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Nikola Founder Bought Utah Ranch With ‘Worthless’ Options

  • Previous ranch owner says Milton misled him on company outlook
  • On cross-examination he admits to making $3.2 million on deal
Trevor Milton arrives at court in New York, on Sept. 12.

Trevor Milton arrives at court in New York, on Sept. 12.

Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg
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Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton’s hype about the electric truck startup’s prospects lulled a real estate investor into accepting millions of dollars in Nikola stock options as partial payment for a 4,600-acre ranch, he told the jury in Milton’s criminal fraud trial.  

The investor, Peter Hicks, testified on Wednesday that he was first contacted in March 2020 with an offer from Milton to pay $5 million in cash to buy the Wasatch Creeks Ranch, a sprawling Utah property 12 miles from Salt Lake City that features five miles of pristine fishing streams, which Hicks had bought earlier that month for $6.85 million.