Corgi Events to disband after staff upheaval following Sin City Murr Con's first year
Corgi Events LLC, a for-profit organization that operated five furry and two brony conventions, is to be disbanded according to a letter released by one of the conventions, AquatiFur, on February 12th. This follows a series of events and malfeasance concerns that started with an unusual email sent out to their Dealer’s Den mailing list. This letter, sent February 8th, alleged the LLC's sole-proprietor, Corey “Treble” Woods, was going to file for bankruptcy and bail on the organization.
This troubling news followed a stressful slate of Corgi Events running Sin City Murr Con’s première instance, just after Painted Desert Fur Con a month prior. Testimony from Boiler, a prior member of staff, shared their side of the story on this unrelenting demand on staff. It talked of a loss of faith in their organization’s leader due a spate of problematic behavior, including alleged drunkenness, prolonged response times to urgent financial matters, and delays in compensation. Tempers finally blew over into the public sphere when Treble terminated Koi from staff, a person who he admitted was running many day-to-day operations.
Treble: [The Dealer's Den Email] is not accurate! The person just quit because I fired KoiVixen. The con is/will/and will always be happening.
Finix: I'd send out another email then.
Treble: As soon as I get access to that list I plan to. This has all happened in the last 10 minutes-ish. I was super back offish with my company, letting Koi run it. So I need to figure this all out. Thank you and please bare with me.
-Twitter Thread Feb 8, 2022; bold added for emphasis.
As these stories were coming out, others had brought up an issue with Treble’s taxes that caused additional concerns about their ability to manage the LLC’s financial obligations – a delinquent tax warrant for $86,556.85 in his home state of Wisconsin, filed on December 13th, 2021. In response, the convention leader stated that they were just resolving a missed filing with the IRS and there wasn't too much to worry about. Lawyer Boozy Badger indicated that a tax warrant should not be viewed in the same light as a criminal warrant, and cannot be used as evidence of other malfeasance, but those running any organization should always be wary of their tax obligations, lest they end up like Al Capone.
The case between Treble and Lemonbrat was also brought up, in which the fursuit creator had alleged that Treble, who was in charge of their books, embezzled $40,000 of funds to line their own pockets. This case was settled out of court. During all of this, multiple staff members announced resignations and began to pull back resources they contributed, including their web hosting and services.
With concerns over the owner of the LLC piling up over the course of four days from the initial dealer's den email, two letters were released indicating that Corgi Events would be disbanding. After this dissolution, the seven conventions they ran announced they will fall under different proprietors. The two brony conventions – Whinny City Pony Con and Ponyville Ciderfest – will be run by a yet-to-be-established non-profit organization. Four of the furry conventions – DenFur, Golden State Fur Con, Painted Desert Fur Con, and AquatiFur – are to be run by a non-profit organization called Anthropomorphic Events Incorporated Organization United. AEIOU may also run Sin City Murr Con, but given the tumultuous events of its first year, the letter seems to imply it is at risk. It also indicates that while Treble may help in the transfer, they'll be stepping aside once matters are finalized.
Instead of letting everything crash and burn, he has agreed to this transfer of property and responsibility to the new nonprofit organization. Treble is neither a board member of the new nonprofit organization, nor is it our intention to make him one.
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"It also indicates that while Treble may help in the transfer, they'll be stepping aside once matters are finalized"
Based on internal Corgi Events chat provided by Omnom, Treble will remain on as an advisor with no set end date and will continue to have his equipment and other assets still under his control indefinitely. Given the letter is not forthcoming in mentioning that Treble will be an advisor nor a goalpost as to when that role would end, there is concern AEIOU is just a new coat of paint, especially given the counter actions taken against those in the chat when this news was revealed.
Boozy 'for no particular reason' just posted a thread that seems to be (not legal advice) on how an organization wishing to peel away from dependence on the prior org need to go: https://twitter.com/BoozyBadger/status/1493748396183666688?s=20&t=U09pLrxcH1re1l...
And of course to work with third party-consuling during the process.
My non-legal advice to those outside the organization but are local furs to these organizations, particularly those who were relieved of their duties and have the chops to run a convention. Go into cocoon mode. Your experience with the convention was you as a hungry caterpillar getting the information and abilities needed to create value for the fandom and your own life. Now is the time to stabilize your own books and life and prepare a side fund for in case the worst fears come to pass and this is Treble doing a smoke and mirrors trick.
Because if it is, and what is stated about him is true, then inevitably it will come crashing down. And at that time you need to be ready to break from the cocoon into butterfly mode to fill in the empty vacuum left behind. Use the time they are "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" to build and prepare in the background.
If you are met with a predictable situation, it's best to prepare for that situation. If they defy those expectations and succeed, then that's good for the artists in the area and you save your money and energy. If they fail, then at least you're ready to throw your hat in when it does to alleviate the pain points.
How unrealistic was that CSI? A dude freaking dies, and nobody even seems to notice at the fictional PaFCon. In real life, the Las Vegas furry orgy can't even get started for two years and then instantly folds because the guy in charge is incompetent and/or a criminal.
Just about every. Single. One. Of the whistleblower type accusations come from people who themselves have a lot of bad history and things to hide. It paints a picture of people who let a lot of things slide if it was good for them and their image and advantage, even if it hurt others.
Noelle White posts: https://www.facebook.com/dusk.white/posts/1375112802931187
Having been involved with helping staff at Duckon and others and then being a founding staff member of MFF, this was pretty heartbreaking to read. That isn't how it's supposed to be. Every convention I've helped staff, the dept heads and core staff all made it very clear that they played a small part in the convention working. I've always felt appreciated and tried to help make those working with me feel the same. It's hard work, but fun and always felt worth it at the end hearing how good a time all those attending had. I hope you get to staff a properly set up convention at some point just to get to have that.
I think hard work isn't appreciated until it's gone many times.
Stories like this Corgi LLC fallout, or other more bombastic failures in convention spaces, really make you appreciate the dedication that it takes to have a gathering survive for a decade or more.
I have to be honest... My initial reaction to all this is purely selfish. I have to ask: Is there going to be a Southern California furry fandom convention, or not? CaliFur imploded due to personnel problems and attacks from the alt right, and now Golden State Fur Con is questionable (at very least) due to financial issues, personal and institutional. Southern California is too big and too full of active furry fans not to have a dedicated, well-run, and above all FUN furry convention, regularly. I hope all this works out soon.
Simon Fox of... fawksnews has put together a timeline of some relevant events, which might help to understand given how many cons are involved.
I also saw a discussion where someone has been accused of forging traceroute evidence and then trying to hide it in order to take a pot shot at a sysadmin. Why people think doing that is a good idea when the fandom is full of geeks who will dig into that stuff is beyond me.
The timeline is useful for sure. For this one I had to put together a list of items and put it in order, surprised I could get it down to 4 paragraphs, but brevity in this case is for the best. It clearly shows that they were growing their business too fast without establishing that they were capable of running a handful profitably. Because the reality is, if you can't make one convention successful financially you are not going to be able to do it with seven.
One of the biggest issues with a for-profit model for cons is they are not going to be able to invest in money-generating assets. Most expenses are operational and maintenance, any capital investment is to offset those costs [equipment]. You can only really use a exponential growth model if you're using a Steve Easterbrook model (McDonalds/The Founder) and have the franchise own the land that the franchisees lease. If you don't have that kind of foundation your growth is going to need to be much slower to ensure you can even keep your one item.
And it must be noted, even McDonalds didn't start off with 7 stores in a decade: https://www.oldest.org/food/mcdonalds-usa/
There are some items in Faux News's spreadsheet I didn't know about. Like the American Express lawsuit against Treble. I mean, if both the government and the private enterprises are filing suits for their money, it gets hard to argue they are both making it up or are incompetent.
As stated above, all parties should focus on the fans first and ensuring a steady foundation for their convention spaces, not on personal pride or feuds. It sounds like Boiler is starting their own non-profit named BARC, probably with interest of trying to acquire DenFur from AEIOU. Trying to forge evidence or throw shade at AEIOU is not going to help in any behind the scenes negotiation of taking DenFur off their hands. AEIOU are currently in desperate ground dealing with the debts acquired by Treble, don't make your position appear weaker than it is by modifying screenshots. It's going to be harder for Boiler to negotiate a term of release if those on AEIOU staff feel negatively about giving it up on a personal level due to personal attacks on the internet.
Let Boiler take the lead here and try and negotiate this.
And if the negotiation does fail, AEIOU is still taking over the Corgi business model. A change of name isn't going to fix the foundational trouble. As I said, desperate ground. Give it a try each year, they're probably going to find themselves spread too thin and would be glad to give up one of their cons to lower their workload and be able to focus on fixing the foundation on the other conventions they run.
Though one of the biggest issues that may be found in trying to release DenFur is that of the conventions AEIOU currently hold, it is the most attended of the 4 (I'm going to assume the Sin City bridge has burned). So the trade may not be easy regardless. So an odd pragmatic negotiation that can happen is if they negotiate to run a sistership with DenFur and Painted City Fur Con (AEIOU's 2nd most popular, and closest to DenFur geographically). Boiler should agree to help AEIOU promote PCFC as part of the exchange for BARC gaining ownership of DenFur so that both organizations have an opportunity to grow and relieve the bad blood that has generated due to the prior mismanagement. This will help the attendance of both. If this isn't resolved, then the bad blood will continue and could end both cons leaving a vacuum in the region to be... in a word "Raided".
The question of how it was actually meant to work is fascinating, and I must admit having seen for-profit events struggle before, I was kinda waiting for the penny to drop at some point. At the same time, it's not the first time I've heard of, say, art show panels being shared or rented out from a pan-fandom association. However, in that case the events were in essentially the similar locations (i.e. the same state), so it made a lot of sense. Perhaps that is one reason there was a rush to build up the number of events, as it allows capital to pay itself back more quickly. Assuming, of course, you actually make a profit - which I guess is easier if you don't pay employees and creditors, including the taxman . . .
It's also not uncommon for con staff to serve at two or more events - but it may be less wise for people to be higher-level staff at more than one event in the same fandom, as I could see conflict of interest issues there. And of course, it makes the whole group fragile; if someone goes, every event is likely to be impacted.
Websites are similar with respect to capital - monster server investments are an outlier; the only hardware Inkbunny owns is a tertiary micro-server sitting under my desk. Where it differs is that while in theory you can share hardware, you might do better to just buy - or lease - less hardware, like a smaller VM. Service companies can usually cut better deals than you can - and if you don't need the latest hardware, pricing can be very reasonable. (Though dedicated hosting on monthly up to three-year leases is often a better deal than the per-hour/minute/second cloud services.)
[In case anyone was wondering: this story is five paragraphs now, but that's because it got split during editing.]
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