ICANN Needs To Come Clean On Kurt Pritz, The Conflict Of Interest & Be Transparent As Promised

In announcing that Kurt Pritz resigned  from ICANN today due to a “recently identified conflict of interest”  ICANN didn’t specify what the conflict was.

Apparently Kevin Murphy of Domainincite.com,  reached out to Mr. Pritz who declined to comment and referred him back to ICANN.

This is not acceptable.

Kurt Pritz was not just ICANN’s Chief Strategy Officer, but for years has been the point man for the new gTLD program.

He is one of the highest paid employees of ICANN.

ICANN has collected 1/3 of a billion dollars in new gTLD application fees.

In his statement announcing the resignation,  ICANN’s CEO Fadi Chehade said in part:

Kurt  “will have no access to new gTLD applicant information nor will he play a role in the new gTLD program”.

So apparently the conflict involves the new gTLD program

So the questions are obvious and must be answered.

What is the conflict and when did it arise?

The new gTLD application period closed in May, meaning that since the end of May no additional applications were submitted to ICANN, so its pretty hard to image a circumstance involving a conflict of interest involving the new gTLD program that wasn’t known at that point and certain by the ICANN meeting in Toronto.

Clearly non-disclosure of the details of the conflict of interest is not acceptable.

ICANN needs to come clean.

In his first address at ICANN as CEO in Toronto Mr. Chehade spoke of transparency time and time again.

Now it the perfect time to for ICANN to do the right thing and tell those applicants who just gave ICANN over $350 million dollars to apply for a new gTLD, many of whom  have spent years of their life on the program what exactly the conflict of is, when it was detected, why it wasn’t detected earlier.

The applicants and the members of the ICANN community deserve no less.



  1. John Berryhill says

    I agree with you Mike. These kinds of vague statements only serve to create suspicion within the community. Surely there are people who know, and there are people who do not know, and the gossip becomes social currency.

    So the guessing game begins. What sort of a conflict are we talking about here? Given his workload, we could probably rule out some sort of outside consulting or counseling engagement. Was this a financial interest of some kind, or is it more in the nature of a personal relationship.

    But the question of “With whom or what organization did this conflict arise?” is one of those questions which becomes toxic to the community if left unanswered among those outside of the whispering circle.

    The only consequence of at least some acceptable degree of specifics is that the details will leak out of the whispering circle, drip by drip, and will only prolong the discomfort with this lack of transparency.

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve an Air Force base in Florida.

  2. says

    Well stated, Mike.

    ICANN needs to reveal, ASAP, when the conflict arose, when it was discovered, and what decisions and processes Kurt was involved in between those two events that might have been influenced by the conflict.

  3. John Berryhill says

    I would ask whether you gentlemen might believe that if this were a conflict of the, shall we say, General Petraeus variety or something on that spectrum, whether there does come a point at which too much information is simply “too much information”.

  4. says

    Hey, Berryhill. Don’t you think it is a conflict of interest to be involved in suing your former client concerning the bogus DomainTools lawsuit? When are you going to come clean on that? You have been shooting your mouth off for decades but you suddenly seem silent on this.

  5. John Berryhill says

    No, it’s not Russ. And if you are going to spend the rest of your life posting defamatory information on blogs, suffice it to say that. (1) you were a client of the firm in Philadelphia, (2) years ago which (3) had terminated and (4) bore no relationship whatsoever to the subject of your threats against the other party in terms of subject matter or relevant information; but more importantly, (5) I was not counsel in that later suit, and in fact, (6) I didn’t even know a suit was filed until several days after that party engaged other counsel and filed it.

    If you have an ethical complaint against a Pennsylvania attorney, feel free to use this handy link http://www.padisciplinaryboard.org/attorneys.php

    Put up or shut up, Russ.

  6. says

    (7) You knew misleading information was supplied to the court and you refused to do anything about it (8) you made a series of bogus arguments both before and after the suit was filed (9) You know full well bar complaints are essentially useless as lawyers run the whole thing. Did you file a bar complaint against ICANN”s general counsel for the issue in the article or are you just using that tactic to try to deflect this issue?

    So what you are saying if you start a new shell company you can start getting involved in suing your former clients? Or are you saying you had nothing to do with the suit? You need to get your story straight.

Comment Policy:

TheDomains.com welcomes reader comments. Please follow these simple rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Refrain from personal attacks
  • Avoid profanity
  • Links should be related to the topic of the post
  • No spamming. Listing domains, products, or services will get the comment deleted

We reserve the right to remove comments if we deem it necessary.

Join the Discussion