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PostPosted: August 28th, 2006, 7:55 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
From: Angela Hoy
To: vincentg@ideacast.com, hostmaster@ideacast.com, hostmaster@ntnation.com, editor@evote.com, laura@ideacast.com, z00k33p3r@hotmail.com, laurap@ideacast.com
Subject: COMPLAINT about Evote / IdeaCast
Date sent: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 16:51:59 -0400

August 3, 2006

Vincent Garafalo - vincentg@ideacast.com, hostmaster@ideacast.com, hostmaster@ntnation.com
Laura Painter - editor@evote.com, laura@ideacast.com, z00k33p3r@hotmail.com, laurap@ideacast.com
IDC O Inc.
785 Williams St. Suite 162
Longmeadow, MA 01106

IdeaCast, Inc. / Evote
801 Hidalgo Avenue / 111 Webber Avenue
Heathrow, FL 32746 / Dayton, OH 45749
P(303)619-4491

Payment Processing Center
P. O. Box 2994
Phoenix, AZ 85062
Info # (800) 278-6302
Code on checks: EVOTE3CICOPS33414

WritersWeekly.com has received four complaints about:
EVote Services / evote.com / IdeaCast, Inc./ ideacast.com / IDC O Inc.

WritersWeekly.com is a publication that publishes information for and
about freelance writers. The publication is the largest-circulation
freelance writing ezine in the world.

As part of that information, WritersWeekly.com publishes a Warnings
section on its website and in its newsletter. This warning section
contains reports about publications that are unprofessional in dealing
with writers, have refused to pay writers money owed to them, who have
not abided by their contracts, or who have unfair contract terms. These
reports are used by WritersWeekly.com's subscribers to decide which
publications they should and should not work with.

Your firm has been submitted to us for inclusion in the
WritersWeekly.com Whispers and Warnings section.

Step one of our investigation of this report is to gather all relevant
correspondence between your publication and the person submitting the
complaint so that we can piece together that person's side of the story.
Step one of our investigation has been completed.

BB* alleges you owe him $5152.00.

RC* alleges you owe him $2862.70.

AL* alleges you owe him $246.00

BC* alleges you owe him $4283.80

*Names not published here but were, of course, provided to
the publisher.

See complete allegations under my signature.

-----------------
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
-----------------

The second step in our investigation is to send this communication to
your firm to get its side of the story. If you have evidence disputing
these allegations, or would like to make your own statement about these
allegations for publication in our report, please email
angela@writersweekly.com within two business days.

***All correspondence for our investigations must be in writing and is
subject to publication.***

Our report on your firm is scheduled for inclusion in our publication
next Wednesday.

If there is no response to these allegations, WritersWeekly.com will
still publish this complaint, but our readers will not be able to read
your side of the story.

We appreciate your prompt response in this matter.

Angela Hoy
Publisher
WritersWeekly.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE COMPLAINTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: BB
Date sent: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 11:19:59 -0400

Here's the deal with Evote. I first started writing for them regularly
in October of 2004, although I'd written them a couple of pieces before
that. Payment was always made, although it was often made later than
promised. This went on until late 2005, by which time they owed me
$5,152. The editor, Laura Painter, assured me that the publisher
simply "lost interest" in Evote between election cycles, but that
payment was always made eventually. A year later, I've received dozens of
assurances that the check was about to be processed, or had been
processed, or was to be sent out next week, or had already been sent
out.

The company that operates Evote is Ideacast. Here's
Ideacast's official address:

IDC O Inc.
785 Williams St. Suite 162
Longmeadow, MA 01106

Checks are issued from the following payment center:

Payment Processing Center
P. O. Box 2994
Phoenix, AZ 85062
Info # (800) 278-6302
Code on checks: EVOTE3CICOPS33414

Now, the identity of the publisher itself is apparently a secret - his
name doesn't appear anywhere on Ideacast's old website (which has now
been taken down, but which of course can be viewed at www.archive.org),
and when I e-mailed Laura several times over the last couple of months
and asked her point-blank to give me the guy's name and contact info,
she simply stopped responding. Luckily, I know the fellow's name anyway
- it's Vincent Garafalo, a Massachusetts resident who seems to have run
some tech companies up in that area over the past ten years. I know
this through a CNN reporter who's written for evote far
longer that I had and who told me the following in an e-mail:

"Laura is of no real help in this matter. She's perfectly nice, but
has no clout and is regularly ignored by the publisher."

vincentg@ideacast.com

Above is the email address for Vincent Garafalo, one of the owners of
Ideacast and the person who a couple months ago swore to Laura that
we'd be paid.

Vin is otherwise a blank slate, at least online. You cannot find an
address or phone number, etc. I actually met him at the Republican
Convention in New York, where he was taking photographs for the site.
They were paying me quite a bonus for being there (and Boston, too), so
things were relatively good. When I spoke with him face-to-face, I
expressed some concern about the sloppy payment system and he said he'd
look into it.

He gave me his cell phone number so we could talk about the pictures I
needed. Last year, I looked up the number again on my phone records
and tried calling him. No reason to get excited: if it's still his
number, he ignores voice messages as well as he ignores emails.

So, of course, since the convention was in late July, I didn't get paid
the large sum until October! Same time frame for Boston.

I put up with it because Evote was ideal in so many ways for me. I
traveled and they let me do whatever story I wanted related to
politics. As someone with Washington press passes and who's face was
well-known among newsmakers, they got the kind of access they would
have had to pay a lot more for otherwise. And my presence at events
and on conference calls made a bit of a name for the site, particularly
among the presidential campaign staffs.

But the payment problem became permanent and I finally stopped writing
for them late last summer.

I sent a registered letter in the fall to the 'Ideacast Operations
Center' listed on the payment checks I had received and copied.
Someone signed for it. But on the one and only occasion Vin replied to
an email I'd sent about the matter, he told me he had never gotten a
registered letter demanding payment; and couldn't understand why I was
threatening legal action!

Evote.com has been abandoned, and Laura foolishly thinks that somehow
she'll still be paid. I haven't spoken with her in a couple months."

Not only does www.evote.com still exist, albeit frozen in time at
the point when Bob and myself stopped contributing to the site,
but Ideacast seems to be in the process of
revamping and starting again - there's a new test-site up at
http://web.evote.com/. And, of course, they're still using our work,
including the large chunk of our work for which they have yet to pay.

Evote owes me three checks - July 2005, $2069, August
2005, $615, September 2005, $2468. Laura Painter's e-mail addresses are
editor@evote.com, laura@ideacast.com, and z00k33p3r@hotmail.com.

Thanks,

BB

~~~~~

From: RC
Date sent: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 15:49:22 -0700

Dear Angela Hoy,

I have below the most complete accounting of what I am owed - as you
can tell from Laura Painter's response, she agrees with the totals.

To sum up:

July 2005: $262.60
October 2005: $988.40
November 2005 (Wilson update): $88.10
December 2005 (10 dumbest): $901.20
September 2005 (10 smartest article, commissioned, sent, never
rejected nor published): $622.40

Total: $2862.70

I want to thank both of you for the time you've put in and continue
dedicating to this cause.

Regards,
RC

Begin forwarded message:

From: Laura <laurap@ideacast.com>
Date: December 14, 2005 11:43:33 AM PST
To: [RC]
Subject: Re: Congrats!

Hi [RC], I know the lateness of checks must be incredibly
irritating -- I'll have to ask for your patience on it. I have
every assurance you'll be paid. I've worked for Ideacast for over
a decade now -- and this happens from time to time. The check
system backs up and gets screwed, and the contractor checks get
delayed. I apologize for the delay, I don't have any specific
information right now -- but I'll of course email you the moment I
hear precise information. It's perfectly understandable if you
wish to suspend content with us until you are paid the backlog,
which I'm hoping will occur any time now.
In other news, I've got a really neat-o story that I'm not sure if
you'd want to write. It's appropriate for PCGamer, Wired, CNET,
etc. And, it's my own personal story -- so I don't want to write
it myself. But if you're interested in MMORPG/game drama, let me know.

[RC] wrote:

Hi Laura.

Glad to see the site is back up! That must be a load off your
mind (and workload).

By the way, I hate talking money, but at the moment I've got a big
backlist. According to my reckoning, I've got a July check for
$262.60, an October check for $988.40, a November check for the
Wilson update after Woodward's testimony (no statement yet), and
the 10 smartest and 10 dumbest still coming. If you could let me
know what's up with the pay for those pieces, that'd be great.

Other than that, what's next? Do you have anything you'd like
worked on, or shall I come back with some ideas?

Looking forward to working with you again now that the site is fixed.

-[RC]
*****

Begin forwarded message:

From: Laura <laurap@ideacast.com>
Date: April 10, 2006 5:22:29 AM PDT
To: [RC]
Subject: Re: Payment Status

Hello [RC],

I heard from the publisher last week, and he said he's going to
settle up with all folks who are owed payment, including yourself.
The new site is still being worked on, and if he said he'd pay
outstanding amounts last week, that usually means payment shortly,
within another 2 weeks. I hope it's reassuring that evote.com
hasn't gone out of business, but it does need to settle up with
contractors including you -- and I was really glad to finally hear
that something's being done about it. I'll try to get more info
this week for you and let you know as soon as I hear back.

On the software development front, take a look at ganked.com -- we
have posted parts of the story there (however incoherently, the
site was slapped up from pre-deposition notes!)

[RC] wrote:

Hi Laura,

Well, it's been a good chunk of time and still no word. I also
notice the site hasn't been updated since my 10 dumbest article,
which must be the last one you received.

So, can I ask, what's going on? Is evote dead? Is the company
bankrupt? I ask because, if the company does go to bankruptcy
court, I've got to file a claim (at the moment I'm owed just
under $3000, so it's substantial enough to warrant it).

Please don't misunderstand - I don't blame you nor hold you
accountable, as I know these issues aren't an editor's fault.
However, I'd still like to be kept in the loop about what's
happening so I can act appropriately.

Also, I never heard back from you about the article you wanted to
do re: software development. Still interested in that?

Regards,
[RC]

On Jan 16, 2006, at 11:23 PM, Laura wrote:

Hello [RC],

I have yet to hear a status on payment or an ETA, but I'm
hopeful that I'll get word soon (this week.) I'll be in touch
this week regardless!

Thanks for your patience,

Laura

*****
[RC]

~~~~~

From: [AK]
Date sent: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 17:34:00 -0700

Hello Angela Hoy.

Here's my tally:

66.00 July 2005
48.00 Sept 2005
78.00 Oct 2005
54.00 Nov 2005 (no actual statement from Nov despite repeated
requests)
_____

246.00 total

Many thanks for your willingness to pursue this matter!

[AK]
Fictioneer, Script Writer, Content Developer

~~~~~

From: [BC]
Date sent: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 09:28:27 -0700 (PDT)

Ms. Hoy,

I did substantial amounts of writing for them, including covering the
2004 conventions, at a very good rate per word.

Lateness of payment was always an issue, as you'll see below, but
eventually, checks did arrive. However, even our contact at Evote,
Laura
Painter supposedly has not been paid in months.

Vincent Garofalo is the scoundrel in all this. I met him once--at the
New York convention--and even then told him about payment problems. A
year ago, the problem became permanent, starting with July's word count;
though I did receive payment for August (hence it's not copied below).

All attempts to contact Vincent via email did not receive a reply,
save
for one time when I threatened legal action. Otherwise, he is a blank
slate.

Any help you may be able to provide us is appreciated; and if you can
suggest a lawyer/collection agent, whereby we could pool our resources,
that would be great.

Thanks,
[BC]

(three emails copied below)

From: "Laura" <laurap@ideacast.com>
To: [BC]
Subject: EVOTE.COM TALLY JULY 2005
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 22:31:59 -0400

[BC]
Expected Check: $2818.60

Thanks [BC], I am hopeful that payments for June and July will not be
as late as they were in the last cycle. I think that you're definitely
working on meeting the editorial guidelines, and that's much
appreciated!

Total Published Word Count: 14093 @.20 = 2818.60

July 25, 2005
Pro-Choice Groups Bewildered As Dems Work to Build Appearances on Roberts
Word Count: 2255

July 19, 2005: Awaiting the SC Nominee, Litmus Test Battle Looms in August
Word Count: 1711

July 18, 2005
Libby Might Be Named, But Rove Still the Target
Word Count: 2889

July 6, 2005
Activists Break out the Phone Lists, Spam Tools Ready to Fight
Word Count: 2320

July 1, 2005
O'Connor's Retirement Causes a Battle Activists Are Ready For
Word Count: 2758

June 27, 2005
Gingrich Prepares for the Coming War for the Nomination
Word Count: 2160


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

From: "Laura" <laurap@ideacast.com>
To: [BC]
Subject: SEPTEMBER 2005
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 11:11:30 -0400

I realize you have yet to receive your July and August checks, I'm hopeful
this can be resolved soon.


************************************************************
[BC]
Expected Check: $1120.40

Total Published Word Count: 5602 @.20 = 1120.40

September 26, 2005
A Roberts Confirmation May Reveal Conservative Rift, Provide Opening for Democrats
Word Count: 1940

September 19, 2005
Dems Make Plans, Hillary Emerges from the Floodwaters
Word Count: 1448

August 30, 2005
The George Allen Road Show Rehearsals for 2008 Continue
Word Count: 2214

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 15:51:25 -0500
From: "Laura" <laurap@ideacast.com>
To: [BC]
Subject: October 2005 EVOTE.COM tally

You did in fact have a piece during October. Here's the tally... I
haven't heard back on July checks, but I have every reason to believe
you will receive it.
************************************************************
[BC]
Expected Check: $344.80
Published Word Count: 1724 @ .20

October 11, 2005 Conservatives Still Unhinged Over Miers Nomination
Word Count: 1724

~~~~~

PUBLISHER RESPONDS (sort of)

Angela --

Please forward this to Sam Fasani at Ideacast..... samf@ideacast.com
(cc'd on this email). Laura Painter doesn't work for either Ideacast or
Evote.com, and hasn't for a while.

Also, without really looking at all the details below, I can say that at
least one of the "writers" you mention has had a history of problems
with IDC -- you might not want to take all this at face value and I
suspect there is quite a bit that isn't being disclosed to you.

Vincent

~~~~~

WRITERSWEEKLY COMMENTS:
We sent the complaint to Sam Fasani on August 8th, but have heard nothing since. WritersWeekly strongly urges all writers to avoid this firm.


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