Airbnb's $30 billion valuation at risk over illegal listings

Is Airbnb Really Worth $30 Billion?

What's worth its weight in banned offerings? Airbnb, according to one venture capitalist.

Drop illegal listings in San Francisco and New York from the site, and the company's valuation will drop, too, said Tusk Holdings founder and CEO Bradley Tusk, a former aid to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"They are raising now at a higher valuation, but if you were to say 'here is what the New York and San Francisco markets are really worth in full legal compliance' and then re-run the numbers--however they do it--I don't know that they are still that $30 billion company," Tusk was quoted by CNBC as saying.

Says a source close to Airbnb: "This is sour grapes." Tusk sought out Airbnb, looking for consulting work, and Airbnb declined to hire him, according to the source. The source did not say when Tusk approached the company.

"He asked to be paid solely in equity--which isn't something you do if you think the company isn't doing well," says the source in an email. "And then...not coincidentally...he had negative things to say about Airbnb."

Asked whether he had in fact sought to work for Airbnb and for comment on what the source referred to as "sour grapes," Tusk said in an email, "If I were Airbnb and found my business model decimated in two markets as big as New York City and San Francisco due to my own political ineptitude, I'd try to change the subject too."

CNBC reports New York City and San Francisco make up 2.4 percent of Airbnb's worldwide listings, citing Beyond Pricing, a pricing tool for Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). With 34,000 listings, New York City had Airbnb's second highest count of places to stay as of February 2015. San Francisco, a much less populous city, has a meager 5,000 listings by comparison, but more than twice as many listings per capita as New York.

Airbnb is currently scuffling with New York and San Francisco over proposed laws that would hamper business activities. In New York City and San Francisco, Airbnb has faced controversy for reportedly cutting into housing stock already in relatively short supply.

The New York State Senate passed a bill last month banning short-term apartment listings on Airbnb. San Francisco's Board of Supervisors recently passed an ordinance holding Airbnb liable for hosts that don't follow city law pertaining to registration of certain hosts. Airbnb is now suing San Francisco over the ordinance.

And it's all happening while Airbnb is raising a new round of funding at a $30 billion valuation.

Tusk told CNBC that "there are times when you have got to recognize the political reality of what you are dealing with."

"Affordable housing advocates are kind of likeable, so they are just harder to beat," he reportedly said.

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Now, check out the craziest and most beautiful Airbnb's:

7 PHOTOS
Airbnb, various places for rent, craziest/most beautiful Airbnbs
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Airbnb, various places for rent, craziest/most beautiful Airbnbs
A view shows an underwater room structure installed in the Aquarium of Paris, France, March 14, 2016. Airbnb and the Aquarium of Paris offer contest winners a night underwater sleeping with sharks and create a research platform for "misunderstood" shark species. Picture taken March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Gayle Wohlgemuth Atias stands at the entrance to her rental property listed on Airbnb in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Dolev February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 15: A guest room's plaster work dominates this second floor bedroom inside the Darling Mansion. The residence is a west-end curiosity, an opulent old house on Dovercourt that is now owned by Tanya Grossi. The house can be rented out for events, and you can stay in 'themed rooms' found on Airbnb.com. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 15: A bedroom inside the Darling Mansion. The residence is a west-end curiosity, an opulent old house on Dovercourt that is now owned by Tanya Grossi. The house can be rented out for events, and you can stay in 'themed rooms' found on Airbnb.com. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 15: One of the main living areas inside the Darling Mansion. The residence is a west-end curiosity, an opulent old house on Dovercourt that is now owned by Tanya Grossi. The house can be rented out for events, and you can stay in 'themed rooms' found on Airbnb.com. January 15, 2016. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - OCTOBER 8: The view from a window in the the home of Gary Wagner who rents part of his home out on Airbnb Thursday, October 8, 2015. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
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