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Corgi Events to disband after staff upheaval following Sin City Murr Con's first year

Edited by GreenReaper
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Corgi Events LLC Inverted 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 Ciderfestwill 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 AquatiFurare 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.

Comments

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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.

https://nitter.net/OmnomThenom/status/1492580123731660800

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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.

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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.

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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

My experiences with DenFur

Hello Ladies and Gents. Let’s just file this under “I’m not important enough to listen to, but I have my own story to tell”

Now, I don’t want to name call, or sling around accusations. It has always been my policy to to live and let live. I will tell you the facts as I know it and let you all draw any conclusions that you choose to.

I have lived in Colorado for the past 20 years. When I came I started out attending Rocky Mountain Fur Con (RMFC). In 2016 they had their last convention here in Colorado and then fell shortly after.

As an established meet organiser I, and my fellow furs who help me run Arvada Tails, got together and rented out the local park. We had raffles to raise money, had folks bring food and had our own Day in the Park. And it was amazing. It showed what Colorado was capable of.

In 2018 these golden calves came riding in from the great nowhere bringing great news! Colorado was getting a new con and it would be funded, for profit, by this unknown person who has run a pony con somewhere. It came attached with Bubbles and her then husband Bryant. I thought to myself, well at least I know these names. Not the people, but the names. A discord server was created and things were moving.

They asked for volunteers and naturally a majority of Colorado furs applied. People with numerous skills and talents were gathered and placed where they could shine. I encouraged people I knew to apply. Mind you, there were no qualifications, no back ground checks, no expectations to be paid, just a desire to help.

I say this now to establish that I was there in the beginning. It started off well. We had several chats and meeting discussing everything needed for a successful con. It was clear from the start, at least in my point of view, that Treble (Corey Wood) was just a money man. He wanted nothing to do with anything other than “here is the money, run my show” vibes. And that was fine.

I was invited to the first real life meeting at the con hotel (Then the Crowne Plaza) early in 2018. I felt honored to be there. To listen in. I came prepared with my ideas on how to make it a better experience. There was some business talks, I was able to share with them some of the things I had brought for theme, then it was on to dinner, chatting and drinking. This lead me to assume, “well, this was just an in person meeting, informal and fun.”

I was allowed to bring some of my ideas into the con. The theme was rebuilding after the Armageddon. I set to work painting a mural, making a banner, crafting post-apocalyptic scenery. I painted a welcome to DenFur “those who arrive, survive” crate sign that went in the lobby and all the little touches. I was assigned operations and though that’s where I worked for the Con time I also was running around and changing up the signs for the panel rooms, keeping the place on point and tidy. So two jobs really. It was hard work because anytime an issue happened or someone needed help we didn’t know who to talk to. Once I tried to talk to the director and was yelled at to go through the chain of command. If I had a problem “talk to the person over you and they will tell me”. Which I did, and it never seemed to go up. Or it did and the person above me didn’t care? I was reimbursed for the little things I did and could show receipts for. But I didn’t ask much. This was largely out of my own pocket. The time and money I spent was a gift as I wanted DenFur to succeed.

Regardless, this was year one, with folks from out of state and with a new con. I expected things to be tricky with bumps in the road. We all did. I did so well with my little touches with theme, that in 2019 they made me Theme Director. I was promised that it would be my own, it’s own department, I would be able to pick my own staff and have a budget. They didn’t say what my budget was, and I didn’t ask. But I did my best to keep it cheap. I was told that next year was going to be a Sci-Fi type “This is Star Trek but not really cuz copyrights”. I discussed with, and helped Bryant to write the lore, wrote descriptions of the races and the planets that they came from. Then, I started my team.

I gave it some time, expecting Denfur leaders to start getting active and getting ready for the coming con. The 2018 con was in August. I didn’t expect folks to start right up planning for next year, though I did. Once I found out I was going to be a Director of my own theme, the hype was so real that I gathered good crafty Colorado furs and set to work. I assigned tasks and set a meeting for July. I contacted the Star Trek cos-players at the USS Tiburon to come to our con and bring their set up. The props they had and their “crew” with the promise that they would get free admission. I set up who was coming, obtained names and made sure they were considered GOH.

My team communicated, got busy making thousands of tribbles to pass out free at the con, make artwork to hang in con space. We walked the halls, measured the length of the hallways, planned and plotted. I set to work ordering things we would need for the con space on the idea I would be paid back at some point.

The year was getting later. As this was going on I was asking Denfur top brass, heeeyyyy so I know it’s January but are we going to talk? This was a habit. All of us were concerned. And the months went by with no communication with the staff and volunteers. It got to be July. The con was now next month. This is when I meet in person with my team and found out that one of my crew was told they were going to have to work for Art department. And another told they were going to have to work Ops. I told them, if they wanted to that was ok. My people had been working hard all yearr to make the theme come alive. I got the response, “no I am only here for you and what we are doing.” So I approached Boiler and asked what was going on. I have this person who is part of my team and they are told another thing? To which I was told that I didn’t have a department, I was part of Art, which Boiler ran and they would have the final call. Boiler was suddenly my boss. This was complete news to me as I had tried to talk all year with upper management, got no response and was told to carry on, it was MY Department.

This was news to me? So I went to Bubbles and was told, “No, this is YOUR baby”. So I tried to be diplomatic on the matter, went to Boiler and asked what she wanted me to do, tried to tell them all I have already done. And they didn’t care. Told me nothing, never spoke to me other than to tell me I was under them and to basically shut up. With this in mind, and after waiting weeks for a response I gathered up my team and said, “you know what? let’s carry on as if I am still your Department head” and we did. We were told in August, “Hey lobersters are funny let’s make that a thing” My friends and I all looked at each other and thought “are they drunk? What does lobsters have to do with our Star not-quite-Track world?” But we worked it in. setting to work making lobsters to add into the theme. They announced next years theme and I had no part in it, but started drafting what I and my team would do with it.

All along, though no one ever gave us any direction, they were happy to chat about how we were all part of a tree. A team. We were all important branches of this Corgie Events tree. August arrived and my team and I came early to the con. Late Thursday night, we pulled in with cars full of bling for the con. All things that my crew and I had bought or made for the con. (I purposely have not mentioned names because I don’t want to drag them into this muck. You are all Flipping amazing and I love you dearly) We worked til midnight, allowing in the USS Tiburon to set up. Bubbles showed up with some posters for us to use. Posters I had no idea was coming or what to do with them. But we used them. Placing wall decore along the hallways, setting up the panel boards, the message board for people to write on, setting tribbles EVERYWHERE. I planned the opening ceremonies (made a script, and last minute invited a guest to play the Lobster bad guy) and what part I would play along with the then chair.

Every morning my team and I set out to update everything, the panel cards, place more tribbles. Ect. I won’t say it all, it was work. Hard work. Often I would walk by and see one of my team working at another site after she had already worked 6 hours for me. I asked her why and she said she didn’t mind. Though I think she was just being nice and wanted to help. The person who was assigned art was under so much stress she flat out said if she couldn’t work with Theme she was out and bounced. (In a very wise move).

Fast forward to Sunday. We had closing ceremonies. I didn’t have all I needed for my second script. I ran through the halls with what I had and grabbing a table cloth off a table I wore it as a cloak and got to the stage. After all of the general things were said, the guest thanked I walked up as “Tim” to introduce next years theme. I had given my friend coconuts and asked them to clop around the stage. It was a huge success and well greeted!

After I said thanks yous and people filed out I noticed that AV was tearing down the space. And I asked, oh? Are we packing up? And someone, told me “shrug” I guess. I was then in a panic mode. All my stuff was still up. I gathered help where I could and this was general attendees who knew me to rush to get my stuff gathered up. I went into a room that had been cleared out and all the chairs stacked against a wall right in front of my giant mural! I had to climb up a stack of 10 chairs to try and reach the top with no help from anyone. I was beyond stressed. Beyond worn out. I dumped what I could get back on the floor and my friends did the same. We tried to get everything together. It was next to the wrap up panel room where the chair and department heads were chatting with attendees over what worked and what didn’t.

I was not invited. I thought I was a department head too, but no I was just used. I think the worse part was when the audience said “the theme was the best part!” It really hit home and was well done. And then heard Boiler taking credit for it all. The people cheered. And I cried. I broke full down and cried. After all I didn’t all the stress and headaches. The rushing to make sure it was all pulled off, working the past year with my friends to create so much for this con, the rushing to make sure it was all up and down without any help from anyone other than ourselves. Here was our leadership taking credit for things they NEVER had ANY part of. It crushed my spirit.

My friends had never seen me like this. They helped me to gather my stuff and get it out. They picked me off the floor (where I was sitting on my knees bawling like a beaten child) and took me out to eat with them.

My husband Strom was in charge of the Volunteers. He has his own story on how he was never told what to do, how to handle them, what to offer them as a Thanks. But that’s not my story to tell. So, So many of us, were burned, used and abused. The were ZERO communication other than to yell at us when we did something wrong. Never taking suggestions, never making anything better just passing blame. So many times in the past two years we all offered suggestions on how to make it better, how to handle issues. Storm is the one who said “Hey, the line is the worse part, what if we mailed out badges?” Which they did, and Storm never got credit. Not that credit matters all that much. But when you claim you did something, when you didn’t? That’s just… rude.

At the end after everyone was gone we all met up again and were told that we were opening up 5 new cons and we were welcome to work at them. We were part of the Tree! Well… let me tell you. To most of us, the tree we were part of, were just leaves. Used to make the tree grow, then discarded to rot on the ground. I, for one, never felt part of this Mythical tree. I didn’t belong here. There were a tight knit upper management who were all popular, and didn’t care to listen to anyone other than themselves. A giant circle jerk if you will. Bryant pulled me aside and told me I did well on the theme and we started talking about next year. He was, aside from my friends, the only one of this massive tree to acknowledge me and what I had done. Bitter sweet.

After the con I asked to be reimbursed for the things I did buy. I had a spreadsheet and receipts. Mind you, this did not include my time spent or all the other things I had made. It was what I was asking for which was the bare min. I was told, yes I'd be paid. I asked again in September. and asked to send a invoice through paypal. Again I asked in October, took a month off and in January I needed the money to pay my property taxes. And was told by Bubbles, "yes, send me again the information and I'll send that to Treble" After which I was blocked and removed from the discord conversation. I was never paid for 2019. I gave up trying. But I have screenshots of my talks, and the proof in paypal of sent invoices.

My husband, I and most of my theme team vowed right then and there we would never put so much of our heart and souls into this again. Not as it stood. We would see if they would make any changes. Start getting organized any sooner, show any effort. We would help. We wanted this to succeed! Seeing nothing happening we both agreed to simply attend. We wanted to see how they fair without the help of all these awesome, talented furs. Then covid hit. DenFur started up again in 2021. We attended. And we got to see how well they did without us. The theme made me laugh. I had planned to get REN fair folks to stroll along the con space…. Well let’s just say I had great plans for the future. Boiler and Nova came out with statements that Covid was to blame on the lack of volunteers. But those of us who worked it and experienced the pain, knew the truth. It had very little to do with Covid. If we had been asked we would have helped again. This was the first con post the shut down. It had massive potential. But we were never asked. We warned friends who did offer to help out what would happen. And true to form it all happened again.

This is my side. Take it as you will. I feel better getting this off my chest after so long. Corgie LLC has been dissolved and AEIOU has taken it’s place. With the promise that Trebel would not be involved. We have heard this before. That worked so well last time didn’t it? But there is always hope. Right?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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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