Mystery over whereabouts of Paul Kimmage Defense Fund cash

Questions being asked of Cyclismas website and Twitter's UCI_Overlord - and Kimmage and donors want answers

by Simon_MacMichael   May 2, 2013  

US dollars

The satirical cycling website Cyclismas is in the spotlight following reports that some of the nearly $100,000 it helped raise from cycling fans – including road.cc staff and users – for journalist Paul Kimmage to help him meet legal bills after he was sued for libel by the UCI, Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, is unaccounted for.

At the centre of the mystery over some of that money raised for the Paul Kimmage Defense Fund, according to reports yesterday on a variety of sites including Cycling News and VeloNews is Aaron Brown – perhaps better known to Twitter users as UCI_Overlord, who regularly signs off his tweets with a mischevious “*chuckle*,” or to viewers of the CCNN-TV video podcast hosted by Cyclismas as Ripp Finklemann.

The fund, to which more than 3,000 people contributed, was intended to pay for Kimmage’s lawyers’ bills in respect of that lawsuit, currently suspended, from the UCI and its past and former presidents, and some of the money – around 21,000 Swiss Francs – has indeed been used for that purpose, according to reports.

That leaves close to $70,000 apparently unaccounted for.

What underpins the controversy is the fact that originally, the money went into a PayPal account Cyclismas used for general business, linked to editor Lesli Cohen’s social security number, and which thereby triggered a tax form being sent to her.

Brown, who ran the PayPal account, assumed responsibility for the fund, and apparently transferred the money to his own Canadian bank account, for reasons that remain unclear. Cohen has said she is still liable for the tax and Brown, who earlier this year relocated from Canada to Girona, Spain, has been unable to provide her with a satisfactory explanation of where the money is.

Cohen, widely perceived as an innocent party, has filed to dissolve her Cyclismas business partnership with Brown, and while the intention appears to be that the site will continue, the current row could prove a mortal blow to it.

Kimmage, who lost his job with the Sunday Times last year and is currently working as a freelance, demanded at the weekend that Brown furnish him with full accounts, but so far without success.

Brown, meanwhile is insisting that he has done nothing wrong, that he is acting in good faith, and that everything will be explained – although exactly when the donors, his former colleagues at Cyclismas, and the most important person involved, Kimmage himself, will receive that explanation is unclear.

While the fact the Paul Kimmage Defense Fund quickly reached a near six-figure sum is testament to the power of social media to unite people in a common cause, it also highlights potential pitfalls for the unwary or naïve.

Those include: why wasn’t the money put into a trust, beyond the control of a single individual? Why were tax and other implications not addressed from the outset? And why has it proved so difficult for Kimmage to obtain information?

After all, the fund is in his name and for his benefit.

Reactions on Twitter yesterday, where the various players involved in the episode each have followers numbering in several thousands, included disbelief at the news and concern over the implications for Kimmage, as well as anger from many who had donated to the fund.

Some pointed out that the episode seemed an absurd parody of the kind of satirical story on which Cyclismas built its reputation. Last month, the site partnered with Trek UK to launch the Trek-Cyclismas Professional Commuter Team, although the 1 April launch date left many scratching their heads over whether it was a spoof or for real.

Others said that Brown had outdone UCI President Pat McQuaid, the man that UCI-Overlord account was set up to parody, while for some it was fair to say there was a certain amount of satisfaction as the news broke.

Among those was Team Sky’s head of business operations Fran Millar, who has previously crossed swords with Brown on Twitter over accusations from him and others that the team lacks transparency, among other things.

“Schadenfreude *chuckle*” she posted – the second word being one Brown regularly uses in tweets from his UCI_Overlord account.

Later, she added: “I really hope the money is found + that ‪@PaulKimmage is put back in charge of it. My sympathy lies with the people who donated. Not Aaron.”

33 user comments

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step-hent wrote:
To be fair to Kimmage, it doesn't sound like he held the funds at any point. But its funny to see that some of those complaining about corruption in cycling are not so squeaky clean themselves. If it takes time to come up with an explanation as to where the money is, someone is having to make something up...

They didn't "have" to hold on to the money, but holding on to money was expected as holding on to money was so rife within the team.

To be fair, this is probably one of the most sophisticated money holding programmes I've seen in cycling...

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:09

2 Likes

...and news just in from Craggy Island:
"That money was just resting in my account."
"God it was doing that alright Ted. Grand long rest it was having."

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:14

4 Likes

@farrell

Do you actually know what you're talking about? 'Ill gotten' funds? These were donations to fund defence of a mendacious suit from two of the most ruinous figures in cycling's recent history. Donations that were freely given with no expectation - certainly in my case and that of most others I know who gave - of getting anything back. And Kimmage 'silencing' anyone who takes an alternative view? I take it you're new to the cycling world?

And what on earth 'It's like when a dog and it's (sic) owner start to look alike' is supposed to mean here?

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:28

4 Likes

dullard wrote:
@farrell

Do you actually know what you're talking about? 'Ill gotten' funds? These were donations to fund defence of a mendacious suit from two of the most ruinous figures in cycling's recent history. Donations that were freely given with no expectation - certainly in my case and that of most others I know who gave - of getting anything back. And Kimmage 'silencing' anyone who takes an alternative view? I take it you're new to the cycling world?

And what on earth 'It's like when a dog and it's (sic) owner start to look alike' is supposed to mean here?

Well done on spotting the spurious apostrophe, you have now won the internet.

Moving on to the other waffle, I'd say if money that was donated to help Kimmage's legal fund ends up being bounced in to an unrelated bank account and they cant offer an explanation why, that's pretty much ill gotten funds.

As for silencing people, that was a reference to Kimmage's recent outbursts on Twitter.

Yes, I am new to the cycling world, 1988 is pretty recent right? You condescending shithouse.

The dog and owner thing was a reference to Kimmage beginning to display some of the same traits as Armstrong.

I originally wrote it to be quite tongue in cheek but you managed to piss any humour in it right down the gutter.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:38

4 Likes

farrell wrote:
Yes, I am new to the cycling world, 1988 is pretty recent right? You condescending shithouse.

Quote of the week so far, that one.

posted by step-hent [701 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:44

3 Likes

Hey, farrell, look out the window at the lovely blue sky and take a deep breath! Don't be so touchy. 1988 was a good year to get started. You lack the humour you say you intended, my friend. For the very clear record, Kimmage himself has never had direct access to the funds, so your 'humourous' rant at him is totally off target and unwarranted. You need to tee off against Aaron Brown, not Kimmage.

Ah, so you think Kimmage is like Armstrong? Really? You're entitled to an opinion, but that doesn't make it right. Personally, on that front I think you're talking the shit you accuse me of.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:48

3 Likes

farrell wrote:
dullard wrote:
@farrell

Do you actually know what you're talking about? 'Ill gotten' funds? These were donations to fund defence of a mendacious suit from two of the most ruinous figures in cycling's recent history. Donations that were freely given with no expectation - certainly in my case and that of most others I know who gave - of getting anything back. And Kimmage 'silencing' anyone who takes an alternative view? I take it you're new to the cycling world?

And what on earth 'It's like when a dog and it's (sic) owner start to look alike' is supposed to mean here?

Well done on spotting the spurious apostrophe, you have now won the internet.

Moving on to the other waffle, I'd say if money that was donated to help Kimmage's legal fund ends up being bounced in to an unrelated bank account and they cant offer an explanation why, that's pretty much ill gotten funds.

As for silencing people, that was a reference to Kimmage's recent outbursts on Twitter.

Yes, I am new to the cycling world, 1988 is pretty recent right? You condescending shithouse.

The dog and owner thing was a reference to Kimmage beginning to display some of the same traits as Armstrong.

I originally wrote it to be quite tongue in cheek but you managed to piss any humour in it right down the gutter.


But why are problems with the defense fund "Brilliant"?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 12:51

5 Likes

dullard wrote:
Hey, farrell, look out the window at the lovely blue sky and take a deep breath! Don't be so touchy. 1988 was a good year to get started. You lack the humour you say you intended, my friend. For the very clear record, Kimmage himself has never had direct access to the funds, so your 'humourous' rant at him is totally off target and unwarranted. You need to tee off against Aaron Brown, not Kimmage.

Ah, so you think Kimmage is like Armstrong? Really? You're entitled to an opinion, but that doesn't make it right. Personally, on that front I think you're talking the shit you accuse me of.

I see why you ended up with the username you did.

1988 was a good year to get started, thanks, I'm so utterly thrilled to have met with the approval of a stranger on the internet, my inner 14 year old Myspace user is enamoured.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 13:07

3 Likes

Jeez, I love the way some of the comments go off beam (I'm no exception). But it's sad to see that this fund has been abused. Like a lot of crap in the social media you have to be careful (I hate the FB posts which promise fake giveaways, and if you type 'x' something will happen - why people think that will work I don't know). Though in this particular case I think a lot of people are surprised this has happened.

Good luck to Kimmage.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1193 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 13:13

3 Likes

Anyhow - I chipped into the fund. So that buys me a comment?
It's been absolutely powerful value for money!

I've been keeping a thread going over on the forum - feel wedded to it now - but it's beginning to read like a brilliant piece of satire.
I especially love the 'Charter of the Willing' chapter.

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [180 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 14:00

4 Likes

farrell wrote:
dullard wrote:
Hey, farrell, look out the window at the lovely blue sky and take a deep breath! Don't be so touchy. 1988 was a good year to get started. You lack the humour you say you intended, my friend. For the very clear record, Kimmage himself has never had direct access to the funds, so your 'humourous' rant at him is totally off target and unwarranted. You need to tee off against Aaron Brown, not Kimmage.

Ah, so you think Kimmage is like Armstrong? Really? You're entitled to an opinion, but that doesn't make it right. Personally, on that front I think you're talking the shit you accuse me of.

I see why you ended up with the username you did.

1988 was a good year to get started, thanks, I'm so utterly thrilled to have met with the approval of a stranger on the internet, my inner 14 year old Myspace user is enamoured.

No, I chose the username myself. It's called irony. Tends to amuse people who don't have any.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 14:07

5 Likes

On the internet no one can hear you scream.

This is turning into the Jeremy Kyle show.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1193 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 14:31

4 Likes

Meanwhile, the only ones who are really laughing are McQuaid and Armstrong.
Which makes me really really angry.

www.vulpine.cc
@aslongasicycle
@vulpinecc
@HOYvulpine

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [328 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 14:47

4 Likes

Lanceylovers still seething about their boy being just another one of the dopers.

Now THAT'S sad.

posted by Animal [33 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 15:01

1 Like

Now we know how he was able able to afford that new camper van.

posted by Some Fella [820 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 15:02

2 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
Now we know how he was able able to afford that new camper van.

As I said in another thread Kimmage had the best quote of 2012 when he was told he could no longer accompany Team Sky for the TDF. '... And I'd bought a camper van!'

Kimnage doesn't understand that Wiggins doesn't like him and had a perfect right to say no.

Now Kimmage seems pissed off that Wiggins has given access to Walsh.

I have a lot of respect for Kimnage and what he's achieved but he's hard going sometimes.

As for Farrell and Dullard. At least they're keeping it reasonably clean. Better than the dis fests you see on YouTube comments. That's Road.CC for you - promoting pointless but eloquent bickering. Wink

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1090 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 15:31

3 Likes

Kimmage has made much of the No Smoke Without Fire line of inquiry.

He didn't have access to the funds... but he allowed it to be set up in his name without accountability or transparency.

The problem for Kimmage is that he doesn't allow for other people to be taken at their word, even those who have nothing proven against them. He can't expect a different standard to be applied to him.

He's in the smokehouse but he says he's not a kipper.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [566 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 17:21

2 Likes

abudhabiChris wrote:
Kimmage has made much of the No Smoke Without Fire line of inquiry.

He didn't have access to the funds... but he allowed it to be set up in his name without accountability or transparency.

The problem for Kimmage is that he doesn't allow for other people to be taken at their word, even those who have nothing proven against them. He can't expect a different standard to be applied to him.

He's in the smokehouse but he says he's not a kipper.

No. He had no access and also had no say in it being set up. This was wholly the responsibility of other people. Kimmage may have been somewhat naive to have assumed that he could trust the people administering the fund but it's entirely unfair to smear him with the dodgy behaviour of the Cyclismas crew. Yes, Kimmage is an aggressive arse who doesn't cut other people the same slack and his attitude occasionally stinks but that doesn't mean we should stoop to the same level.

It's a complete fustercluck, but I'm quietly enjoying seeing the obnoxious UCI Overlord getting a kicking. Far too smug and pleased with himself. Perhaps he and Paul will learn a few lessons from this?

£5 of that money is mine btw, so I think I'm allowed a £5 opinion. Big Grin

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [190 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 17:51

5 Likes

step-hent wrote:
farrell wrote:
Yes, I am new to the cycling world, 1988 is pretty recent right? You condescending shithouse.

Quote of the week so far, that one.

+1

Low Speed Wobble's picture

posted by Low Speed Wobble [140 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 17:54

4 Likes

Dont like the bloke regardless of how poorly he has been treat.

However this seems to be totally out of his control and people should not tar him with the same brush as those who have been in control of the money.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2839 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 18:00

4 Likes

Chuffy wrote:
abudhabiChris wrote:
Kimmage has made much of the No Smoke Without Fire line of inquiry.

He didn't have access to the funds... but he allowed it to be set up in his name without accountability or transparency.

The problem for Kimmage is that he doesn't allow for other people to be taken at their word, even those who have nothing proven against them. He can't expect a different standard to be applied to him.

He's in the smokehouse but he says he's not a kipper.

No. He had no access and also had no say in it being set up. This was wholly the responsibility of other people. Kimmage may have been somewhat naive to have assumed that he could trust the people administering the fund but it's entirely unfair to smear him with the dodgy behaviour of the Cyclismas crew. Yes, Kimmage is an aggressive arse who doesn't cut other people the same slack and his attitude occasionally stinks but that doesn't mean we should stoop to the same level.

It's a complete fustercluck, but I'm quietly enjoying seeing the obnoxious UCI Overlord getting a kicking. Far too smug and pleased with himself. Perhaps he and Paul will learn a few lessons from this?

£5 of that money is mine btw, so I think I'm allowed a £5 opinion. Big Grin

Of course most people wouldn't blame Paul Kimmage for this mess, but it may harm his reputation and credibility. Aaron Brown collected almost $100,000 dollars in his name. Kimmage should have made sure it was kept safe and that proper accounts were kept. With so much media attention on the fund there was always going to be questions on how the money was spent, especially after the original lawsuit was dropped.

posted by NeilG83 [259 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 18:05

2 Likes

NeilG83 wrote:
Chuffy wrote:
abudhabiChris wrote:
Kimmage has made much of the No Smoke Without Fire line of inquiry.

He didn't have access to the funds... but he allowed it to be set up in his name without accountability or transparency.

The problem for Kimmage is that he doesn't allow for other people to be taken at their word, even those who have nothing proven against them. He can't expect a different standard to be applied to him.

He's in the smokehouse but he says he's not a kipper.

No. He had no access and also had no say in it being set up. This was wholly the responsibility of other people. Kimmage may have been somewhat naive to have assumed that he could trust the people administering the fund but it's entirely unfair to smear him with the dodgy behaviour of the Cyclismas crew. Yes, Kimmage is an aggressive arse who doesn't cut other people the same slack and his attitude occasionally stinks but that doesn't mean we should stoop to the same level.

It's a complete fustercluck, but I'm quietly enjoying seeing the obnoxious UCI Overlord getting a kicking. Far too smug and pleased with himself. Perhaps he and Paul will learn a few lessons from this?

£5 of that money is mine btw, so I think I'm allowed a £5 opinion. Big Grin

Of course most people wouldn't blame Paul Kimmage for this mess, but it may harm his reputation and credibility. Aaron Brown collected almost $100,000 dollars in his name. Kimmage should have made sure it was kept safe and that proper accounts were kept. With so much media attention on the fund there was always going to be questions on how the money was spent, especially after the original lawsuit was dropped.

Fair enough - although I get the impression that this has come to light precisely *because* Paul has been asking questions. Also, the report yesterday on Cycling News was the result of Paul contacting them about this. It sounds as if he's given Aaron/Cyclismas a chance to sort this out but as they've failed he's gone public.

Some of this might just stick to Paul, in a small way. After all, there are plenty of people who like him who don't *like* him (if you know what I mean).

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [190 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 18:17

9 Likes

Chuffy wrote:
After all, there are plenty of people who like him who don't *like* him (if you know what I mean).

Jesus and your Grammar teacher wept

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1193 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 19:30

6 Likes

Stinks.

Surely anyone with half a brain would have set up an escrow account with a lawyer.

posted by Nevis the cat [17 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 21:51

7 Likes

farrell wrote:

1988 was a good year to get started, thanks, I'm so utterly thrilled to have met with the approval of a stranger on the internet, my inner 14 year old Myspace user is enamoured.

You started in 1988?

Must have doped, then! Smile

posted by a.jumper [721 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 6:10

6 Likes

Je reste sans voix. What a mess .

yland's picture

posted by yland [16 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 8:21

2 Likes

a.jumper wrote:
You started in 1988?

Must have doped, then! Smile

Only the once, crashed into a parked Opel Mantra and ended up vomiting on the bonnet, but that's a story for another day.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 9:03

2 Likes

Bunch of tools for not setting up a proper trust account. Kimmage, son of god might be innocent of fraud/theft/deception etc but he's guilty of being a bit of a tit when it comes to covering his arse. I would have locked that cash down good and tight, especially as it was provided by the goodwill of the cycling public.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [391 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 9:28

3 Likes

I was tempted to take the money myself weeks ago, having hacked the paypal account - guessed the password on the first go '1anc3arm5tr0ng15ac&%t'

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [391 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 9:31

6 Likes

Simmo72 wrote:
I was tempted to take the money myself weeks ago, having hacked the paypal account - guessed the password on the first go '1anc3arm5tr0ng15ac&%t'

LoL Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor

What a classic! Quote of the thread in my book! Big Grin

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
3rd May 2013 - 22:31

3 Likes