Saturday, March 1, 2008

Money for nothing, chicks for free?

Seth Finkelstein made a very valid point on Kelly's blog yesterday. The Marsden story, salacious as it is, is really just Jimbeau's problem. A quick look at Marsden's bio will show that she is better known in Canada for her lurid sexcapades than for her integrity as a journalist, and I am sure that both Sue and Jay Walsh, who come from the Canadian journalist community, could back up these charges. It is no mere metaphor to say that Jimbeau got in bed with the wrong woman … this time.

Why "this time"? Because ValleyWag seems to have missed a few of the facts. I've known about several of Jimbeau's affairs long before I started working at Wikipedia because, well, he used to boast of them to me. And not just to me either. In fact, I'd need two hands, two feet, and a bunch of other extremities to count all the people who knew. So Jimbeau is a lech. That still fails to address Seth's point that his sex life is no one's business but his. True, perhaps, but the fact is that this had an impact on much more than Jimbeau's integrity. It impacted the Foundation's cash reserves, which are derived from donations. You see, Jimbeau was certainly not frugal in his spending on his endless trips abroad, but when it came to handing in receipts, he could be somewhat careless. At one point he owed the Foundation some $30,000 in receipts, and this while we were preparing for the audit. Not a bad sum, considering that many of those trips had fat honoraria, which Jimbeau kept for himself. (Florence will surely remember his explanation for one of these: "I don’t make any money, and my wife needs a washing machine." Her response was wonderful: "A gold-plated washing machine?")

So Jimbeau cancelled an upcoming trip to Italy, Serbia, and Croatia, and got to work finding receipts. I helped process them. Subway ticket in Moscow: $0.50. Massage parlor in Moscow: priceless. Some were accepted; others were not, like the $650 spent on two bottles of wine during a dinner for four at Bern's—I remember that one because he submitted it twice, once with the tip scratched out. I wonder if the students who gave up their lunch money to donate to Wikipedia would have approved of that expense. In the end he reached a deal with Brad—details unknown—and paid the Foundation about $7000 in two checks. I don't know what happened with the rest, but the checks can be found in the list of donors.

I remember how, in Mexico City, Bono explained to us how the band leaves the arena after a concert by running through a long plastic tunnel stretching from the stage to their limos. "I need one of those," Jimbeau responded, "because I am like a rockstar too." That may be. He certainly gets to have sex with groupies. It is just unfortunate that for the longest time, some of this was funded by well-meaning donors, who really thought that their $5.00 would pay for hardware and bandwidth.

59 comments:

Cyde Weys said...

I'm glad this stuff is finally coming out into the open. I didn't know as much as you, obviously, but just having met Jimbo at Wikimania and hearing some of the stories, a lot of this checks out.

MessedRocker said...
This post has been removed by the author.
SWATJester said...

At least he has good choice in restaurants. Berns is great.

Anonymous said...

Jimbo tried to get the foundation to pay for his Russian massage parlor visit? In addition to a $650 wine bill.

Just what the hell is this guy's major malfunction?

master_of_americans said...

I don't get it, Wool. If you knew about this, why didn't you say something about it before?

Mike Halterman said...

Believe it or not, Danny was fighting over what exactly would be the right thing to do. Also, when I learned about some of these events (over six months ago), there ran a huge chance of people simply not believing Danny because...well, he's Danny.

It's very unfortunate that things had to come to this, but then again, it's called not being a cheating skankbag. It's really not that difficult to get your rocks off only with your wife, or only with yourself.

Gregory Kohs said...

And back in October 2006, when Jimbo personally attacked my fledgling business and defamed it on Wikipedia on MY User page, citing baseless trademark violations that he had little to no authority asserting, most of the Wikipediots flocked to Jimbo's side of the story and took great joy in bolting the door behind my banned posterior.

Wikipediots, I hope you're content with the character of the man you so joyously backed. I've been trying to tell you for 16 months, but only a few of you even tried to listen past the wax in your ears.

Next step, folks -- contact the IRS and demand they look into why the WMF Form 990 papers were incorrectly completed in both 2004 and 2005. That's the other thing you all have been ignoring.

Yes, it is illegal to operate a non-profit foundation while simultaneously hiding from the public the financial information they are entitled to have disclosed to them.

Anonymous said...

Kohs, take a damn valium or something. This is not about YourWikiBiz. And calling us "idiots" is not the way to get us on your side.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, everything is about hiswikibiz. The record got stuck somewhere... I think it was somewhere about the word "egocentric".

Gregory Kohs said...

Fine. Would you rather I re-hash Essjay? Or maybe the Siegenthaler, Zoeller, and Taner Akcam incidents? Or perhaps you'd like me to talk about the private sleuthing mailing lists hosted on Wikia servers and wildly exploited by Durova? Maybe you'd like to chat about how Gary Weiss conned Wikipedia for so long with his cavalcade of sockpuppets that you refuse to acknowledge? Perhaps we could steer the conversation to the 2004 and 2005 Form 990's that obfuscate that 60% of the WMF's board were business partners? Or maybe we could just talk about how long it will be before Carolyn Doran gets out of jail?

Typical ANONYMOUS Wikipediots who look at one out of five sentences of my recent comment, then channel all your ire into the one about MyWikiBiz. Grow up and get out of your mom's basement.

Krimpet said...

Haha, hush, Mr. Kohs. For someone who's constantly childishly fooling around on WP under silly pseudonyms like "John Finley" and "Lisa," you're hardly in a position to complain about "anonymous wikipediots." :) Now, leave the adults be - all this talk of the birds and bees is too risqué for youngsters.

Ben Yates said...

So wait. Jimmy slept with a republican?

All's Wool that Ends Wool said...

And you thought Jimmy was a Democrat? Remember, he is a Randian libertarian with all that that entails. As an example of this, though I worked almost 18 months in the office, I never received medical insurance. Not a high priority for a Randian, and Brad, well, he was never around enough to actually do something about medical insurance (he was not in the office four out of the 11 months he worked there--not a bad gig for $160k a year). In fact, it was Carolyn who finally got around to arranging medical insurance and a 401k for the staff.

The irony is that while I was busy arranging travel expenses and the Board's babysitting fees, since these were deemed an obvious expense for the Foundation to cover (see my Board campaign for details), no one considered the staff's medical insurance a priority.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Marsden is the personification of Gaia's Revenge. It's almost like she was put on Earth for the sole purpose of exposing creeps who screw women over and behave abominably. In this case she has done a lot of people a major favor. Count me as a fan.

David Gerard said...

Greg, if it's not clear to you by now that MyWikiBiz is never, ever going to be a happener, then I fear it never will be. But Jesus, what's it take to get the clue through to you? Do you really think your continuing sockpuppeting on Wikipedia will get you anywhere and isn't just a sign of unfortunate obsession? It's like you think you'll only ever have one business idea in your entire life and have to ignore it being in a hole and keep digging. Have you considered coming up with a second idea? Even Jimbo's had more than one business idea in his life - perhaps he's onto something there.

Anonymous said...

Moreover, any prospective client who googles "MyWikiBiz" or "Gregory Kohs" and sees the inane amount of whining and childish trolling, is not much likely to invest their hard earned in that direction. So even if wikipedia said yes, this is still dead in the water.

Vendettas, obsessions, and business plans, seldom go together.

RDH(Ghost In The Machine) said...

So David, if it turns out the foundation paid for this room:

http://doubletree1.hilton.com/en_US/dt/hotel/WASDTDT-Doubletree-Hotel-Washington-DC-District-of-Columbia/room-type-desc-popup.do?roomtypeId=NK1SX

Would that be what it takes to make you feel like the tool of a fool?

All's Wool that Ends Wool said...

But it didn't.

Anonymous said...

But Danny, your post above (love the title BTW:) would indicated it might well have.

DOES NOT COMPUTE!

Anonymous said...

"Founder of Wikipedia tries to spend charitable donations on women and wine"

if this is true, scandal-sheet tabloids won't be the only ones running that headline: it's serious financial malfeasance at a well-known nonprofit. wales would be forced to cut all ties with the foundation by himself or else be kicked out in disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Someone really should sit Jimbo down and explain a few things to him. He's not a rock star, no matter how often he keeps saying so. The foundation is not here to buy him $300 bottles of wine and Russian Massages. He has a child who needs a daddy, not a philandering sleezebag who brags about it.

Anonymous said...

Note to David;

Wikipedia is to Kohs as Scientology is to Gerard.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for someone to ask Danny "who was Jimbeau having dinner with at Bern's that he would need to spend $650 on wine?" Donors would know that Wikipedia is 100% donor-supported and spending $650 on wine alone would be inappropriate. And if it wasn't a donor, then who would it have been and would it have been appropriate for Jimbeau to have submitted the receipt for reimbursement?

Anonymous said...

"Rachel Marsden is the personification of Gaia's Revenge. It's almost like she was put on Earth for the sole purpose of exposing creeps who screw women over and behave abominably."

No, you misunderstand. Rachel Marsden screws over anyone who gets involved with her. Only the very stupid or the very sleazy fail to see the warning signs.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Marsden has been "involved" with more than just 3 jerks. It's just the scumbags who end up getting nailed.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight:

Jimbo covered is extravagant indulgences when the Foundation refused to, but Jimbo's checks ended up listed as "donations"?

Presumably, this means that Jimbo could then deduct his $300 bottles of wine and Russian massages on his income taxes, as a "donation" to the wikimedia foundation, with no paper trail.

Did I understand this right?

Anonymous said...

Congrats. This post made it into Marsden's breakup email to Wales.

http://valleywag.com/362814/jimmy-wales-broke-wikipedia-rules-to-fix-his-girlfriends-page

Anonymous said...

http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Uncensored:Rachel_Marsden

an uncensored version of marsden's wiki entry

Anonymous said...

I work with several non-profits and the auditing standards are pretty darn strict. If only some of this is true the board of directors for WikiMedia needs to go into full on CYA mode and find a scapegoat quick. And anyone working with WMF should be careful (and take steps) to make sure they're not the goat.

Anonymous said...

Gee, the man solely responsible for one of the world's greatest resources, an encyclopedia of knowledge of incalculable utility and value, screws up - and now watch all the jealous little children running up to get their free kick in. Pathetic - just pathetic.

I've donated to wikipedia, multiple times. If it ends up paying for Wales' hotel rooms or $250 bottles of wine, that's fine by me. Hell, if I ever see him in a restaurant I'll comp his wine and the meal too. That's the least I can do for a man who changed the world for the better.

He could be the biggest jerk in the world, I couldn't care less. He made something great, and now the world's a better place - can't say that about any of you jealous little fools, so why don't you shut the hell up and get back to working for your betters?

Anonymous said...

Yeah you're right, he's totally above the law, then.

Moron.

Writerjudd said...

If the WMF needs a bogeyman to divert attention from an obviously huge problem, I encourage them to pick WordBomb again. Jimbo's practiced at it and I barely even notice it any more.

Anonymous said...

> Yeah you're right, he's totally above the law, then.
> Moron.

Huh? Above the law? What law has he broken - the law against sleeping around, eating well and having a good time?

Maybe you wish that was against the law in your jealous, petty little world, but good for him, I say.

God some of you people must lead nasty little lives. Look at you all. Third-rate losers gossiping about the boss like has-been lifer secretaries in a branch office. Nasty little bean-counting gossiping toe-rags - fuck you all.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just burn him at the stake? A creative, innovative powerhouse has a libido to match. Never heard of that happening before. Picasso, Clinton, Donald Trump, any rock star, jazz musician, Willie Nelson, etc. If you don't like it, write it off as a character flaw, but this general excoriation is beneath you.

As far as the expense account receipts, he's not the first person, high-profile or otherwise, to use bad judgment. But the accounting department gatekeepers did what they are supposed to do, and it's been rectified. The system works.

And, yeah, I've donated money to Wikipedia, too, and probably more than you have. And I intend to continue. What if you went to your computer one morning and there was no Wikipedia? You get the idea.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, which I'm not, I would suggest this anti-Jimmy Wales blather is yet another effort to undermine the public's right to the information that Wikipedia provides. Make no mistake: there are interests in the private sector that want to reduce our information access to Dark Ages levels. With these attacks, you are playing right into their hands.

Let's hear some more enlightened comments, which I know we are all capable of.

Anonymous said...

"God some of you people must lead nasty little lives. Look at you all. Third-rate losers gossiping about the boss like has-been lifer secretaries in a branch office. Nasty little bean-counting gossiping toe-rags - fuck you all."

Nasty, like....leaving anonymous trollish comments on a blog full of people venting their ire at someone whose made a looooottt of enemies?

Nasty like....someone saying "fuck you all"

Someone who believes that Jimbeau is solely responsible when it's a known fact that Jimbeau has taken much of the deserved credit away from Larry Sanger, and given no credit at all to Ward Cunningham?

Nasty like believing that it's perfectly fine for someone to be *above the law*, beg for money on a website saying it's for the servers to keep the site going, it's for the starving children in Africa, then spend it on whores and 5 star hotels?

Nasty like, saying that he's created something great when it was the community that did 99.9% of the work, and Jimbeau takes 100% of the credit?

I tell you, sure Jimbeau is more famous than myself, but if that's the measure of what makes a man better than me, then I pulling out the 9mm and splattering my brains on my keyboard after I hit enter.

But that's not going to happen, because the really nasty one is you. If you want to support someone's blatantly unethical, illegal actions while they portray themselves to the world as the next coming of God, knock yourself out, but you are the one with the problem.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when all of this would hit the news. I've known about this for /quite/ some time now.

For those of you looking to "burn Jimmy at the stake," don't worry, a lot more of his secrets are going to hit the proverbial fan soon.

And it won't just be his sex life.

Anonymous said...

... A creative, innovative powerhouse ...

Haaa Haa. Jimbo's personality is more akin to lukewarm oatmeal. His era has long past. Half the time when he weighs in at wikipedia he doesn't fully understand what's going on and makes a fool of himself.

It wouldn't be so bad except that he's using the foundation to gorge himself on fame and pussy and honoraria.

If Jimbo has a shred of honor left, he'll step down from the board and make way for new leadership.

Anonymous said...

Kohs is quite obsessive about his MyWikiBiz but it would be hard for anyone to turn down the venom when someone as dishonest as Jimbeau screwed him in a double-cross the way he did.

Anyway, I don't think we need to worry about Kohs's success in life depending on any wiki scheme. According to his LinkedIn, he is the Director of Market Research at the world's largest cable television company. What are you pulling down annually, Gerard?

dyerbrookME said...

Could you check on his drug usage too, if any? He looks strung out and high in some of his media appearances. Maybe he's just worried about reimbursing the petty cash though.

If you have to pay for a massage in Moscow, you're doing something wrong. Prived, medved...

Prokofy

llywrch said...

One of the anons wrote:

"Someone who believes that Jimbeau is solely responsible when it's a known fact that Jimbeau has taken much of the deserved credit away from Larry Sanger, and given no credit at all to Ward Cunningham?"

I can't help but to add that if Ward has been upset about Wales taking all of the credit, he's never mentioned it. However, having had the priviledge of knowing Ward, I can say that he is far too generous to ever think about being denied his "fair share of credit". Besides, Ward has his hands in a lot of projects at the moment, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with Wikis.

Whether Wales has minimized Ward's role in the success of Wikipedia is an entirely different question, though.

Geoff

Jossi said...

Danny,

Just to let you know that reading this post shocked me, and not because of what you wrote about Wales.

Sue Gardner said...

Over the past few days, I've been struggling a little with how to respond to this. I don't want to get drawn into a long back-and-forth in which Danny makes an ongoing series of loose insinuations, and the Foundation then needs to painstakingly reconstruct past events in order to refute him point-by-point.

So I'm going to make one simple statement: Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the Foundation's interests ahead of his own, and has erred on the side of personally paying for his own Wikimedia-related expenditures, rather than the reverse.

Sue Gardner
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Anonymous said...

Sue, shut up. No one wants to hear your blathering.

Anyone with half a brain knows you don't give a shit about the Foundation.

All's Wool that Ends Wool said...

Thank you for your response, Sue. Rather than get into a game of "Yes, he did"; "No, he didn't," I will let the facts speak for themselves.

Kelly Martin said...

Sue,

You've only been with the Foundation since, um, what, sometime in the middle of 2007, right? Jimmy's been with the Foundation since it was founded. The incidents in question took place before you probably even knew the Foundation exists.

So, how can you, with such great certainty, assert something of which you cannot possibly have personal knowledge?

All's Wool that Ends Wool said...

I see Kelly Martin responded on her blog, so I consider the matter with Sue's response closed.

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2008/03/who-do-you-trust.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "Gee, the man solely responsible for one of the world's greatest resources, an encyclopedia of knowledge of incalculable utility and value, screws up..."

Is that you, Jimbo?

Anonymous said...

Gee, the man solely responsible for one of the world's greatest resources, an encyclopedia of knowledge of incalculable utility and value....

Yeah, it's where I learned every movie has a "cult following." And almost everything worth knowing has a Simpsons reference. And, the, writing, has, lots, of commas, because it was copied and re-arranged from other sources by people with middle school-level writing skills ;-) Did you know that "Wall Street" was named after the Walloons?

Anonymous said...

Damn, Messed beat my record. So far I've managed $90 of donations to the Foundation and $470 taken from them; not as sizeable a profit, but a reasonable achievement nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't the foundation be properly audited, in the interests of the donors? i really think donations should go for legitime expenses, 90% to bandwidth and servers, and not luxury hotels, retaurants et al, for seducing some loose fluff

Wiki user said...

It is. The audits (from the satrt, for several years, through to summer 2007) are on the foundation website. Together with other reports.

Anonymous said...

Pay close attention and read the title ... it does not say "audited". The financial statements posted on Wikipedia are not "audited", but rather a statement of financial condition, with only a partial review of the supporting documents. In fact, estimated numbers are used in some places (though not detailed by the accountants as to where). Also, audited financial statements include significant notes of explanations; the notes here appear to be "boiler plated" and not very specific. Finally, audited financial statements are required to be signed by an appropriate executive of the organization. Sue?

YA said...

You must be joking. Massage parlours in Moscow? They DO NOT GIVE RECEIPTS. They DO NOT TAKE CARDS. This business in our city is cash-only.

Riana said...

The question that surprising only one person has asked so far is this: Why didn't someone do something about this before? Why did WMF wait (well, not that they've done anything concrete yet) before it actually did hit the fan... and splatter all over the walls? This post seems to imply that people knew Wales was up to shady business. Previous comments have implied that people knew about Carolyn Doran. That you knew about Essjay. So I ask - why does a major and well-known organisation embark on half-arsed cover-ups, and when will it start taking prophylactic measures instead?

Note that this is not an indictment upon you, Danny - I consider you a friend and a guiding light. It's just general shock and disappointment.

Avruch said...

Better to be an asshole than right, eh?

Avruch said...

Much respect to Riana, but Danny is in no way a guiding light. He is a gadfly - intelligent, sure, but there are a lot of really bright assholes in this world. Now, whatever Jimmy did or didn't do... Some of the comments you made are beyond unnecessary and reflect simply a personal animosity that poisons the truthfulness of anything you write.

If he did do the things you accuse him of, there is a way and a time to bring those things up; that is, not years later on a blog. Specific concerns should have been directed to Wikimedia or the appropriate authorities - how you thought publishing your seemingly unsupported allegations on your blog was wise, I don't know. You clearly can't have expected that Wikimedia would benefit, and so there is no longer any reason for us to expect that your actions relative to Wikimedia are done "in good faith."

Riana said...

Shooting the messenger is a way to distract from the real problem, Avruch, but it doesn't stop the problem from existing. Hell yes, someone should have done something before. That's exactly what the bulk of my post is about. But now that the problem has come out into the open, what do you prefer - a person in the know willing to discuss it candidly, or people who continue to worship at the altar of St Wales despite his antics?

All's Wool that Ends Wool said...

In Hebrew there is a saying: במקום שאין איש השתדל להיות איש, "In those places where there are no men, strive to be a man." I accept Riana's criticism that perhaps I should have spoken up earlier. I won't discuss my reasoning now for staying silent all those months. My contention is that there are plenty of other people out there, including many who I respect, who know the truth, but have decided to remain silent for whatever reason.

I am sad that they have not yet spoken up, at least not publicly, but I understand it too. After all, I remained silent for so long. On the other hand, I call on them, and they know who they are, to speak up. And to all the other Wikipedians, I would hope that this would move past the silly "I trust Jimmy," or "I trust Danny" statements. After all, even if only part of what I said is correct, isn't it worrying enough to investigate. And doesn't the philosophy of shut up and accept it really damage the cause of Wikipedia in the long run.

Anonymous said...

avruch said: ... - how you thought publishing your seemingly unsupported allegations on your blog was wise, I don't know. You clearly can't have expected that Wikimedia would benefit ...

Of course Wikimedia will benefit if this helps Jimbo to step aside and make way for new leadership. Many people have wanted that long before these latest revelations.