Launch Goal ... 12/21/12
ahem, I said "goal" ... don't go nuts.
Excellent ... looks like we're still here, so, here goes ... moved to a dedicated server today, and now the fun begins
Letter from the Editor
Daily Bread Magazine Issue No. 2
I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
About two and a half years ago, I found myself skating professionally with a small group of other aggressive skaters for a very large and growing company. We were all stoked to be making a living at something we loved doing, but found ourselves getting more and more frustrated with the lack of interest in promoting what we saw as the legitimate and separate entity of aggressive skating. It became increasingly evident over that period of two and a half years that we were doomed to be nothing more than a freak show finale for a star-spangled, dance on wheels extravaganza. We knew that there had to be more people out there who felt the same way about skating that we did, but we had no way of being sure, until a distributor in Australia insisted on having ramp skaters only, sent over for a small tour. It was at this time that we realized all that we had guessed was true, the aggressive side of skating was massive and growing rapidly. We weren't alone!
This incident was enough to push us into becoming more and more assertive about establishing the sport of aggressive in-line skating. We were determined to separate ourselves from the other aspects of in-line skating and build our own identity. Needless to say, this pissed a lot of people off. It pissed them off so much that we were forced to severe all ties with the Corporate Kingdom, through our decision to do a Japan tour that promoted our style of skating. Fortunately, in the midst of all this activity, the idea of beginning a magazine to network the family of skaters we were convinced existed was born and in a matter of three and a half sleepless weeks "Daily Bread" was created and the Japan tour began. Japan was more than we expected and once again, we discovered an entire network of skaters. In Tokyo alone, a group called the S.S.A.(Street Skaters Association) had been dealing with the same lack of interest from the skate manufacturers that we had been suffering from, for almost as long. Meeting them only cemented our beliefs and added to our motivation of connecting all the skaters who were being left out in the cold by an industry determined to make a quick & easy buck on the recreational skater, but wanted no part in supporting the bastard child of aggressive skating they had unintentionally bore.
Upon returning from Japan we dove into issue 2 and the responses from the 1st issue started pouring in. It seemed D.B. had given hope & life to the skaters out there seeking unity. Letters were coming in from as far away as the Netherlands from skaters who had been desperately searching for some sort of recognition; that others were into what they were doing on in-lines. And now, as I sit here at 5:00 A.M. on my computer writing this I can't help but smile (because I'm delirious) and because I spent the day with Jess, Arlo, and whoever else popped in to give some input into the magazine, talking about what would go into this issue, reading letters sent in from skaters all over the place and watching everyone get more and more stoked on what is quickly becoming a family.
THANKS FOR LISTENING!
In June of 2006 DB had been bleeding for just over a year due to the beginnings of a recession that was starting to show its effects in the sales of recreational activities like skating ( long before it hit Wall Street ) in 2004, and a string of events that derailed my best laid plans for surviving this recession in 2005, first of which was lowering the page count of the magazine and making it monthly so that the advertising dollars for an issue only had to cover one month of payroll, our biggest expense. I took all measures to protect the survival of DB, using my entire life's savings to keep staff paid and keep things running while I put out the flames, even moving out of our office and back into a house, roommates and all. I cut everything that could possibly be cut, except staff pay or hours ( my own excluded … that was the first cut ) by that time and was down to a staff of just myself and three others … Justin Eisinger, whom I had hired and brought out from Ohio a couple years earlier to help me with editorial and whom I had recently put in charge of communications with all of our advertisers while I took over cleaning up the accounting issues from the year before, Wes Driver who I hired a couple months earlier to replace Chris Peel who had quit to move on to greener, more profitable pastures … despite warnings from Justin that he didn't think Wes could be trusted ( irony ) … and Ryan Schude, my long time friend and staff photographer who I was very happy to finally have in charge of photographic direction. I let all the guys know this was an all hands on deck situation if we were going to bring DB back into a positive place and shake off what had happened the year before and that I needed to know if they were with me and ready for the challenge … and they all said yes, let's do this. A couple month's later, just as I was finishing the accounting and budgeting plans and was making a plan to go forward ( not an easy plan because it involved putting them on part time for three months ) … frustrated from not yet receiving a couple of back checks from the two months when we were without an office from March through April, even though they were currently receiving checks and were told the back checks would be paid when we went to print … they conspired together to steal the files of the magazine that was about to go to print and lie to the advertisers to make them believe I had shut down … or "gone crazy" I think is how one advertiser years later relayed the information to me. I believe, or at least I want to believe, that Schude was exempt from all that followed
I walked away from this attack wounded by the lack of support from an industry that I had dedicated my life to and that I felt had turned its back on me … and by the lack of consideration, compassion or even concern from hundreds of people that I considered not just as friends, but, family. I barely said a word to anyone about what had happened and I had no intention of ever doing so until someone cared enough to ask.
… and then in 2012, six years later, someone asked … and as promised, I answered. I was first contacted by David McNamara, a skater and fellow publisher of http://www.wheelscene.co.uk/ , who felt compelled that skaters should know what happened … and then by Todd and Joey of Mushroomblading.com. I have to apologize once again to David because mostly due to my own hectic schedule, the interview in Wheelscene never came to fruition.
The podcast can be found here: http://mushroomblading.com/podcasts.php?id=85
When it aired a fire was ignited in the industry and there was an outpouring for an explanation from Justin and Wes. Justin's response was to simply post a picture of a pile of shit and make a smart ass comment, which didn't appear to come as a surprise to anyone, and the statement below was the response from Wes. It was closed to comments so I could not reply to it directly at the time.
The following is my very late and unwelcome response to Wes' closed statement regarding the demise of Daily Bread.
I'm extremely happy to finally hear some sort of explanation from you guys, even if it is only one of you.
The majority of what you are saying is just embellished hearsay and personal perspectives that I don't intend to address for the obvious reasons … suffice to say things were very hard at the time … we all know that … suffice to also say that things were even harder when I first started the magazine, and harder still when you stole it … so I'm going to speak to what is relevant.
" … and eventually the Labor Board sided with Justin and I as well when it came to the unpaid wages. You can’t just stop paying people in the state of California. It means you’re unemployed."
They didn't side with you "eventually" Wes … they sided with you right away. That's the way that labor law works. It's black and white. if you don't receive a paycheck for time that you were on the clock for someone … irregardless of whether you murdered your boss during that time or were legitimately working, you are still owed that paycheck … the fact that you committed murder would need to be taken up with a different court … it's a different issue. That's how labor law, and all law for that matter works, nothing else is considered and all other counter claims as to the "why" you didn't get that check have to be taken up separately. You had every legal right to file a case with the labor board and get a judgement against DB for payment of that owed paycheck … which you did …. but which you wouldn't have had to do if you hadn't stolen DB's only means of paying you … don't you remember what I said to you while we were waiting out in the hall for the case to be heard? I looked you straight in the eye and I said, "I can't believe you stole Daily Bread AND you want to get paid for doing it" … I couldn't believe what I was witnessing to be honest …
If you had an issue with DB and a missing check, then this is exactly the remedy that you should have taken … and it's the only legal remedy you were allowed. If you have an issue with your employer, you have several options available to you. You can quit. You can file a claim like this with the labor board for any missing payments. You can do nothing. You can do any combination of these … but you cannot steal your employers property, much less their entire business and livelihood Wes.
Even more unbelievable is that you guys had already cumulatively been paid out over $17,000 for the creation of the content in the Issue that you stole. That is three times what is normally paid out because I kept you on the clock during the transition of the move while we didn't even have an office for you to go to. I don't imagine you guys would be interested in paying DB back the $17,000 you were paid to create the content that was stolen and then used as Issue one of ONE would you? Or maybe Justin wants to pay back the cost of that gaming system he walked off with, or the cost of the concert tickets that were comped to DB, not ONE, for the music articles that were intended for DB ( just see the old DB myspace if you forgot which ones those were )?
… the important point to remember here is that you had every right to file a claim for your missed check. You did not, however, have the right to take matters into your own hands and steal whatever you felt like stealing because you were pissed off, wanted vengeance or just wanted to take something that didn't belong to you out of your own narcissistic desire to own your own magazine without putting in the work to build it yourself. What you did was illegal in every civilized nation in the world. To look at it from a strictly business perspective, a perspective I rarely looked at in relation to what DB was to me, you stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of revenue for that one issue alone, destroyed DB's reputation, history, and future prospects, left DB stranded in a mountain of debt with no way to pay bills that were owed, and without even taking into account anything else at that point in time, you walked off with $70,000 in assets. it's called Grand Theft and when it takes place under these ( employee theft ) circumstances they typically throw embezzlement charges in with it, amongst other things … this was no small deal Wes. Had I gone forward with charges against you it would not have been just a fine … it most likely would have been jail. There is no maybe when it comes to work for hire belonging to the hirer. There is no maybe when it comes to that work being stolen or not, and there is no maybe to this type of theft being exactly what I have just informed you it is.
In regards to your two missing back checks … I was pretty specific when I told all three of you that you would be paid in full when I put the magazine to print and that beyond that I would have to put you on part time so that I would never have issues paying you again. I still have the printouts that contain all of this information … they have your names written right on them and the date. They show you on part time for three months and they show that the numbers begin to get positive beyond that. If you want me to upload the printout for you to jog your memory of this very important event I will, along with the financials, still dated 2006 with proof of anything and everything else I state. You were also being paid at the time you refused this part time offer, your last check was on 6/9 and the printouts for this meeting where I proposed the part time plan, and you all walked out is 6/13. Ironically, the two missing checks that you've hinged your entire justification for the theft of DB were for the period of time in which DB didn't even have an office. Most employers would have laid people off at this time, or put them on unemployment while in transition, but, not me … I kept everyone on the payroll even though as it turns out no one was even working … not for DB anyway … Schude was out of the country and Justin was working with Doug on Barely Dead. Hell, none of you even helped me get the office moved back in to its new spot, and it ended up taking me two extra weeks because it was just me … and you were on the clock then too. And when we finally did get moved in to the new space, two months later, you guys still didn't even have everything completed for the issue and we accrued even more debt waiting to print. You guys knew why those back checks hadn't been paid yet and you knew that you would be paid when we printed. I had never not paid a check you were owed before. I think the missing checks became a golden opportunity for you both to rationalize what you were about to do and nothing is going to change my mind about that. It's far too obvious to ignore.
"But in the end the revenue dried up and there was nobody left to beg, borrow or steal from. Literally. With no prospects of coming up with the cash to get the next issue printed … "
Justin was handling communication with our advertisers at this time Wes so he should be able to clarify this for you. Were you not aware that you had just stolen an entire issue's worth of contracted advertising income to the tune of around $21,000 for that issue's contracts alone, along with the domestic and international retail and distributor sales?
You do realize that we invoiced for the magazine sales and advertising "after" the magazine was printed and shipped right? And that we had payment terms with our printer which means payment for printing the issue wouldn't be due for up to two months later, so that we had time to collect the advertising revenue?
The extremely simplified version went like this … we created the content and sent the files to the printer … the printer printed the magazine, shipped it out and sent us a bill for the work … we then sent out our invoices for payment of advertising that was in the issue along with retail, distributor and other issues sold around the world … then I paid you … and then I paid the printer and all our other bills for the previous issue. What was left after covering the expenses of the previous issue would go toward covering the expenses for creating the next issue, primarily, again, payroll, film, travel, rent, etc.. and so on and so on. A LOT of payroll if a key member of the staff insisted on taking a vacation when there was an important deadline to meet and left me needing to cover 2 months of payroll ( 48,000 at that time ) instead of one months ( 24,000 ) with one issue's income 34,000 … is any of this making any sense to you at all … perhaps you could ask Justin to clarify this incident for you as well … it was part of the perfect storm which led to the first late paychecks after 12 years in business. Justin's response to the late checks was to call his fellow staff members and not come in to work to teach me a lesson … as if this approach would help the situation instead of making it worse … are you beginning to understand? One month's payroll is covered by one months income … two months payroll is not only not covered it leaves no income for paying other vital expenses. As Clinton says … "arithmetic".
It's that "what's left" part of our finances that had to be fixed … if it was zero after paying you guys, well, we wouldn't have the funds needed to continue paying rent, buying film and doing all of the things that constitute the "cost of goods sold" necessary to continue printing. My only financial hurdle that had not yet been fixed by the time you came on board ( staff downsizing, moving into a home office and subleasing our building space, cutting the number of issues printed, cutting pages, cutting my own pay etc. ) was how to carry on without having to either lower you guys' pay, lower you guys' hours, or let you go and work all alone again. I had already put out all of the other fires and things were going to be okay, they just weren't going to be the same.
How you can speak to any of this is actually quite remarkable to me Wes as you were only around for a matter of months … and none of you had much in the way of experience running a business, especially one as complex as Daily Bread … so, you were all completely ignorant to the inner financial/business workings and the bigger picture of how Daily Bread ran. I could continue trying to educate you on all of this until I am blue in the face, but, it takes years of experience from the ground up to "get it". No offense, it just does .. and none of you "got it". You obviously still don't.
Were you even aware that I was working on rebuilding our accounting program and records from all the damage the person we hired to replace Jennie had done?
Did you know that I wanted to have everything in place and handled financially before taking one more step … that I wanted to know where every dime of income that would come in after print would go and I wanted to make sure that it would be properly allocated so that I would never end up back in that position that I was just crawling out of? I didn't survive all those years in business by being careless and ignorant Wes.
Did you realize that when I finished the accounting and ran all of my projections I learned that if I didn't put you guys on part time, as you yourself had suggested I do, that I would end up in that position again and it broke my heart?
I was in the process of doing financials to make sure that when I invoiced for that issue we were about to send to the printer that I was going to be able to pay you guys all the way up until I invoiced again for the next issue we would build without being late again. THAT was my priority.
Did you realize that I was the kind of person who was hurt by the idea of not being able to provide for you the way that I wanted to? It was extremely depressing to me, you should have clued in to this a little more from my response when you yourself suggested going part time a week before, and I refused, but, you didn't.
When I finished straightening out the accounting and I realized there was no way to keep you guys paid at full time and I got upset and said "we can't go on like this" … you guys responded by walking out. I can see now that you guys were so consumed with yourselves and a late paycheck that you were blind to the reality of what was actually happening in the bigger picture.There was never any doubt that you would be paid in full for any work already done prior to putting you on part time or letting you go … deserved or not … that was a given … and I reconfirmed that again to all of you when I finally decided to let go of my pride and expectations of myself and offer part time to you and show you a plan that would work for the future if you accepted.
What I had been trying to work out with the financials was how I was going to keep paying you guys at the rate I was paying in the future with the lack of advertising income … Our income had dropped by 75% but, I never lowered anyone's pay … you understand? This is most "business" people's Step One strategy when finances are tight, cut staff and cut wages … my step one was to stop paying myself …
I know I keep repeating myself, but, it's just what I tend to do when I think someone just isn't "getting it" ...
LIke I said, it all makes sense to me now why Justin was giving me stabbing looks the whole time I was presenting the part time idea to you all and trying so hard to make things work … and why his only comment before walking out for the second time was "So, are we gonna get paid?" … don't you remember my response Wes? First was shock and surprise that he would even ask this, and then an affirmative yes, of course … as soon as the magazine goes to print. Hell, I had just paid your currently owed check several days earlier. I know now that you had already stolen the files and hatched your plans way before this and it was important for you guys to conjure up negative feelings toward me in order to rationalize your actions to yourself and others.
"So when we were told it was done, we decided to walk away and leave the fate of the business in the hands of the person who started it."
This is not the truth Wes. How can you leave DB in my hands and walk away with it at the same time? Is it that difficult to honestly own up to the reality of what you really did?
It's obvious to me now that on the day that I realized I had no choice but to put you on part-time and I was upset and said "we can't go on like this" that you interpreted my words to mean ( and yes, I say this with all the sarcasm I can muster ) ...
"I've taken the time to think long and hard about this decision guys and after 13 years of dedicating my life to Daily Bread and this industry and having just committed $100,000 of the only savings I've ever had toward getting us back on track, I've decided that I am going to just give up and shut everything down without even printing our last issue to say goodbye or explain my decision and I'm going to totally screw over everyone I care most about while I'm at it, especially my subscribers because lord knows they've never meant EVERYTHING to me."
... but how on earth did you guys turn stealing Daily Bread's files, which prevented me from having the option to go forward as a business, and prevented me from paying any of DB's bills or my own, much less your two missing checks, and in fact put me in debt to the tune of 600,000+ into …
" … we decided to walk away and leave the fate of the business in the hands of the person who started it."
Do you listen to yourself Wes? That is a contradiction … stealing the business is exactly NOT leaving the fate of the business in the hands of the person who started it. It is a lie Wes, pure and simple.
I guess it makes sense now why I'm about to have to explain this next bit to you too 'cause you've got that all wrong too and what you have said couldn't be further from the truth …
I'll explain as clearly as I can for you what really happened … legally ….
When I learned you guys had actually stolen the files, I retained a lawyer who then filed a request with the court to issue a restraining order against you. The judge agreed and we were granted the restraining order … that's why you were served with a restraining order and the court demanded that you return the files you had taken Wes. You had been legally "restrained" from carrying on until you returned what didn't belong to you. Of course, the judge had no control over whether you had made multiple copies … if you did, and you used them, then I would have to file a damages case against you which would take time and be very expensive … restraining orders are only temporary to try to prevent something catastrophic from happening. For instance, if you can prove that someone has tried to hurt you physically, you can file a restraining order on them. If you are awarded the restraining order, the restrained person will be arrested if they come within a certain distance of you. Had you guys not complied with that restraining order a warrant would have been issued against you.
You came to court and you handed over the files you were ordered to hand over in answer to the restraining order if you remember … all but the cover shot that is … you gave back just enough to make the judge think you were complying with the order, but just little enough that I wouldn't be able to get it to the printer and back before you released your stolen issue, which was already at the printer. Isn't that correct? The judge and even my own lawyer honestly believed that all wrongs had been righted when we left the courthouse that day. They had no understanding of publishing, or our industry, or what really was possible or not … they only understand the law … and it looked to them like it had been complied with. You were however warned by the judge that any use of the files by you might result in a damages case against you.
Once you made the judge believe that you had complied with his restraining order, the restraining order was "lifted" because the court believed that it had done it's part to right the wrong temporarily … but, this is just the way it is with the legal system … the fact that you prevented me from going to print, even though I now had most of the files, was a different legal case to be filed a different way … this would have to be done through the aforementioned damages suit against you …. BUT …. guess who didn't have any money to pay a lawyer any further to go forward with a case against you because I made sure that anything that I did have at that time had gone to you guys for pay and I was at ground zero until the issue printed and I could invoice? That would be me Wes.
So, to recap … nothing was ever "thrown out" of court Wes. The restraining order against you was lifted when you "complied" with it and no further action was taken against you because I simply could not afford to go any further than the restraining order. I could not afford the $10,000 the lawyer wanted for the damages case. I had no income and no job at that point. I wasn't sure how I was even going to make rent. So, for about the cost of a month's rent, you guys took thirteen years of my life and a magazine that I had built from the ground up for our industry and you walked away with it free and clear. Not a bad deal. Not a bad deal at all. I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would have liked to have "purchased" DB at such a discounted price.
It's also important to note Wes that I could have gone ahead and sent the magazine to the printer with a different cover shot, even though your copy would have come out first and when it came out I could have demanded payment for all of the ads because they were all contracted with DB and they had all submitted their artwork to DB, not ONE, but, that would have been extremely damaging to the already bleeding companies in our industry and it went against everything I'd ever stood for or tried to do for them, so, I didn't … my getting justice would have hurt the industry at a very vulnerable time, so, that was out of the question.
So, there I was Wes. I couldn't afford a suit against you guys to gain justice, which I certainly would have gotten because employee theft is about as open and shut as it gets, and I couldn't hurt our core industry companies … so, I walked away to try to build my life over again … I had no intention of ever telling this story unless the industry asked me to … and it finally did … so this is it … You've had six good years where everyone believed whatever you had decided to tell them about me and what happened to DB … but, I'm speaking for myself now … and I'm speaking the truth … even if you are too ignorant to see it.
I encourage anyone who cares to know the facts, including yourself Wes, to ask questions or to ask for proof of anything that I have said, because I have it and I'm willing to share it.
I know I will never have justice for what you guys did to me, I've accepted that, but, the industry has asked for the truth .... or at least that element of the industry that I have any respect for has asked, and they deserve to know what kind of people they are aligning themselves with and/or supporting.
The industry deserves the whole truth. History deserves the whole truth and The legacy of DB deserves to have the whole truth known.
Truth comes from facts, so, believein … the facts.
Here is a fact that is indisputable Wes, as it is coming from your own mouth. I think it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that your statement " … we decided to walk away and leave the fate of the business in the hands of the person who started it."
… is but ONE of the many lies you've told.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” ― Aldous Huxley