Part I caused enough controversy to sink a blimp. Part II will be more uplifting. Now for the facts in the case as presented to "the court of public opinion." by Hickory Hendrickson
Sunday, April 13, 2008
After only two hours of being published on the Nolan Chart, Part I of the Ron Paul Blimp story was posted on the Daily Paul web-site (I just found out the post was flagged here is a new one). The post caused a fire-storm of debate and all out fighting, which included some pretty vicious name calling. One member of the forum even claims they have reported a breach of the Nolan Chart LLC Terms of Service to site administration.
Although reading through all three pages of the thread is a major headache, a few clarifying points were made by Jerry Collette and Linda Hunnicutt publicly declared her comments were valid and that she in no way retracts them. One comment, which is very hard to argue with, was made by someone named Mike who left a comment on the Nolan Chart.
"I understand that the money is spent. We had a pretty good run with it. IT was a great endeavor! Now, let's just let the dust settle and move on to other things." Mike writes, "Let it go. Let's move on. We have politicians to defeat and causes to further."
So........why did this story even need to be written? Why can't we "just let the dust settle and move on"? Why should the grassroots or the Freedom Movement even care?
The Freedom Movement spent nearly $600,000 on the blimp. They should know what happened to their money. What's more, Trevor Lyman is now asking for the same people to make him and Rick Williams instant millionaires in an attempt to "Break the Matrix", Jerry Collette is asking for people to support his newly formed Libertarian Legal without many details as to what the company does or how it is structured and Katharine Memole is starting a 501 (c) (4) not-for-profit organization and asking people to donate to her project as well. The grassroots WILL give money to these people again. Where will it go? Who gets rich? Who gets results?
The Ron Paul Mobile Rally Crew was with the blimp during much of it's journey. Here is what they had to say about the project.
"Throughout December 2007, RPMRC had been working 14-20 hours daily, 7 days weekly, on a low budget stipend. Our crew left their jobs, homes family community and friends to support Ron Paul !
We had been recruited by one of the principle owners/agent of the RON PAUL BLIMP. He committed to us modest salaries and Per Diem to travel and rally with the blimp and/or equivalent media activity - the latter of which we were obliged to attempt without support and adequate resources with which to make it effective.
In short, due to power struggles between Trevor Lyman, Elijah Lynn and Jerry Collette, our mission was doomed as Trevor and Elijah refused to support us.
Finally, we were left stranded 680 miles away from home without funding for fuel for the U-Haul and truck carrying our valuable instruments and equipment and horse. Friend/associate, Kevin Innis placed personal money in my personal account for fuel money to get us home.
Not paid our final salaries, I was left to work an additional 3 days, plus shorted 1000k pay. Two weeks later, Trevor motions to support us cos of contractual agreement, Two weeks too LATE. Meanwhile, I lost my home."
Ready for some more facts Freedom Movement? I think we need some answers from Lyman.....NOW! Things are starting to look pretty ugly!
"Dear Google Account holder: We've received a request to change the email address associated with your Google Account from: jerrycollette@EDIT.net to: trevorml@EDIT.net." - December 9, 2007.
"I did not initiate this! Please freeze the account ASAP!!!!" - Jerry Collette writing to Google, December 9, 2007
"If you agree to this and do not freeze the Google account then we agree to forfeit our shares of Liberty Political Advertising, LLC. Once the money has been transferred to AMS we will return control of the Google Checkout Account to your possession." - Elijah Lynn writing to Collette on December 10 2007.
Most of the people directly involved with the project agree, this is the point where all trust was lost between the principles of Liberty Political Advertising. When Lyman moved the money, Collette called foul and tried to freeze the company account. Lyman and Lynn walked away from the blimp company and gave full ownership and control to Collette.
Lyman then started using assets collected by Liberty Political Advertising to start his own blimp company. A few of the assets misappropriated by Lyman at that time were: The Ron Paul Blimp domain, The SSL certificate , the Liberty Political Advertising legal team and the Project Manager for the Ron Paul Blimp.
"They (Lyman and Lynn) announced that they were doing their own blimp advertising company. They were doing this tortuously interfering with the company's contracts." said Collette. "Also, if they intended to do this all along, when they did the termination agreement, it was fraud in the inducement."
On December 18, 2007 Trevor Lyman wrote: "What we intend to do is comply with our written and signed agreement. We'll give you a link as agreed and a link to an explanation of what has happened as agreed. We'll give up control of the blimp as agreed. We'll give you any money we have earned as of this morning at 12:01am and stop using the SSL cert. At this point we intend to start our own blimp advertising business using the domain RonPaulBlimp.com."
Lyman promised to give Collette access to company transaction records and data-base. Another promise broken.......
"I have been asking for almost two weeks now to see our transaction records of purchases. Why have they not been provided? Nobody has even been willing to tell me what fields we have and what format they are in. Is somebody hiding something?
What about the PayPal account? Where is that money. Has Trevor or anybody else sent any company sales receipt money anywhere else?" - Collette in an email to: James Fosbinder, Trevor Lyman, Elijah Lynn , Joe Amidon and Katharine Memole on January 28, 2007.
Katharine Memole, Project Manager for the Blimp, confirmed the fact that the Ron Paul Blimp project is completely paid for. She and Collette also said the blimp will not fly again. For some reason however, the Ron Paul Blimp website, which is owned by Lyman, is asking for donations to pay off the last of the airship bills and to fund a future trip.
Collette said the main reason he decided to go public with the blimp story was to keep the uninformed people who might support Lyman's new project from investing money without having the facts. Lyman was/is starting Basic Media Inc. along with attorney Rick Williams. Basic Media Inc. would be an alternative media source targeting main-stream advertisers.
Last week breakthematrix.com was a site announcing plans by Lyman and Williams to start a media outlet for promoting the cause of freedom. Today all information, updates and other content is gone. In it's place is one sentence telling visitors to check back on the new social networking site that will be launched within a few days.
"We are forming a grassroots organization and movement that will carry the words and values of freedom off the Internet and out to those millions of Americans who only receive their news and entertainment from mainstream radio and television." - BreaktheMatrix.com last week
"Our new social network will be unveiled in a matter of days.....stay tuned and check back often." - BreaktheMatrix.com today
The company was asking for grassroots investors to buy 500,000 shares (41.67% of the total) for $10 per share at their initial public offering of stock on the Pink Sheets. Thus leaving Lyman and Williams with the remaining 58.33% of company stock initially valued at roughly $7,000,000. In short, Williams and Lyman would have been instant millionaires on paper via grassroots money. That was last week.....I don't know what they're doing this week.
The first update from the Break the Matrix project was posted on the Ron Paul Forums. Read it here > http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=118458
This quote from the Break the Matrix web-site home page is gone now. I copied it last week and think I should share it with you......since Lyman won't. -"Basic Media, Inc. will be operating as a "for profit" business, and isn't that what it's all about?"-
That's all the dirt I'll throw on this subject.....I'm sick and tired of the he-said, she-said BS. The Ron Paul Blimp was a great thing which proved big ideas can become even bigger realities. Part II will be about the people who made this happen, what they did and how it helped Ron Paul. My obligation to the Freedom Movement is fulfilled........Break the Matrix at your own risk......
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Money corrupts absolutely. I donated to the blimp project and was very supportive of it at first. I didn't realize the power struggles behind the scenes. In hind sight, the blimp had 0 effect and only corrupted some good people or made them insane.
There were a lot of promisses broken as to the usage of the email addresses collected. There were blatent abuses over and over. This had the unfortunate effect of really hurting any possible furture projects (moneybombs).
Trevor had donated a large portion of his life to these efforts and I know he was hurting pocket book wise. This could have been addressed differently. Starting for profit companies using broken promisses and money donated in good faith to non-profit was when he crossed the line. If we want for-profit advertising, we can just go out and buy it ourselves from any of the already established media outlets. We wanted a grassroots, non-profit (that means no-one profits from our donations) projects. Starting a business where 2 or 3 people benefit heavily from DONATIONS is turning the grassroots movement upside down and bound to hurt it tremendously which it did.
I still can't unsbuscribe from breakthematrix. Everytime I tired it would unscbscirbe me. I had to install a SPAM filter to permanently delete any messages coming from them.
They collected hundreds of thousands of dollars so far and had 0 effect except to splinter the grassroots and purchase blimp time which resulted in failure (failure defined as not meeting original goals: boosting RP name recognition, raising poll numbers, shock-and-awe with the media, on board live interviews on CNN and the like.) By the end of december I didn't even remember the blimp, let alone hear about it anywhere but an occasional negative post on rpforums. Now if this money was spent on supporting ron paul republicans for congressional runs, how much more effectively that money would been spent. A dozen or a few dozen new RPR congressmen in congress would have a tremendous impact on policy of the entire country. The blimp had really taken us a straigh.
Hey, Dude! ..... build a bridge .... then get over it !!! You'll feel alot better! I think it sux, what effect this mess all has for RP, but it's just as he says .... "the free market takes care of these kinds of situations" ... and it has! We, everyone who gave of themselves, gave freely and willingly, knowing fullwell the possibilities of success as well as the downfalls of failure .... it was a blind leap of faith for most of us .... but more important than that it was because we all want what RP espouses and if it had only flown for one day ... that would have been just fine with me! So take your lemons and go make some lemonade!
I guess that the whole episode can be summed up as "Live and Learn". Please allow yourself to move on. Carrying all that negative energy around will only make you sick. If you go out and do something VERY POSITIVE, you can replace it. Seriously, it's not worth it. Peace.
Posted By: Daniel Hornal
Date: 2008-04-13 13:36:02
Just so everyone knows: AMS = Airship Management Services, the company that owned the blimp. The transfer of the account was simply in an attempt to pay for the blimp before any more money was misapproprated to non-blimp-related costs.
Lyman never made a dime on this project; in fact, he spent very large amounts of his own money. He's also too classy to complain about it.
This article very much paints Lyman and others in a false light. Lyman didn't fight back on the forums against these silly accusations (as someone who actually knows the story from the inside, I guarantee that the accusations are laughable) because he got tired of arguing with anonymous people on the Internet and people who were not interested or invested in the success of the project.
His withdrawal from the fight may have been a strategic mistake, but his silence does not imply that he has no response to what are, in the end, ridiculous accusations.
P.S. Ask any real, experienced entrepreneur about the "instant millionaire" analysis above. It's pretty funny how a little knowledge can lead one so far astray from the truth. (I am in no way associated with this new venture, I just hate to see people misled by someone who doesn't understand the difference between funding and holding stock in a small business, and being a millionaire.)
Daniel is right on your "instant millionaire" analysis.
The **most** you could argue is that if they sold their shares instantly after the IPO (which normally can't happen because the founders have restrictions on the sale of their shares for a period of time after the IPO) is $2.9M. After taxes and the accompanying lawsuits, that wouldn't exactly let you retire to Tahiti.
My name is Elijah Lynn and I was a co-founder of the Ron Paul Blimp project (technically, Liberty Political Advertising). The Ron Paul Blimp was a very successful project and generated massive publicity (one supporter calculated the value at over 1 million usd) considering all the odds against Ron Paul. There is much more to the story than is presented here and if anyone wants to talk about it further and get another point of view you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry it took me so long to comment, that event was the most stressful event (3-4 months) I have ever experienced in my life. I have many grey hairs today and am only 28. It was a fun project and I forsee many more that are just as exciting and impactful. It was a great learning experience too!
P.S. I have lots of unpublished blimp video I will be eventually be uploading to Archive.org that will be free for everyone to use in documentaries and other videos (YouTube, Vimeo etc..). It was my own personal camera footage and not that of our videographer. I just have been to busy since to transfer and do everything necessary to publish it.