Motions: Sanction, Strike, Reconsider… My Parry!

image My move.  Uploaded an index of all the pleadings and filed a package last week that includes a number of things:

Motion to Sanction Fitzpatrick – cause he really shouldn’t be lying or attacking a shareholder in a close corporation.

Motion to Strike Affidavits – so Ward Parry, Cory Goodale, Moshe Pritsker, and Thomas Fitzpatrick all have put forward affidavits.  And it’s all quite funny. 

On Affidavits

Pritsker and Fitzpatrick don’t understand the technology involved, so abuse terminology in an effort shove me into Cinderella’s statutory slippers.  In effect, they are trying to use the same laws as the ones used against Aaron Swartz (wikipedia) and Weev (wikipedia).  Flattered, but no.  I am filing Beracah’s affidavit, which should explain the technical matters quite well along with my affidavit of how all actions I took were authorized (Affidavit 1) and how I didn’t access MyJoVE computer network or any “facility” (Affidavit 2).  Not to mention that there is no damage or possibility of damage.  Here I have Robert Ross and Beracah weigh in (more on that later).

Cory Goodale – Cory is in way over his head.  He is talking about authority without actually understanding the situation.  Really should know better than that.

And then there is Ward Parry…  Do Not LockFirst off, I only now got the pun in his name.  Awesome.  But that’s about as far as awesome goes – I don’t even really want to touch his affidavit.  But, since it’s in the public domain and all, I should respond.  Let’s just say that Ward and I have had “professional differences”…  like that one shouldn’t leave “Do Not Lock” Post-It notes on doors in Somerville, because that could result in theft (yes, it happened – both the note followed by the theft).  Or that we should strive to improve copy (Ward and I had a bit of an e-run-in, when I temporarily took over as the CEO while Moshe was in Korea for his wedding).

Anyway, all this is moot.  Moshe and I started working on JoVE in 2006 and I was and remain a co-founding partner at JoVE (oh early blog coverage) – it’s that simple.  Before Parry was even there, I was the one who built our first in-house CRM for both editorial and library departments. I was the one doing damage control (FriendFeed) on Moshe’s abrupt decision to change our business model without giving users or even our editors a heads-up on April 1st, 2009 – everyone thought was an April Fool’s joke. I was the one who had to shut down our editorial assistant program in 2010 (part of the editorial department) in order to put in training.  It was I who moved our invoicing over to Quickbooks from Google Sites (yeah, that was ridiculous…)!  And so on and so forth – I was involved in pretty much every aspect of the business.

So I was a co-founding partner, part of the core team that took the company from nothing to north of $5MM in revenues and Ward…  and Ward surely played his part – he is good at sales and he brought tremendous value as a salesman when we brought him on… in 2010.  I am not so sure of his recent performance, but I’ll leave that discussion for another time. So, Ward’s affidavit is simply an ethically dubious attempt to score points.  Sad really.

But while I am not particularly surprised at Ward’s affidavit, I am very surprised at the affidavit that was provided by Beth Hovey (Affidavit).  To be frank, I’ve never really felt betrayed…  that is until now.  Moshe is Moshe.  Klaus is Klaus.  But I thought Beth and I had a good relationship – one of trust and mutual personal and professional respect.  I’ve counseled Beth when she started, tried to support her as much as I could as she grew with the company.  When there were internal misunderstandings between her and her reports, I would take steps to try to resolve them (usually behind the scenes)…  I don’t recall a single instance when Beth told me “not to tell [our] staff what to do” or really a single confrontation with her – the entire paragraph 7 is ridiculous as I am sure she never held those sentiments when we worked…  not to mention that it’s verifiably (and unmodestly) untrue – I am pretty sure that my guys would back me up on this if need be…

So the affidavit is pretty blatantly written by Moshe, and I understand why his Machiavellian plan calls for this step.  But for Beth to sign her name under such bullshit?  That’s…  not just sad.  That’s depressing.

On Reputation

Anyway, in the meantime, reputation and ethics are important – especially when there is a smear campaign being orchestrated against you.  So I asked both Beracah and Robert Ross to confirm that, from their vantage point, I am ethical and professional.  Between the two of them, hard to imagine a more credible endorsement.

To those asking about why I haven’t reached out for support to past and present employees, there are two primary reasons. 

1) I don’t want to pull anyone in unless I absolutely have to.  After I spoke to one of our younger talents (a friendly chat), I heard that Moshe dragged him in to give a “deposition”.  Never mind that it was an interrogation and public intimidation rather than a deposition – a deposition would require a court recorder and the opposing side to be present (wikipedia), but dragging people into the conflict is not exactly a good way to thank them for their hard work.  So I’ve been keeping away from most people to minimize how our conflict (and association with me) might affect them directly.

2) There is a temporary restraining order that was granted precluding me from communicating with company employees (I know, holy shit, right?).  Backstory: about a year in after my freeze-out, I changed Moshe’s password on his email address in an effort to elicit a conversation.  As a Domain Name Holder, director, partner, etc. did so in the interests of the Corporation (Beth left around that time, which was the last straw – how could we, a supposedly growing and exciting journal, lose our head of editorial?!).  Fitzpatrick proceeded to file an emergency motion – I was pretty much dragged into court the same day (i.e. no opportunity to prepare) and Judge Kimberly Budd granted an overbroad temporary restraining order and preliminary junction (PDF).  The way a friend of mine explained “Look, she is dealing with rapists and kids from broken homes.  She really doesn’t have the time to scrutinize emergency corporate issues of this sort – easier to grant injunctions than risk causing damage.”  OK, fine.  Let’s set aside the spirit of justice and that injunctions should be no broader than necessary (wiki-law).  So I filed a motion for reconsideration, denied (PDF).  Motion to dissolve?  Treated as motion for reconsideration, denied without comment (PDF).  So now I filed Motion for Reconsideration of Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction – if this one doesn’t get through, I’ll be appealing this ridiculousness.  Judicial system is definitely a work in progress…

Anyway, back to people – I don’t want to involve anyone unless absolutely necessary.  It’s Moshe, Klaus, and I who have failed to find a balance resulting in this mess and it should be up to us to resolve it with minimal collateral damage.  That said, to all those who have reached out with your support, I really appreciate it – I’ll definitely let you know if I need it.

On Strategy

Given the Machiavellian behaviors observed, I decided to check out The Prince.  A foreword by Michael Ennis made for a particularly interesting read – he suggests that The Prince may have actually been a form of political satire.  It’s hard otherwise to reconcile The Prince with Machiavelli’s Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius, which according to Ennis, “extolled government by the people rather than princes, thus hewing much closer to Machiavelli’s personal philosophy and politics”.  Moreover, Discourses apparently influenced Thomas Jefferson and so “had a role in shaping the American republic”.  And I wonder how often we take as serious that advice, which is intended to mock human nature.  A Modest Proposal, anyone?

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