The 'creator' of Google admits to creating a revenge website against his separated wife.
Google abandoned its unofficial motto, "Do not be evil," in 2018. Perhaps this was a sign.
Scott Hassan, 51, who built a large portion of the original code that drives Google, is mired in a bitter seven-year divorce fight involving millions of cash, allegations of treating his children cruelly, and even a horrific online vengeance plot.
Allison Huynh, a senior research fellow at Stanford University's robotics laboratory, alleges Hassan is concealing a fortune to which she is lawfully entitled, according to her attorney.
“In 2018, the [couple's] estate was valued at $1.8 billion, and [Hassan] intended to give her a microscopic percentage of that,” Huynh's attorney Pierce O'Donnell told The Post. “His legal position is that she receives nothing: zilch, zero. He has cut his offer at each settlement conference. That is something I have not seen in my 45-year career. He is attempting the ultimate dirty trick on his wife and three adolescent children.”
According to Hassan, accusations that he does not wish to give her any of his ex-or wife's children's property are "not accurate."
Hassan, a robotics genius, has been compared to a high-tech Dr. Dolittle who can communicate with computers. Although he never worked for Google, Hassan is widely regarded as the company's unofficial third founder, alongside Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Prior to his marriage to Huynh in 2001, he got the right to purchase shares in the company at a discount, which would be worth billions of dollars today.
However, as divorce settlement processes in San Jose, Calif., are expected to begin Monday, Hassan is involved in a far less distinguished online enterprise.
After being accused by his ex, he admits to building the website AllisonHuynh.com earlier this year and seeding it with links to nice stories written about his ex — but also court documents from three embarrassing lawsuits in which she is involved.
“Scott was attempting to intimidate me into abandoning my [assets] struggle and taking a pittance,” Huynh told The Post.
When asked if he created the website, Hassan confirmed to The Post: "I did, but I removed it." It came together at a period of frustration, when I thought Allison and her attorney were telling the press a skewed version of events. I reasoned that combining publicly available data without adding commentary or editorializing would be beneficial... It just served to exacerbate our public and uncomfortable situation, which was never my intention.”
Among the records disclosed are pages relating to a cross complaint filed in connection with Huynh's wrongful termination lawsuit against former employer Samuel Ockman and Penguin Computing, which includes sexual claims. The records, filed by Ockman and his attorney in response to Huynh's 2000 lawsuit, also say she "threatened to kill Ockman if he ever left her" and "kept note of time Ockman went out with a new girlfriend."
(According to a recent filing by O'Donnell, the lawsuit was "resolved in Allison's favor.") Ockman was unavailable for comment.)
On August 5, Huynh discovered allisonhuynh.com. “It was mostly aimed to humiliate and intimidate me by impersonating me and attempting to turn the world against me,” she explained. “I was inconsolable.”
She immediately thought the site was being operated by her ex-husband. O'Donnell enlisted the assistance of forensics experts to ascertain the truth. They failed, Huynh claims, and she took matters into her own hands.
“I remained up all night and discovered a back door Scott had left open accidently. I was able to verify that Scott Wendell — Scott's middle name — registered the Google Drive site [which housed the lawsuit materials]. "The email contact contained the word 'Hassan,'" she told The Post. “So, using her technical expertise, his wife exposed Silicon Valley's genius. What is poetic justice?
When the pair met in 2000, Hassan was already a well-known programmer, having contributed to the development of the search engine that billions of people use every day.
Without Scott, there would be no Google, according to Adam Fisher, author of "Valley of Genius." “He was a student at Stanford and was hired to build programming for big thinkers. He became acquainted with Sergey and Larry, rebuilt their code, and persuaded them that this was a viable idea. They transferred to him founders' equity. That was quite successful.”
According to court filings, Hassan was offered the option to purchase 160,000 shares of not-yet-valuable Google stock for $800 in exchange for his coding — which, Hassan told The Post, "we wrote in three months."
He and Huynh met through mutual friends in Silicon Valley. He was born into a military family and grew up on various Air Force facilities around the world; she was a bright Vietnamese immigrant who attended college on a scholarship.
“Scott was really intelligent and devoted a great deal of time to me,” she recalled. “We had a lot in common, and he treated me equally.”
Hassan recalled a courtship that included "hiking, sailing, and seeing musicals."
In 2002, they were staying at his grandmother's cottage in Canasteo, New York, when things became serious. “While we were hiking, he proposed to me,” Huynh explained. “I inquired as to his certainty. He inquired as to why I would inquire. I stated that I was an independent thinker who believed in equality and justice. That, he stated, was why he adored me. I then replied, 'Yes.'"
Despite Hassan's success and intelligence, Huynh stated that things began simply. They married in the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas after she paid for their engagement party, according to a court record. Huynh spoke to The Post about her marriage to a bright spouse who suffered from carpal tunnel disease — "he had been programming since he was five and was beginning to burn out" — and a mountain of student debt.
“I assisted in nursing him back to health and initially supported us financially. Scott stated that he intended to work and support our family,” Huynh stated. “He assuaged my fears by assuring me that we were teammates.”
According to Huynh's brief, by 2003, "Google shares had increased from 160,000 to 2.56 million as a result of a series of stock splits." One year later, Google went public, valuing Hassan's shares in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the brief submitted on behalf of Huynh, Hassan intended to utilize around $50 million to fund the creation of open source technology. He founded the robotics businesses Willow Garage and Suitable Technologies, which produced $20 million in gross sales throughout the length of the marriage, according to a court document.
As their fortune grew, Hassan told The Post, "I renovated our family home from a three-bedroom house in San Francisco to a larger, modern property in Palo Alto." In Menlo Park, a commercial building was purchased. “We also acquired a lovely weekend retreat in the hills.”
According to the brief, Hassan sought guidance from a money manager in the spring of 2005. Following the discussion, Hassan made an unexpected proposal to his wife — what O'Donnell refers to as a post-nup. According to reports, she would receive three real estate properties and $20 million in Google shares if they divorced.
“This proposal, which he referred to as a buy-out, came out of nowhere,” Huynh explained. “I was taken aback. Who is this individual? Is he seeking a divorce?”
Huynh told The Post that she issued an ultimatum to Hassan: "It's either me or your family." Alternatively, your money and a divorce.”
Hassan picked his family and marriage – he and Huynh have three children, ages 13, 15, and 18, whom they share custody of. In retrospect, Hassan stated, "My objective was to instill in her a sense of financial security." Allison saw it as a hint that she desired a divorce. She was enraged.”
Some are unsurprised that Hassan did not anticipate the reaction to his revelation.
“Scott Hassan is quite kind, but he has difficulty understanding what others are thinking,” an old acquaintance told The Post. “He has no idea how he comes across. He is not particularly gifted at social interaction.”
After that outburst, things returned to usual. Hassan formed Greenheart Projects LLC and invested substantial quantities of money — "hundreds of millions of dollars," according to his court brief — in a variety of real estate investments and start-ups.
“We were overjoyed,” Huynh stated. “I was the primary caregiver for our three children, and he acted in a manner consistent with a man who was not plotting... to defraud our three children and myself of our investment."
There was also a romantic trip to Fiji in the fall of 2014. Hassan declared his love for his wife amid wet concrete at the resort. “He permanently inscribed, 'Scott + Alli,' with a large heart around it,” Huynh recalled.
However, by November, her entire world had come crashing down.
“Scott sent Huynh a text message saying, 'I'm leaving and the marriage is over,'” attorney O'Donnell stated. “He claims to have left their children with 'age-appropriate letters.'
Huynh told The Post that she had "no idea this was going to happen."
However, Hassan stated that he had his justifications: “Among other things, our breakup was precipitated by an argument in which Allison falsely accused me of infidelity in front of our children. That, for me, crossed a line... It became evident that we needed to permanently separate, and I informed her of this.”
Huynh's attorney contests this: “That is not the case,” he told The Post. “Without warning, Scott abruptly abandoned his family.”
According to O'Donnell, Hassan checked into the Four Seasons, while Huynh stayed with the children at their Palo Alto home. According to Zillow.com, the home is worth $20 million.
The separated couple cannot even agree on a separation date. According to a court filing submitted by Hassan's counsel, the couple divorced on Nov. 4, 2015. According to Huynh, it was two months later. On May 18, 2020, the marriage was annulled.
While Huynh admits she has no claim on the Google shares, she argues she is entitled to her half of the money earned during the marriage.
Meanwhile, Hassan admitted during court proceedings that he established Greenheart, which a court filing indicates was valued at $1 billion in 2015, as his own company "in order to keep certain assets'completely distinct' from Allison." She maintains that it is community property, the division of which is required by California divorce law.
Hassan believes that "the disputed assets are legitimately classified as my distinct property – this does not exclude the community or Allison from receiving compensation." “I have already committed to pay her a sizable sum of money each month.”
“Is it possible for her to receive alimony and child support? Give me a break,” O'Donnell pleaded. “She is entitled to child and spousal support under the law. We are discussing her proper share of the property. Scott's ultimate goal is for them to receive nothing — even the family home. Prior to his departure, he established a $20 million trust fund for his children. He decreased it to $500,000 for all three children. It does not cover the cost of college.”
Huynh told The Post of her ex, "His miserly position is absurd." “I pray that a billionaire from Big Tech does not get away with attempting to defraud his children and me while walking away with everything.”