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Mike Lindell's company told to pay $5 million in "Prove Mike Wrong" challenge

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump who has peddled election conspiracies, offered a challenge in 2021: If anyone could poke holes in data he claimed reflected the November 2020 election, he'd give them $5 million — a challenge he called the "Prove Mike Wrong" contest.

Lindell had claimed he had data captured from the internet during the 2020 presidential contest — information he believed showed China had interfered with the election in several states. Frustrated that his allegations weren't being taken seriously, Lindell launched the contest, according to an April 19 arbitration ruling, which was earlier reported by The Washington Post.

It turns out that someone was able to prove he didn't have election data: A software expert from Las Vegas named Bob Zeidman. After spending a few hours examining the data provided by Lindell, he determined it "was all bogus," he told CBS MoneyWatch.

"I called my wife and said, 'Think about what you want to do with $5 million'," Zeidman recounted.

Zeidman, who said he voted twice for Trump and describes himself as a conservative Republican, said some of the data from Lindell amounted to "a simple Word document and a table" that had been made "to look sophisticated, and it wasn't." Part of the document included IP addresses — a unique address that identifies a device on the internet — that Zeidman said were "meaningless."

Yet after submitting his findings to a three-member panel selected by Lindell LLC, Zeidman said he heard nothing back. That eventually prompted him to seek legal representation and pursue arbitration in order to collect the $5 million offered by the entrepreneur's company under the contest.

A panel with the American Arbitration Association, a not-for-profit group that offers commercial dispute resolution services, sided with Zeidman, noting in its findings that none of the data provided to the software expert was related to the 2020 presidential election. They also ruled that failure to pay Zeidman the $5 million represented a breach of contract and that he was entitled to the money. 

Lindell told CBS MoneyWatch that he'll appeal the decision. "I don't owe him any money," he said. "He didn't prove anything."

Of the arbitration panel, Lindell added, "We're going to investigate everything. Why would someone make a ruling like this?"

He added, "This has all been one big plan, a coordinated plan, to stop me and others from getting rid of the electronic voting machines in the country and get back to hand-counted paper ballots."

"A bunch of misguided people"

The arbitrators noted that they weren't asked to decide the truth of Lindell's claims that China interfered in the election, or whether Lindell "possessed data that proved such interference, or even whether Lindell LLC had election data in its possession." Instead, it ruled on whether Zeidman won the contest based on its rules and the data that was provided to him. 

Zeidman recalled that he felt frustrated and disappointed after analyzing the data provided by Lindell. "It was mostly thinking a bunch of misguided people, included Michael Lindell, were creating serious harm to our country," he said.

Zeidman is unsure whether he'll ever see the $5 million. If he does get the money, however, he told CBS MoneyWatch he intends to make donations to some nonprofits, including one focused on voter integrity — "a legitimate one," he said.

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