Crypto Miner Core Scientific Paid More Than $1M to CEO-Affiliated Jet Company For Employees

The world's largest bitcoin miner by computing power made its last payment to the firm in October 2022.

AccessTimeIconFeb 17, 2023 at 2:26 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:08 a.m. UTC

Bankrupt bitcoin miner Core Scientific (CORZ) paid $1.65 million last year to a company affiliated to CEO Mike Levitt that operates a private jet, bankruptcy court filings from last week showed.

The company made its last payment to Stone Tower Air LLC in October 2022, just before it stopped making debt payments to its lenders. The world’s largest bitcoin miner by computing power filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.

"Levitt is one of the lowest-paid employees on salary, making $60k annually. The only incentive for him is to increase shareholder value, which is why he offered his jet at a discounted rate for employees," a company spokeswoman told CoinDesk.

Stone Tower Air flies an Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600, according to and other airplane tracking websites.

"For efficient travel and use of time, Stone Tower Air is a charter flight company used in the past by Core Scientific for transporting employees, clients and potential clients between our data center sites in remote locations," which are often far from major airports, the spokeswoman said. She also noted that the move saves the company money with below-market rates versus using a third-party charter.

While the private-jet travel was revealed in an earlier filing, stating that the company had reimbursed “certain officers and directors of the Company for use of a personal aircraft for flights taken on Company business," the direct link to Levitt was not.

The U.S. bankruptcy code primarily defines “affiliated” persons as those that directly or indirectly own or control 20% or more of the voting power of a given company.

Core Scientific remains the largest bitcoin miner in the world, in terms of hashrate, through its restructuring process. The company mines about 65 bitcoins per day and has 21.1 exahash per second (EH/s) of computing power, which is about 7% Bitcoin's global hashrate.

CORRECTION (Feb. 21, 23:58 UTC): Company retracted previous comments about Core's affiliation with Stone Tower Air LLC. Updated with new comments from the official spokesperson.


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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter.

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