It is never an easy situation when business partners begin to agree to disagree on the direction or philosophy of a business. Much has been said publicly about the Kimmage Fund situation. Most of it has been social media speculation, social media attacks, or social media defence. Almost all of it has painted me the worst of the worst for allegations that still are unfounded, unproven, and part of a case that is not about the Kimmage Fund, but the separation of business partners.
The legalities surrounding this case have been put on display by my former business partner in an attempt to rally some sort of campaign to right supposed wrongs. My family has been threatened, my house has been vandalised, and Spanish police even arrested one individual for their attempted actions against me.
The interesting part of this is the fact this isn’t because I’ve refused to pay Paul Kimmage’s legal bills, or refused to return the money to the donors, but because I have retained custody of the funds since the UCI lawsuit went into limbo. The only reason the Kimmage Fund management became an issue was due to the breakdown in the business relationship between my former business partner and myself. There were no questions about management from September 2012 until April of 2013.
I was custodian of the funds from the time they were received from the donors. I dispersed the funds to Kimmage to pay his only legal bills in December when his lawyer presented the bill. I was tasked with making sense of the variety of entities involved in the Cyclismas/Kimmage activities when no one else was willing to take any responsibility. Even now, any potential settlements still revolve around additional actions to ensure my former business partner does not have any legal or tax liabilities surrounding the fund, at my expense.
How is it possible that someone wants to retain control of a fund when they aren’t willing to accept the legal ramifications of the control? That’s a very good question and one that needs to be answered. There have been many individuals who have demanded I turn over the funds to them, but yet they still want me to hold the liabilities for the fund. Just because funds are transferred doesn’t mean I lose the responsibility. Because I am on record accepting responsibility means more potential trouble for me.
Much has been made by the media about my character, or my past actions, or my previous business dealings. Items published by certain sources only tell a fraction of the truth in order to confirm a particular agenda by those who I agitated during my time on social media. Many of the statements made by those “in the know” are completely false, or skewed to paint me as a villain. For five months I have refused to get involved in this sort of activity. I still refuse to stoop to such antics. I have chosen to pursue other work in the sport, as the events surrounding this controversy soured me on cycling media and cycling social media in general.
So why is this website being established now, and why can the funds be returned to the donors? We can thank the UCI elections for this. I was an advocate for change at the top levels of the UCI for several years and it was a fitting denouement to be able to witness the change in person during the World Championships in Florence.
New UCI president Brian Cookson has stated on record of his desire to end the lawsuits and what he called shenanigans at the UCI. After speaking to several of those within the UCI in Florence, it is expected the lawsuit against Kimmage will be dismissed by the end of 2013. This clears the way for the donors to receive a pro rata refund, as my lawyer retained in the United States has stated on the record to those who started a petition demanding an updated status of the fund.
Simply put, all any donor needs to do is submit the form on the website, providing the information required to confirm their donation. After extensive consultation with Canadian and European lawyers versed in international law, it was decided the donors need to indicate they want a refund, rather than search out each individual donor. This removes potential liabilities if a blind refund is sent out without the donor’s acknowledgement.
The window for submitting a refund request will remain open until December 31st, 2013 in order to allow time for donors to find their way to the website and be made aware of the opportunity. Once you submit a request, you will receive an email acknowledging your request.
After the window closes, the requests will be tabulated, and those wishing a refund will receive 70% of their donation back, as only 30% of the funds were used. The accountant who performed the audit stated the actual percentage was 69.2%, but this is being rounded up to an even number. Donors will then receive a second email outlining the options for receiving the refund, and a time frame in which the refund will be received. A third email will be sent when the refund is sent.
There is currently $64,821.75 US dollars in the fund.
So what happens to any funds left over? What if only part of the donors want their money back? After the refunds are totalled, communication will be sent to Kimmage’s Swiss lawyer asking him what charity Kimmage would like the money donated to. The donation of those funds will be made in Kimmage’s name, and he will receive any benefits associated with the donation.
This is the simplest solution to end one of the most trying times. It’s unfortunate that the situation has escalated the way it has with lawyers and mud-slinging from one side, but this is such the way life in general has gone in today’s digital age.
On a closing note, the comments section will be closed. I am not interested in engaging in debate from self-declared social activists. A contact email has been set up, firstname.lastname@example.org, but there will be no responses or acknowledgements to questions involving anything other than the refund mechanism. Please also note any threats of any kind will be forwarded to the proper authorities.
I agreed to take on the responsibility of the fund, to manage the fund, and to ensure right was done with the fund. I will see through this obligation until the end, no matter what it takes.
The submittal form for requesting a pro-rata refund of your donation goes live on Monday, October 7th, 2013.
– Aaron Brown