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Apr 15 10 11:05 PM
metaphysician wrote:Scorpion13 wrote:Awesome. Gross white collar crime AND misogyny. If its somehow proven they have ties to the Nazi party, we have a hat-trick.Well, now that you mention it, the prior owners of Catalyst ( or whatever it was called before its current incarnation ) were German, who apparently did sketchy things with the money. . .
Scorpion13 wrote:Awesome. Gross white collar crime AND misogyny. If its somehow proven they have ties to the Nazi party, we have a hat-trick.
Apr 15 10 11:11 PM
Apr 16 10 12:13 AM
Frank Trollman wrote:I really should summate things a bit at this point. My original ballpark estimate of $850,000 was probably low. From the beginning, I have been told by my sources of four points of fraud:* Direct monetary transfers out of IMR's accounts. These can be anything from Bank Transfers to simple ATM withdrawals.* Unreported sales where the money was simply diverted to the Colemans rather than given to the corporation at all.* Checks written on behalf of IMR/Catalyst that were in fact for Loren Coleman's personal stuff and not for anything business related.* Inventory that was simply taken by the Colemans or the Bills that was never paid for or declared.When I collated the different accounts and the numbers being thrown around, I put the first and third together and the second and fourth together. That is, I thought that the $726k figure was the withdrawals of currency and the fraudulent checks. I thought that the $120k+ figure was the unreported convention income and the missing inventory. And I was wrong.Apparently the $726k is just literal monetary transfers, and the $120k+ is just income from conventions and the like that got pocketed rather than reported. The truth is that no one knows how many of the checks Catalyst sent out were to artists and writers and how many of them were to gardeners and plumbers. The truth is that no one knows how much company product that Loren and Randall decided to give themselves. But when you add it all together, the figure I quoted in mid-march is likely low. Maybe very low.That being said, there are broadly speaking four groups who have been victimized by this:* Topps Incorporated. They have had their royalties paid short and late. I am unaware of them having ever been paid their owed foreign sales royalties. They are a corporation that makes over $200 million a year, so I don't expect a lot of sympathy for them - but I also suspect that they will be less forgiving than other victims.* The Creative Staff. There are Battletech writers who have not been paid in 3 years. I gather there are artists in the same boat. Catalyst has been operating without a cost-of-living adjustment in wages for its entire period of operation, and it hasn't even been paying those wages on-time or in full. It's hard to even know who has been paid and who has not, since apparently Loren would write checks in front of people and then mail them much later or even just destroy them outright.* The Other Owners. IMR/Catalyst is an LLC. This means that its yearly profits are, for tax purposes, considered to be the income of the owners. This means that when Loren Coleman pocketed sales from conventions or simply took money out of the coffers without sourcing that as a valid business expense, that each of the owners still has a tax liability on some portion of that money. A tax liability on money that they did not have and did not know about, so the chances of them having reported or paid it are extremely slim. Since tax forms from 2008 were do some time ago, all of them are in the position of having explaining to do to the IRS. And that's even assuming we knew who all the owners are, which we don't since apparently some people got duplicate shares and one of the owners died without a will and Loren Coleman announced that ownership of the shares reverted to him (and not, for example, the widow).* The Game. Money has not always been available for production and shipping costs. Many books have been given a short or delayed printing. Fed up writers have abandoned numerous projects, causing delays and cancellations of upcoming products.
Apr 20 10 11:31 PM
Droogydroog wrote:For anyone registered on PACER, check out case# 10-14343-TTG in Western Washington State. Looks like some of InMediaRes Productions LLC's creditors have filed for Ch. 7.
Apr 21 10 1:08 AM
Chuckg wrote:Hot off the press at rpg.net:Droogydroog wrote:For anyone registered on PACER, check out case# 10-14343-TTG in Western Washington State. Looks like some of InMediaRes Productions LLC's creditors have filed for Ch. 7.Chapter 7 is forced liquidation bankruptcy. It means the creditors want their fucking money back now, and they're going to carve it out of your deadbeat corpse.Well, there you go. Catalyst's sad saga enters the final chapter.
Apr 21 10 1:17 AM
Apr 21 10 1:38 AM
Chuckg wrote:IIRC, Battletech is the only property that Catalyst actually owns, and thus the only one orphaned here.The Shadowrun license is held by Topps -- Catalyst was merely the subcontractor hired to develop and print it. If IMR implodes, Topps simply finds another game shop.Eclipse Phase is owned and written by Posthuman Studios, Catalyst was merely hired to print and distribute the books.Cthulhutech is property of Wildfire, same way.Edit: And, what seems to be going on is that three of Catalyst's creditors have filed a motion in federal court demanding that Catalyst go into liquidation, and the proceeds go to clear the debt. Catalyst has the ability to prevent this from happening: however, the main way it can prevent this is by actually paying what it owes, so they're gonna need to find about three-quarters of a million bucks, and find it fast, 'cause the guys who hold the debt are tired of waiting.
Apr 21 10 2:52 AM
Apr 21 10 2:12 PM
Apr 21 10 2:17 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:Remember, they are filing this on April 16th, after WildFire received all their back Cthulhutech stock to pay off the outstanding debts. Catalyst has been not paying a wide variety of debts for a long time, delivering payment of any kind only under duress. WildFire LLC made an agreement to take remaining Cthulhutech books in lieu of money to square off their debts, and when the packages were opened and the materials accounted for, Catalyst had shorted them by thirty seven thousand, two hundred and thirty six dollars and fifty nine cents.Since WildFire has been getting the runaround on payment for many months now (they terminated Catalyst's abilities to sell their books due to the non-payment of royalties back in February), so upgrading to a motion for Chapter 7 is the next logical choice. There are more than twelve creditors, so expecting more of them to sign on in the near future is a good bet. The biggest creditor (Topps) wasn't part of the initial filing, but they easily could join. They have the biggest claim.
Apr 21 10 11:58 PM
Apr 23 10 2:42 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:Well, Jason Hardy is doing his damndest to get Corp Guide out before the switchover to the new company. As far as I can tell, this is mostly a spite thing. What happened is that at least one of the writers (confirmed: Robert Derie) withdrew his contract from the book entirely after Jason locked him out of the freelancer board for being negative about Catalyst's future. So Jason got some people with no Shadowrun experience and himself to rewrite those parts of the book in a huge hurry.And by no Shadowrun experience, I mean no Shadowrun experience. One of them seriously asked the remaining freelancers as a whole which came first, Shadows of Asia or Corporate Enclaves, because she couldn't tell upon reading them (note for non-Shadowrun fans reading this: those books are written in a "forum post" style, which means that all the comments have literal dates on them that you could just read). So in order to spite Bobby, Jason is getting the section rewritten by someone so clueless as to Shadowrun history that she does not know whether the 2060s happened before or after the 2070s. Then he s going to try to get a small print run made before the license clicks over so that it becomes too late to change and Bobby can't sell his drafts to the new company.It really is a phenomenally petty move on his part.
Apr 24 10 2:25 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:Jason shut down the Freelancer forums altogether.So concerned are they about the fact that they have leaks that they are shutting down communication with everyone. They are starting over with personal messages to people they think they can trust. Communications are now officially at an all time low.Weird how simply... untrusting... people get when they are themselves completely untrustworthy.
Stahlseele wrote:I'm guessing it might have something to do with the Corp. Guide chapter written and redacted by Ancient History. Which got rewritten by Jason Hardy and leaked out to Ancient History it seems, by not one but FOUR people. And he did not have one good word for the draft it seems.
Jason Hardy wrote:Quick comment on the freelancer forums--a few weeks ago the password to the forums was changed, and as part of the process of giving out the new password I asked people if they had sent in NDAs, and if they hadn't, to send new NDAs in. The fact that a non-final draft leaked out (and some other things) indicated pretty clearly that leaks were still happening, so for the time being I decided to use other channels to communicate with freelancers.It has nothing to do with people taking shots at me. People can like what I write, people can not like what I write, and that's fine. I've been writing a long time, and I can accept criticism. But it is unfair to writers working on Shadowrun to ask them to put their drafts into a forum that is supposed to be private but is not. Writing in a shared world is generally a collaborative process, and it's valuable to have a chance to put up drafts that you know are imperfect so that you can get input from the other freelancers. The fact that imperfect drafts could be sent out to people who were not on the boards would inevitably (and understandably, in my view) make freelancers gun shy about posting drafts there, and that would hurt the working process. So I came up with a new process that would allow information to be shared.Also, there are other reasons for keeping drafts private, including keeping a lid of what we are working on. If I don't believe the forums can support that kind of confidentiality, then the forums become a less useful tool. I tried to boost confidentiality one way, and it seemed not to work. So I'm trying another way.
Apr 26 10 10:50 PM
Apr 27 10 7:51 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:Jason dresses up his productions with some fancy stuff, but basically his output has been very low and not high quality. He quotes his word count, but he's padding that with fiction. Specifically, as a Battletech author (having penned three Battletech novels, including one with Randall Bills in 2006), he was given a single - and not well regarded - Shadowrun book to write. It's a paperback novel, and not a good one. It is - of course - almost as many words as Augmentation. But it's basically fanfiction. Nothing that happens in that book is canon or had to be passed by other shadowrun people. Despite having been written after SR4, it takes place in 2063 and features the lives and times of some throwaway characters that we don't care about and never hear from again. His other major accomplishments are... more fanfiction. He wrote up some fiction inserts for some books. Whoop-de-doo. Someone has to do it of course, but it doesn't really matter who it is. As it happens, he wrote that bit in the SR4A book about the gem that has powers that don't make any sense and aren't replicable in the rules. And some people telling each other stories about the history of the world that are specifically outed as false inside the story. So it's a serious waste of space in the core book. That was 4 pages of completely wasted space that he slipped into the book.As for his stint as developer, he has had the reins for almost exactly a year. During that year he has successfully brought out... two books. Dawn of the Artifacts: Dusk (an adventure) and Vice (which was mostly written and developed by Peter Taylor. The next pieces he was supposed to bring out include Corp Guide and Sixth World Almanac. But those books have been in development hell for a long time. Peter Taylor actually sent Corp Guide to layout in April of 2009. It has had an actual fucking birthday in development hell! You want to know why Shadowrun hasn't won any awards in the last year? Because they haven't been releasing books!Now a good part of that is that there hasn't been money to pay artists, editors, or printers, but also a big part of that is that Jason Hardy hasn't done his job. Like, at all.Whatever his plans for moving forward were, they were either bad plans or he hasn't implemented them. Because there hasn't been a single book that Jason Hardy developed that has gone to print in the entire year he has been supposedly implementing his plans. It's technical writing. It has a 90 day development cycle. He has had four such cycles and has delivered zero products.
May 1 10 5:24 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:But really this all gos back to gross mismanagement. And Dickery. Lots of dickery. Consider, in the three years that Shadowrun 1st edition was up and running, they managed to get out The Grimoire, the Street Samurai's Catalog, Virtual Realities, Rigger Black Book, Paranormal Animals of North America, Shadowbeat, Sprawl Sites, Shadowtech, Two Native American Nations books, Seattle, London, and The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America. That's 13 books, more than four a year, before we count the 4 novels and 9 Adventures (Universal Brotherhood, DNA/DOA, Mercurial, Dreamchipper, Queen Euphoria, Bottled Demon, Harlequin, Dragon Hunt, and Total Eclipse). Which in total doubles the output. And that was with a writing staff that was basically four core guys writing (Tom Dowd, Robert Charette, Paul Hume, and Jordan Weisman), pulling in additional talent mostly for adventures. We are 5 years in to the SR4 experience, and we only get to 13 books if we include adventures and the core book rerelease.The idea that it would take 9 months to rope together a book in the modern age when you can email drafts back and forth in moments is insulting.
May 7 10 2:42 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:Update: CGL has announced that they'll be selling e-books of novels! Now you may ask yourself: "what is that about?" and you'd probably give yourself the obvious answer: "to make some money."And that's basically true. Even reasonable, considering that making money is supposed to be what a company does with their time. Nevertheless, most of you are probably waiting with baited breath to hear me tell you why it's a bad sign. Which of course, it is. Because CGL is in such dire financial straights that any news, even no news, is bad news. If the news doesn't come in "a really rich dude who really likes Shadowrun dropped 250 Gs on IMR with little expectation of getting anything in return in the near future" pretty damn quick, you can probably bet money that anything that happens at IMR is just people maneuvering to be closest to the parachutes when fuel runs out.[...]Remember how people withheld copyright on books like Running Wild and Vice? The reason that was possible is because IMR is contractually required to send payment to their writers within 30 days of the books being published. And if there's no publishing? They don't ever have to pay at all. That's why information from Shadows of Latin America was used in Ghost Cartels without ever having paid a dime to anyone who wrote anything for Shadows of Latin America. No books were ever printed, so the countdown for when those concepts have to be paid for never started. And yeah, IMR is in the same position vis a vis a pure e-book sale of books that were contracted for print release. The actual date when they have to pay money for the writing of those books won't ever come as long as they don't actually print them. And since the transactions of internet sales are instant - even if the authors pull their contracts, all they will have to do is stop selling them - they won't actually owe any money to anyone at that point. And with so few people in the office, you can guess how long it'll take them to acknowledge any such withdrawal claim.So yes, the pure e-book publication is a way to attempt to squeeze some amount of money out of peoples' writing without actually paying for it. There is ample precedent for this, and it really should not surprise anyone at this point.But I promised to get to the whole printing being a cash-upfront situation - mostly. There are in fact printers who will take promises to pay and bill later. And Loren Coleman found some of them. He found four of them. One in Thailand, one in China, one in Canada, and one in the United States. And he stiffed all of them. Which means that all four of them are currently holding the remaining books until IMR pays them. And good luck to them with that.
May 7 10 2:44 PM
Frank Trollman wrote:In related news, it's Audit Week at IMR! They are sending out their "records" to everyone who ever freelanced for money with Catalyst. Except, you know, their records don't actually go back that far. Or maybe they are just being vindictive. I didn't get one, and neither did a number of other people who worked for IMR even this year.I'm not sure what to make of that. I really don't see how deliberately failing to contact genuine business expenses could possibly be to their advantage at this point. Possibly they decided to risk claiming that they couldn't find me? Not sure what I would say to the auditor that would be worse than saying nothing at all.
May 18 10 3:00 PM
May 19 10 5:29 AM
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