Adam Neumann was reportedly too busy surfing in the Maldives to return to New York to go over WeWork’s disastrous IPO paperwork, so he flew an employee out to brief him

WeWork founder and former CEO Adam Neumann. Jackal Pan/Visual China Group via Getty Images

While executives were preparing paperwork for a public offering that would enrich the WeWork cofounder and CEO Adam Neumann, he was on a surfing trip in the Maldives.

And much of the preparation and drafting of WeWork’s IPO paperwork, or S-1, took place at Neumann’s Hamptons home,The Wall Street Journal’s Maureen Farrell, Liz Hoffman, Eliot Brown, and David Benoit reported on Thursday.

It was there that Neumann invited the heads of the two stock exchanges competing for the WeWork listing – the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq – and asked them to pledge their support to environmental causes, such as eliminating meat and banning single-use plastics in their offices, The Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

But at one point in the drawn-out S-1 preparation process, Neumann was thousands of miles from the Hamptons, surfing in the small Indian Ocean island republic of the Maldives. To avoid cutting the trip short and missing out on the swell, Neumann had a WeWork employee fly out to brief him, according to the report.

The surf trip came as WeWork seemed to be barreling toward a giant public offering that would value the company at as much as $US100 billion and make its thousands of employees rich. But the S-1 prospectus that was eventually released revealed a company that was losing billions of dollars and let Neumann run things in questionable ways.

The paperwork that was publicly filed on August 14 disclosed that Neumann owned many of the buildings WeWork rented and that he made millions by leasing the company his own buildings. He also trademarked the word “We” and had the company pay him nearly $US6 million to use it, though he eventually gave the money back after criticism.

Since then, the IPO has been shelved, Neumann has been replaced as CEO, and SoftBank has taken control of the company.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. But WeWork’s new owners have a lot of work to do, including figuring out what to do with some of the companies Neumann invested in or acquired on WeWork’s behalf. Among those is Wavegarden, a Spanish wave-pool company WeWork put nearly $US14 million into, presumably because Neumann wanted WeWork to embody the type of community in surfing.

WeWork declined to comment.