee of Google but his remarkable early contributions mean he is known as the company's unofficial third founder, along with Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Before he and Huynh wed in 2001, he obtained the right to cheaply purchase shares in the company, which, today, would be worth billions of dollars.
According to court documents, for his coding â which Hassan told the New York Post, "we wrote in three months" â he was given the opportunity to buy 160,000 shares of not-yet valuable Google stock for $800. And this has now ballooned into billions for which the two are fighting now.