/Mark Zuckerbergs family office Weststreet faces misconduct allegations – Business Insider

Mark Zuckerbergs family office Weststreet faces misconduct allegations – Business Insider

  • Over the past three years, multiple personal aides to Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have been accused of serious misconduct by their colleagues.
  • One former staffer accused the manager of Zuckerberg’s Hawaii properties of assaulting her after a night of drinking, which led to a hospital visit and police investigation.
  • A Business Insider investigation into the Facebook CEO’s secretive family office has uncovered a workplace in crisis over the family’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment, racism, and transphobia.
  • Some workers say they have lost faith in the organization’s capacity to fairly investigate and resolve disputes. The turmoil offers a rare glimpse inside the ultrasecretive world of billionaire family offices.
  • A representative for Zuckerberg described Business Insider’s reporting as “a collection of unfounded rumors, exaggerations, and half-truths which unfairly malign several of our valued employees.”

KAUAI, Hawaii — One minute before midnight on December 29, 2017, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s personal staffers got a phone call. On the other end of line was Christina (not her real name), a 26-year-old assistant in the sprawling family office of Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Clearly panicked, she said she had been assaulted by a coworker while visiting the Facebook CEO’s ranch in Hawaii for a work event.

Christina sounded “frantic and terrified,” the colleague who received the call later told police, and they advised Christina to “lock the doors” before dispatching staff to help her.

A casual dinner among colleagues that evening at a midmarket restaurant on the Hawaiian island of Kauai had descended into a bitter, alcohol-fueled argument, an allegation of assault, a visible head injury, a late-night visit to the emergency room, and an immediate flight back to the mainland, where Christina was never to be seen at work again.

Christina’s alleged assailant was Shawn Smith, the Facebook founder’s key aide in Hawaii and the manager of his $100 million properties there. Smith has denied assaulting Christina, who later told police that she couldn’t remember exactly what happened to her that night. Smith was investigated on suspicion of misdemeanor assault but not charged.

The incident and its fall-out, however, sent shockwaves through the bustling network of personal aides, assistants, nannies, chefs, drivers, medics, and security guards who make up the Zuckerberg family’s personal staff. And while one might expect that a household of such astounding wealth would be an impeccably sober and professional environment, the assault claim was one of several allegations, from racism and transphobia to sexual harassment and physical assault, that have rocked the 35-year-old billionaire’s staff over the past three years.

A Business Insider investigation into the Chan-Zuckerberg family office has found a workplace in crisis. Police records and legal correspondence reviewed by Business Insider, as well as interviews with half a dozen people close to the family and the secretive firm that manages its affairs, describe a culture of distrust in which employees have lost faith in the organization’s concern for rank-and-file workers and question its capacity to adequately address serious workplace issues.

Any complex organization can expect occasional personnel problems. But the pervasive mistrust described by sources inside the Chan-Zuckerberg family office is unusual for an intensely private world that prizes discretion and professionalism. The sources describe a startling pattern of allegations of misconduct made against multiple personal aides to one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the world. 

None of those allegations have been tested in court or resulted in criminal charges, and each has been denied. But many workers believe that the family’s efforts to address the complaints have been furtive and peremptory and more concerned with maintaining the Chan-Zuckerbergs’ obsessive privacy and lavish lifestyle than operating a professional work environment.

The discord has involved workers taking steps including consulting lawyers, calling the police, and talking to reporters, all offering a rare window into the hidden world of the household staff of the ultrawealthy.

Sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about their experiences and feared retaliation. Business Insider is not using their real names because they claim to have been victims of misconduct.

In a statement, family-office spokesman Ben LaBolt defended the organization and questioned the motives of Business Insider’s sources. “We are proud of our team of professionals who work in the family office,” the statement reads. “Sadly, these anonymous allegations are a collection of unfounded rumors, exaggerations, and half-truths which unfairly malign several of our valued employees. We believe that these allegations have been advanced by a small group of disgruntled former employees who are attempting to defame the family office after the family office refused their demands for multi-million dollar payments following their separation of employment.” 

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Mark Zuckerberg’s sprawling, $100 million ranch in Kauai. (This drone photograph was provided by a source who asked to remain anonymous.)

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


How Mark Zuckerberg manages his household

Mark Zuckerberg is worth about $70 billion. He is, by Forbes’ estimation, the fifth-richest person alive today.

Managing the day-to-day needs and sprawling properties of ultra-high-net-worth families like the Chan-Zuckerbergs requires an operation far more sophisticated than a few nannies and executive assistants. Like many of their peers, Zuckerberg and Chan use a family office to organize their affairs.

Weststreet is the public-facing name that they have given to the nested warren of inter-related limited-liability companies that their family office comprises: Limitless Specialty Services LLC for security, Limitless Specialty Services Associates LLC for payroll, MPPR Associates LLC for housekeeping, and so on. Weststreet is entirely separate from Facebook, headquartered in an anonymous single-story 4,000-square-foot blue-gray office in Palo Alto.

It employs about 50 workers responsible for looking after the Chan-Zuckerberg children, keeping their various homes in good repair, and seeing to their personal security (paid for by the $20 million pot in annual protection and travel money that Facebook provides to Zuckerberg, over and above the legions of security directly supplied by the social media company).

Weststreet is run through Iconiq LLC, a secretive financial services firm that combines investment management for the ultra-wealthy with support for family office functions — a turn-key service designed to meet the financial and household needs of the suddenly wealthy.

Iconiq is headed by Divesh Makan, a former Goldman Sachs broker who met Zuckerberg in 2004, the same year Facebook was founded. Forbes has called Makan “the spider of Silicon Valley” in a nod to his vast web of connections and status as “consigliere to [the Valley’s] brightest billionaires.” Iconiq did not respond to a request for comment.

Zuckerberg was among the first to sign on with Iconiq, and its client list has since swelled to include a suite of senior Facebook executives, including COO Sheryl Sandberg, as well as notable business figures such as Jack Dorsey, Reid Hoffman, and, according to sources, News Corporation heir James Murdoch. (Murdoch’s team did not respond to a request for comment.)

While Iconiq invests its clients’ billions, Makan has said it is the more mundane services that sets his firm apart. He has described his approach to wealth management as that of a concierge: “It used to be about money management, but now this is a very small part of running a family office. People care a lot more about us running their life. They want us to look after them these days.” One venture capitalist told Forbes, “Divesh will tell clients everything but ‘I’ll pick up your laundry.'” 

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Weststreet is headquartered in an anonymous Palo Alto office unit.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


The Obama aide tapped to manage Zuckerberg’s kingdom

In early 2017, Weststreet hired Brian Mosteller as its managing director.

On paper, Mosteller was the ideal candidate to keep the machinery of Zuckerberg’s life quietly humming along. A lauded former aide from the Obama-era White House, Mosteller was described in a glowing profile in The Washington Post in 2016 as “the man who sweats the small stuff so that the president doesn’t have to.” In 2017, Mosteller and his husband Joe Mahshie were married in a ceremony officiated by then-Vice President Joe Biden at Biden’s home at the U.S. Naval Observatory. 

At Weststreet, Mosteller served as a buffer between employees and the Chan-Zuckerbergs, who rarely handled staff issues themselves. But his Washington, DC, sensibilities would soon clash with employees in Weststreet’s Palo Alto headquarters, who questioned his approach and his credentials to run a team of dozens of people. According to one source, Mosteller acknowledged to members of his staff that while Obama had served as a reference for him in the past, the former president declined to vouch for his managerial style.

That style, one source said, was to ignore problems until it was too late. “Brian swept everything under the rug, until it imploded,” the source said.

Mosteller did not respond to a request for comment.

Zuckerberg’s property empire, from Montana to Hawaii

Since dropping out of Harvard University in 2005 and moving across the country to build Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has amassed a growing property empire.

He has a 5,000-square foot home in Palo Alto, which he bought in 2011 for $7 million (as well as several surrounding houses that he bought for an additional $30 million over the next few years). There’s a 5,500-square foot townhouse in San Francisco, for which he paid $10 million in 2013. 

In 2018, he bought up two lakeshore properties at Lake Tahoe, California, for a combined $59 million. He has also quietly bought multiple properties at the elite Yellowstone Club ski resort in Montana, sources say. 

And then there’s Hawaii.

Everyone in tech from Marc Benioff to Paul Allen and Peter Thiel has acquired expansive estates on the island chain, and in 2014, Zuckerberg joined the club. He spent a reported $100 million on a vast, 700-acre ranch on the north-east corner of Kauai. 

It is an expansive property, with cows and horses grazing its pastures, a petting zoo for the family, and space for Zuckerberg to hunt feral pigs with bow and arrow. The public beach that runs along its northern edge is a popular spot with local nudists and basking endangered Hawaiian monk seals alike, while humpback whales breach off-shore and albatrosses wheel overhead.

The purchase has proved intensely controversial, sparking numerous clashes with locals.

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The public beach at the top of Zuckerberg’s property is a popular spot with nudists and endangered seals.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


The Facebook founder has found himself in multiple land disputes

Under Hawaiian law, ancestral claims to land can often result in the title to a given plot of land having dozens of potential claimants. In an attempt to consolidate his ownership over the property, Zuckerberg’s lawyers filed lawsuits — known as “quiet title” actions — that sought to establish sole ownership over his parcels and dispossess any indigenous Hawaiians of residual family interests they may have had in the ranch. The lawsuits prompted allegations of “neocolonialism.”

Zuckerberg subsequently backed down on the claims, though many on the island suspect that he continued to quietly bankroll a retired Hawaiian professor, Carlos Andrade, who continued legal proceedings in an attempt to secure control of some of the parcels. (An attorney for Andrade did not respond to a request for comment.)

Zuckerberg did not invent the “quiet title” land process, and he’s hardly the first billionaire to buy property on the paradisaical Pacific island. But his global name recognition turned local Hawaiian land disputes into international headlines, transforming him into a focal point for local activists’ and Hawaiian nationalists’ anger.

Locals also accuse Zuckerberg of erecting a six-foot wall along part of the ranch’s perimeter that blocks ocean breezes, and say his security team restricts access to the historic Ala Loa public trail that rings the island. (The exact path of the trail is disputed, and the family office spokesperson referred Business Insider to an interview in which one local trail expert said “the research that we did indicated that the trail was not along the coast but further [inland].”)

Randy Naukana Rego, a Fremont, California-born Hawaiian musician who lives in Kauai and has the right under state law to visit ancestral burial grounds on the Zuckerberg ranch, called the Facebook CEO “another rich guy who sues Hawaiian families and controls large amounts of land because he can.”

“He does more good than harm,” said a bartender at The Bistro, a restaurant and bar in the relaxed town of Kilauea, citing Zuckerberg’s donations to local charities and employment of local residents. “A lot of people like to bitch about rich people.” Zuckerberg went to The Bistro a few months after buying his Kauai property, he added, but was refused service because he didn’t have his ID and the bartender working at the time didn’t recognise him.

Mark Zuckerberg’s man on the ground in Hawaii, helping him navigate local sensitivities, is Shawn Smith.

A former police officer in his early 50s, Smith is well-known and well-connected throughout the island. Charming and good-looking, he serves as a combination of property manager, fixer, and public emissary for the family, representing the Chan-Zuckerberg family to the media on matters related to the ranch.

Smith worked for the Kauai Police Department from 1998 to 2003, and has remained an active member of the law enforcement community. Until 2015, he was vice president of the Kauai Police Activities League, a non-profit to fund athletics and recreational activities with police officers and local kids.

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Some locals in Kauai have complained about a 6-foot wall erected along part of the Zuckerberg ranch that they say blocks ocean breezes.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


A night of drinking ended in an assault allegation

In late December 2017, a group of colleagues from Weststreet in Kauai went out for dinner at The Bistro.

In attendance were Shawn Smith, Christina — a then-26-year-old Weststreet employee normally based in Palo Alto, California — and Jordan Fox, then Priscilla Chan’s executive assistant.

The exact details of what happened that night are murky, but a police report includes statements from Christina, Smith, and other involved parties. This much is not in dispute: After dinner, Christina and Smith returned to his home — a $3 million, four-bedroom house owned by Zuckerberg via an LLC managed by Iconiq — where she was staying at a guest house on the grounds.

The pair had drinks on the patio outside the guest house, which devolved into a furious argument about Smith’s children, and Christina then entered Smith’s house. Some time later, Christina called other household staffers, alleging that Smith had assaulted her, and had a visible lump on the back of her head. 

In the early hours of the morning, a colleague drove her to hospital — Wilcox Medical Centre, 20 miles away in Lihue, on the south-east of the island — where she was treated and spoke to a police officer about the incident.

The statement attributed to her in the police report is fairly brief. She had been having drinks with Smith around 10 p.m., she said, on the patio of the guest house. She had “3 or 4 alcoholic beverage [sic]. That is a decent amount for me to drink.” She and Smith were arguing about his children, she told police, and she “got up and walked into [his] house to tell his kids that [he] was mad.” 

At that point she “blacked out,” telling the officer she didn’t know what happened next. “When I woke up my head was throbbing and there was a lump. I felt about a 6 out of 10 in pain.” She then called a colleague for help.

In a statement to police, that colleague (the name is redacted in records obtained by Business Insider) said that Christina called shortly before midnight local time. “When she called she was frantic and terrified,” the colleague told police. “She told me she was attacked by [Smith] but did not tell me how.” 

The police report says that Smith — a former officer in the department investigating the assault allegation — voluntarily agreed to sit for an interview on January 3, five days after the incident. His account says that Christina drank “about [a] whole” bottle of wine at dinner, was “talking inappropriate stuff,” and was clearly intoxicated. “I’m thinking that I need to keep notes to myself and pay attention,” he said in his statement. “All I wanted to go is to get back home [sic].”

Despite his stated concerns about Christina’s inebriation, Smith told police that about 45 minutes after they returned to the property and went their separate ways, he texted her to ask if she wanted another glass of wine. 

According to Smith, the pair met on the patio outside the guest house and continued drinking. Smith said Christina told him that she had caught his son going through her underwear in the guest house. They argued, he said, and ultimately she ran into his house without his permission “screaming at the top of her lungs” and trying to tell Smith’s children that he was a “bad father.” 

Smith said Christina “shove[d]” him in the kitchen, then left the house, and that “at no point did I hit [Christina] in the back of the head. I never did put a hand on her.” 

The police report includes a statement from one of Smith’s sons, who said Christina was “obviously drunk” and “scream[ing] nonsense,” and that she pushed Smith before running out the house. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she fell or slipped on how intoxicated she was.”

According to the report, first Christina called a colleague, who appeared to be in Virginia at the time, to seek help. The colleague told her to “lock the doors” and dispatched a local Weststreet staffer to pick her up and “bring her to somewhere safe.” That staffer found her outside her cottage, “standing in the front hysterically.” They went back to the staffer’s residence, where another Weststreet colleague called paramedics. 

Christina spent much of the night in the emergency room. She never returned to the guest house. According to multiple sources, Priscilla Chan’s assistant Jordan Fox went to Smith’s to pack up Christina’s belongings. She was flown back to the mainland within hours.

No charges were ever filed. Police records indicate that the incident was investigated as a misdemeanor assault; the statute of limitations for such assaults passed two years later, in December 2019. When Business Insider asked the Kauai Police Department for records about the incident in December, the department initially denied the request with the notation, “criminal case still pending.” It released the records a few weeks later, after the two year mark had passed.

Reached for comment by phone, Smith declined to discuss the incident. “It was an allegement, just so you’re clear,” he said.

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Shawn Smith lives in a property provided by Zuckerberg close to the ranch, which has a guest house on its grounds.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


The aftermath of the incident

The incident reverberated through Weststreet, and managing its fallout was a key concern for the family office in the early months of 2018.

Munger, Tolles & Olsen, a law firm regularly used by the Chan-Zuckerbergs, was asked to investigate Christina’s allegations. Weststreet placed Smith on leave throughout January and part of February, though he remained in his home close to the ranch.

Meanwhile, some details of that night began to circulate among employees in both Hawaii and California. Some staffers were skeptical that it was adequately investigated by higher ups, and some questioned whether Christina had been pressured to change her story.

In Palo Alto, where Christina had been based, then-chief of security Liam Booth cast doubt on the allegations in conversations with some of his staff, according to one source. Another source said that after Christina left, several members of the household staff decided that “‘she was a pain in the ass anyway … [it] seemed perfectly fine to disparage her.”

LaBolt, the family office spokesperson, said: “The family office took the matter seriously and engaged the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson to conduct an independent investigation of how the injury was incurred. [Munger, Tolles & Olson] reviewed all available evidence and interviewed all available witnesses, including those who had contact with the employee before and after her injury. Based on this investigation, there was no basis to conclude that the injury was caused by a co-worker — neither Shawn Smith nor anyone else. Furthermore, it is our understanding that the police independently decided not to pursue this matter.” 

In February, Smith returned to his role at the family office. He continued to lead the team, though a small number of the employees he managed in Hawaii were moved under the management of Booth in Palo Alto, one person said.

“After that, alcohol at company events was strongly discouraged,” a source said.

Christina, meanwhile, never returned to work. Some employees at the family office believed she was paid a settlement. Her attorney, Edward Krauss of Silicon Valley Law Group, declined to comment. 

According to two sources, since the incident, Smith has engaged in a romantic relationship with someone who reports to one of his direct reports on the Hawaii team.

It is not clear whether Mark Zuckerberg or Priscilla Chan were ever made aware of Christina’s allegation against Smith. One source said that in investigations, “part of protecting the family [is that] they’re not told the details,” but they would be presented with recommendations at the end of an investigation.

The incident in Hawaii and its handling unsettled other employees at Weststreet — but it wasn’t the only allegation of professional misconduct made against a personal aide to Zuckerberg. Sources described other serious allegations, as well as multiple cultural and managerial clashes between leadership and staff that together eroded confidence in Weststreet and Iconiq’s human resources division.

“We have so much drama,” Smith said in his police statement, referring to an unrelated workplace argument, “because this is a high [energy] workplace.”

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The Bistro is a tasteful, mid-market restaurant and bar in Kilauea, Kauai with a focus on seafood.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Zuckerberg’s security chief has been a focal point of allegations

In early 2019, two former Weststreet staffers made allegations of serious misconduct against Liam Booth, the head of security for the family office and a former Secret Service agent who had worked in the Obama White House. 

Henry (not his real name), an estate director, and Rachel (not her real name), a security staffer, alleged that Booth had made homophobic and transphobic comments, engaged in sexual harassment, and made racist remarks about Chan. 

They also accused Mosteller of failing to act when they raised concerns about Booth’s conduct internally.

The two engaged the civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom to represent them. Business Insider obtained legal demand letters drawn up by the pair’s lawyers that detailed these allegations, and first reported on them in 2019. At a July 2018 event at the sushi restaurant Nobu, for example, Booth is alleged to have grabbed his own crotch and told Henry, who is gay, “I’ll feed you something raw.” Later at the event, the documents alleged that Booth slapped Henry’s crotch and groped his buttocks, asking, “Are you still hungry?” Booth was also accused of making other homophobic remarks and talking about the size of the Henry’s penis in front of other employees.

One of the documents also alleged that Booth made racist remarks to Henry about Chan’s driving ability, including that “she’s a woman and Asian, and Asians have no peripheral vision,” while pulling his eyelids to the side in a racist caricature. 

The letters also accused Booth of refusing to refer to a transgender staffer in the family office by the staffer’s preferred pronoun, instead repeatedly referring to the staffer as “it.”

Independent reporting by Business Insider has uncovered allegations similar to those made by Henry. One source told Business Insider they had heard Booth make “sexually inappropriate comments about female members on the team,” such as remarking that one female staffer was “miserable because no one would sleep with her.” The source also said they heard Booth mock Chan’s driving ability, saying that “Asians can’t drive.” Another source told Business Insider they had heard Booth saying that the nannies were bad drivers because they were women. 

Booth did not respond to a request for comment.

As with the Smith incident, Weststreet used Munger, Tolles & Olsen to investigate the allegations against Booth. A family spokesperson told Business Insider at the time that Booth had been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation, but two sources said that prior to that statement being issued, Booth was still working as normal.

In July 2019, the family office announced that the firm had found no evidence of wrongdoing, but that Booth was nonetheless leaving Weststreet to minimise “distractions.” 

“Over the course of several weeks, both the family office’s HR personnel and Munger, Tolles & Olson conducted separate investigations into these allegations,” LaBolt said. “These investigations included numerous interviews with Mr. Booth’s colleagues, as well as a review of other relevant documents and information. Following these thorough investigations, the serious allegations made against Mr. Booth by the Bloom Firm could not be substantiated. As stated at the time, Mr. Booth, who is fully aware that minimizing distractions is a key component to executing his duties as head of security, chose to move on from the family office to pursue other professional opportunities.”

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The Kauai Police Department, which investigated the allegations against former officer Shawn Smith.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Other aides have also been accused of misconduct

Laura McClain, another security staffer working for Weststreet, was also accused of misconduct. Rachel alleged that McClain had asked her to bend over so she could see her buttocks. (McClain continued to work for the family office after Booth’s departure.)

McClain did not respond to a request for comment.

In another previously unreported incident in 2018, two sources said that a female contract worker, Eleanor (not her real name), claimed she was sexually harassed by a medical staffer, Jaeson Rosa, while staying at one of the family’s properties. According to the sources, Eleanor said that Rosa repeatedly made comments about how attractive he found Eleanor, and that he wanted to have sex with her. She claimed that he knocked on her door late one night, asking to use her shower.

After the trip, Eleanor reported the incident to Booth and McClain, one source said. It’s not clear what, if any, action was taken. Rosa continued to work for the family office. Eleanor left Weststreet a few months later.

LaBolt said: “[Eleanor] was never our employee. [She] was employed by a third party that provided services to the family office some time ago. Our HR personnel have no record of receiving any complaint from her. We understand that she voluntarily resigned from her position with the third party in 2018.” 

He added that neither Booth nor McClain recalls receiving a complaint from Eleanor.

Rosa, who still works as a medic for the family office, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2016 and subsequently had his vocational nursing license revoked. He had a prior DUI conviction in 2005, and pleaded no contest to driving without a license and reckless driving in 1995.

Rosa did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s ranch features a petting zoo for the family, and space for the Facebook CEO to hunt feral pigs with bow and arrow.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Repeated conflict with the nannies

Brian Mosteller has butted heads with staff repeatedly as managing director of Weststreet, and employee turnover increased after he began, sources said.

Mosteller experienced a culture clash, sources said, transitioning from the relatively austere world of government to the employ of a family with a net worth in excess of $70 billion. “The budget piece is huge, how they think about money, how they think about the value of things,” one person said. “There’s no sense of a concierge service.”

Mosteller came into repeated conflict with the nannies hired by the Chan-Zuckerbergs to look after their children, according to three sources. In December 2017, sources said, on the same Hawaii trip that Christina attended, four nannies were put up in a shared house, but complained about mold and the smell of the property. The nannies asked to be moved to another house, but Mosteller resisted, sources with knowledge of the incident said. Jordan Fox ultimately settled the disagreement and got the nannies moved after going into the house to inspect it herself, one of the people said.

In another instance, one of the nannies spent $38 on basic pantry items like oil and salt to stock the kitchen used by caregivers to cook their meals. Mosteller saw the kitchen staples as a personal expense and tried to dock the value of the items from her wages. The incident eventually reached human resources, who overrode Mosteller, a source said.

“Part of the role that people play in in the [family office] space is to make magic happen,” a source said. “Part of how you make magic happen is a lot of money, and by never talking about how you make the magic happen. Things just happen, and if you have multiple estates, you have your favorite food, your favorite clothes, your favorite everything. Brian’s the kind of guy who said, ‘We should just move things from house to house, we don’t need to buy multiples of all these things.'”

Mosteller is now largely working out of Washington, DC, sources say. Fox has been promoted to chief of staff. (Fox did not respond to a request for comment.)

LaBolt said: “Brian Mosteller, as a leader in the family office, has fully assisted with all investigations of concerns raised by employees. In addition, we believe Mr. Mosteller has consistently endeavored to make the office a safe, inclusive, and professional place of work. His decision to relocate to the East Coast was for personal reasons.”

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Mark Zuckerberg employs dozens of staffers in Hawaii and elsewhere in the US to look after his family and protect his properties.

Rob Price/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


A breakdown in trust

As allegations of misconduct mounted, former employees said they have lost confidence in human resources at the family office, and questioned the willingness of leadership to resolve structural issues — a sentiment that was echoed in Henry and Rachel’s complaints.

“In a normal family office, you would take care of people,” one source said of Henry and Rachel.

“If there was a misstep internally, you would take care of it and make it go away early, not through intimidation but through care. And most importantly, you would address the core problem so that it never happens again.”

The source continued: “In this situation you have people who spoke out, took all of the prescribed paths to resolve this situation internally, through HR, with their managers. And then it was met with: ‘Nope, you’re a liar.'”

The demand letter drawn up by Bloom on behalf of Rachel alleges that when she raised complaints, she was told that “men are in power here,” and that the issues she brought up “were not show-stoppers.”

Weststreet’s human resources department is run through Iconiq, and over the past three years, the family office has cycled through more than half a dozen Iconiq-appointed HR reps. Two sources familiar with Iconiq’s working environment were harshly critical of the company, saying it historically lacked human resources expertise to support household staff and had a cutthroat culture in which colleagues would sometimes deliberately undermine one another. 

Munger, Tolles & Olsen, the law firm, also repeatedly asked Weststreet workers not to put details about incidents in writing, two sources said, contributing to workers’ sense of distrust. The law firm did not respond to a request for comment.

The family office requires employee disputes to be resolved through arbitration, a legal process that sidesteps the courts and keeps claims confidential. Like court proceedings, arbitration often ends with a company paying employees sums of money in exchange for the parties signing a non-disclosure agreement, which prevents them from discussing their experiences. 

In November 2018, Facebook ended the use of forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases following increased scrutiny of the tech industry’s use of the practice, as has law firm Munger Tolles — but it remains in force for workers at Chan-Zuckerberg family office, rankling some employees. (California legislators had voted to ban forced arbitration starting in 2020, but legal challenges have currently put that effort on hold.)

A Facebook spokesperson referred a request for comment to LaBolt.

Reached for comment, Henry and Rachel’s attorney Lisa Bloom reiterated her previous call for an independent investigation into Weststreet. 

In a statement, she said: “I continue to represent the two individuals who have raised claims. As far as we know, the family has not conducted an independent investigation into their claims, which we requested months ago. We are concerned about a variety of claims which have been raised and continue to call for an independent investigation of all complaints.”

Do you work at Weststreet, Iconiq, or another family office? Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal (650-636-6268), encrypted email (robaeprice@protonmail.com), standard email (rprice@businessinsider.com), Telegram/Wickr/WeChat (robaeprice), or Twitter DM (@robaeprice). Business Insider’s mailing address is: Rob Price, Business Insider, 535 Mission Street, 14th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105

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