Author Topic: Why the need for more money?  (Read 7818 times)

Why the need for more money?
« on: January 06, 2016, 05:14:00 am »
Donations to Steve's bid are still being sought and standing order donors are being urged to change their order to a new account.

Why is more money needed?

The team has, in my view, been unacceptably secretive about the finances.

All we really know is information disclosed by Fidgetbuzz, the former keeper of the purse.

My reading of his posts is there is enough money to finish the attempt in August, and still leave a 'five figure' surplus.

Clearly, there has been a parting of the ways between Fidgetbuzz and the team.

The change to a new account will presumably - and deliberately - take him out of the loop completely, meaning donors' access to financial information will go from nearly to absolute zero.

I accept the team - or anyone - can ask for money and not give any details about how it is spent.

But as a matter of financial propriety, that is not good enough.

If I were in charge of the finances, I would want to publish reasonably detailed accounts so everyone could see I was doing the job correctly.

With Steve's bid, we now don't even know who is doing the finances, let alone the numbers.

To reiterate, as donors we are not entitled to anything, but I believe the team should publish where the money's gone/going and justify their request for more.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 06:23:59 am »
The lack of communication to donors, even just a brief monthly email update (we did get 1 on 30/1/15!), has caused me to re-evaluate my ongoing financial support. Changing bank details without contacting donors directly to ask them update their SO details shows a further lack of regard for donors IMO.

For every donation made, someone has had to work some hours 'for free' to earn the money to donate. It is human nature to want to feel that your donation is appreciated. The relevant part of the team have failed to demonstrate that.

I will continue to support Steve morally and via event donations, but I am stopping my SO.
The older you get, the better you get, unless you are a banana.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 07:42:21 am »
In one of my past "lives" I was an internal auditor, something like this in a corporate environment would have had the alarm bells more than just jingling.  But as said these are donations to an individual, the individual or his/her nominated representative can use the donation in anyway they feel fit as long as it is clearly used directly in support of the task for which it was asked for.  If it is not then it is misappropriation of funds for personal gain, a very dodgy subject indeed.

To my mind the recipient of the funds or nominated representative should take a stance of "Transparency" in that as the funds were/are appropriated from the public then a full break down of receipts and expenditure should be presented, in public.

If the silence persists then doubts about usage of funds will persist and grow, especially as the ride continues past it's original target date with no definite end in sight, just intimations that progress will be checked at the end of January.

I do hope that whoever is in charge of fund collection and expenditure produces figures, if not I fear all associated with the team could be tarnished with a reputation of deceit, warranted or not.

I am in no way saying any money is being misspent, I just think that people who have or continue to donate have a vested interest in how their money is being spent, and when they can stop paying.

TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2016, 09:35:52 am »
Fidgetbuzz raised concerns in the 'Thoughts' thread about the idea of Steve conceding control of the funds to other members of the team. I can certainly see that having other people having access to the account would be convenient, but it's essential (and probably required by law) in any exercise like this that the use of donors' money is open, transparent and fully accounted. Part of that transparency is explaining any changes in the financial arrangements and regular updates to donors as to how their money is being used.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2016, 09:45:09 am »
Changing bank details without contacting donors directly to ask them update their SO details shows a further lack of regard for donors IMO.

I don't think they have contact details for the vast majority of donors as they're just paying directly into a bank account but, yes, it would have been nice to email the people who did contact Roger originally when they set up their SO.

The new account is in Steve's name. I would have had concerns if it was in any other name. AIUI this is just the same account that Roger moves all of the existing donations to anyway.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 09:59:22 am »
I share the concerns above.

I chose to support Steve via a small monthly contribution (although I have only met Steve briefly a couple of times and he wouldn't know me from Adam) because I feel some connection with what he is doing and I can identify to some small extent with the mental and physical enormity of his efforts. I have also followed Steve's exploits and posts via yacf, and I feel that we share something by way of our common membership of this group and the cycling fraternity in general. I have always been struck by his efforts to help less experienced Audaxers with their first 400s / 600s. In short he seems to be a good egg who is giving up a lot to suffer for his dream.

By contributing, I hoped to support him and to feel a part of his effort in some small way. That is all I wanted from my contribution: to give Steve support, to assist with the practicalities of his record attempt, to have a feeling that I am helping and a sense of some slight peripheral involvement. The rest - his plan, what the team do or don't do, whether the record attempt does this or that in 2016, is all entirely up to them and I am committed to supporting them.

The complete lack of any update at all from the team in over a year has made it difficult to feel involved. I don't even know if my / our support is of value at all - perhaps small individual contributions are dwarfed by commercial contributions. Facebook posts do not count as updates and that is that. Not everyone is on Facebook and it is easy to miss posts.

Initially my SO was set up to Roger Cortis. That carried on for all of last year until recently, when my pre-set 12 months had expired. I then emailed Roger, who very kindly responded in detail even though he is no longer directly involved. At no stage was there an email to say that my SO was going to the account of someone no longer involved in the team. I am not for one moment suggesting anything untoward and I do not have any worries on that score - the money was simply transferred from Roger C's account on a monthly basis. However, would it not be the norm to inform donors of such a change via an email? In any case I restarted my SO, this time to the account detailed on Steve's page.

Now I see via a post on yacf that donors are being asked - via a bloody Facebook post! - to change the target of their SOs. 

It's all a mess and I have emailed Idai to that effect.

red marley

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2016, 10:06:28 am »
I agree with the sentiments of Sgt Pluck's post. Unlike riding strategy, which the team have every right to disclose or not as they see fit, I do think the communication over financial support has been very poor. I'm not sure this is Idai's responsibility though. http://oneyeartimetrial.org.uk/team suggests IanH and PhilW, both regulars here, have the social media responsibility. Perhaps they could comment?

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2016, 10:30:52 am »
I agree with the sentiments of Sgt Pluck's post. Unlike riding strategy, which the team have every right to disclose or not as they see fit, I do think the communication over financial support has been very poor. I'm not sure this is Idai's responsibility though. http://oneyeartimetrial.org.uk/team suggests IanH and PhilW, both regulars here, have the social media responsibility. Perhaps they could comment?

We have a list of names but few contact details – these weren't handed over or perhaps not retained (who knows?).  The requests to alter details went out on various platforms, including here and on the website news page.  Phil handles the newsletter, but he's been otherwise engaged for a while. 

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2016, 10:41:11 am »
I'd assumed that Steve is essentially a sole trader for tax purposes. 'One Year Time Trial' doesn't seem to be a charity or a limited company. I'd not expect to see anything from a sole trader. The only time I've ever had to provide formal accounts has been to join tender lists.
Kurt looks like he was financed through his business, so his expenses might constitute a promotional expense.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2016, 10:59:48 am »
I agree with the sentiments of Sgt Pluck's post. Unlike riding strategy, which the team have every right to disclose or not as they see fit, I do think the communication over financial support has been very poor. I'm not sure this is Idai's responsibility though. http://oneyeartimetrial.org.uk/team suggests IanH and PhilW, both regulars here, have the social media responsibility. Perhaps they could comment?

We have a list of names but few contact details – these weren't handed over or perhaps not retained (who knows?).  The requests to alter details went out on various platforms, including here and on the website news page.  Phil handles the newsletter, but he's been otherwise engaged for a while.

In answer to the question "Who knows?" I would suggest "Roger Cortis."

I too share the above concerns. My SO expired in December and, again, after correspondence with Roger, I gained the impression that Steve has enough in the bank to keep him going until August. I therefore didn't renew it. That does not mean that I've stopped wishing Steve all the best in his attempt.

I don't see Steve quite so much as a sole trader. I think he's more like royalty, paid for by the public purse, but more deserving. There's precious little accountability with them and the main difference is that I don't get the choice whether or not I contribute (cont. p 94 of POBI).

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2016, 11:11:29 am »

We have a list of names but few contact details – these weren't handed over or perhaps not retained (who knows?).

Why not ask?

   Phil handles the newsletter, but he's been otherwise engaged for a while.

Why not ask if  someone else would do it temporarily?
The older you get, the better you get, unless you are a banana.

red marley

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2016, 11:38:27 am »
The requests to alter details went out on various platforms, including here and on the website news page.  Phil handles the newsletter, but he's been otherwise engaged for a while.

It's not so much the request to alter bank details, but the info on how the finances are going, what they're being used for etc. This doesn't have to be a full financial audit, but at least some friendly newsletter type copy on where the money is being spent, whether it is valuable to the effort, how it's looking for the future etc.

A terse, "please amend your SO to xxx" feels a little like donors are being taken for granted.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2016, 11:44:35 am »
The requests to alter details went out on various platforms, including here and on the website news page.  Phil handles the newsletter, but he's been otherwise engaged for a while.

It's not so much the request to alter bank details, but the info on how the finances are going, what they're being used for etc. This doesn't have to be a full financial audit, but at least some friendly newsletter type copy on where the money is being spent, whether it is valuable to the effort, how its looking in the future etc.

A terse, "please amend your SO to xxx" feels a little like donors are being taken for granted.

Agreed.  We are discussing ways of being more transparent now that we are able to do so.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2016, 11:57:26 am »
Agreed.  We are discussing ways of being more transparent now that we are able to do so.

(My emphasis). Interesting choice of words, care to elaborate?
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2016, 12:59:06 pm »
I'm not sure this is Idai's responsibility though. http://oneyeartimetrial.org.uk/team suggests IanH and PhilW, both regulars here, have the social media responsibility.

I see this has been removed now, but up until a few days ago, in the Donations tab on Steve's webpage, there was a box with Steve's account details. Also in that box was a clickable link labelled "Let us know" or similar. When one clicked on the link, it opened your mail app with a blank mail addressed to the Team. Informing the Team of your SO or donation resulted in an email of thanks from Idai. That's the only reason I mention Idai.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2016, 10:07:33 pm »
Agreed.  We are discussing ways of being more transparent now that we are able to do so.

Oh, Ian. What a choice of words!   :demon:
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2016, 10:43:51 pm »
While I have absolutely no reason to believe there's anything whatsoever untoward about the way donations to Steve's attempt are being used, I will not be taken for granted as a donor. I donated a fair bit of dosh at the beginning of the campaign, and was one of those who (unsuccesfully) attempted to set up a regular donation via PayPal. Other than the initial acknowledgement, and my name appearing on the list of donors, I have received absolutely no information from the team during the last 12 months.

I don't own the venture, or even part of it, and I don't presume to have any say in how it's run (other than expressing an opinion here). But I have given my hard-earned money to the cause and I really would like to know a bit more about how it was used. But we had this conversation before, with no satisfactory result. Now we have the change of account, with no explanation of why or what advantages it conveys to the team, so yet again we are left to speculate - and into the information vacuum, conjecture will flourish and perhaps be uncomplimentary. There's no need for this. Please talk to us.

contango

  • NB have not grown beard since photo was taken
  • The Fat And The Furious
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2016, 11:35:44 pm »
I'd assumed that Steve is essentially a sole trader for tax purposes. 'One Year Time Trial' doesn't seem to be a charity or a limited company. I'd not expect to see anything from a sole trader. The only time I've ever had to provide formal accounts has been to join tender lists.
Kurt looks like he was financed through his business, so his expenses might constitute a promotional expense.

I'm not even sure that it's relevant to consider him a sole trader. If he's just an individual and a number of other individuals have freely chosen to give him small amounts of money periodically, is it even relevant what he calls himself? I wouldn't have thought any tax would be due unless he's receiving huge amounts of money from specific individuals. I'm not an accountant but my understanding is that if someone decided they just wanted to chuck a few quid my way the nice men at HMRC take no interest until "a few quid" starts to mean a fair chunk of change. The money has presumably already been taxed once and is being handed over as a gift rather than a payment for goods or services.

If people are merely making donations to a cause they consider worthy I don't imagine that creates any specific obligation to provide updates as to what is being done with the money - if you give money to a charity you won't necessarily get much detail as to what they are doing with it - but the nature of this particular venture does seem like the sort of thing where it's not so much to ask to keep donors in the loop. I've stopped regular donations to charities if I got the impression they were taking me for granted, so if communications are as bad as people have made out here I don't know that I'd have remained a donor for very long.

Disclosure: I am not a donor to Steve's venture. I wish him all the best but my good wishes are my only contribution to date.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2016, 11:56:41 pm »
I highly doubt there is anything nefarious going on here. But it is fair to note that Steve's team leader has a long history of begging money and crew online for his own races, but not acknowledging their contributions. The British cycling community is littered with unhappy ex donors and crew. Many crew have quit his races in the middle of the events. Whether this is because of bad manners, poor leadership  or just the type of extreme and off-putting self-involvement one sometimes finds amongst ultra distance athletes, I do not know. But given the history it is not surprising to see TG's donors being treated in the same callous and disorganized way. Which is a shame because he is by all accounts a really decent person and worthy of support.

Hummers

  • It is all about the taste.
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2016, 11:56:51 pm »
I am happy to continue my support for Steve. Please can someone PM me the changed details?

H

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2016, 11:57:18 pm »

I'm not even sure that it's relevant to consider him a sole trader. If he's just an individual and a number of other individuals have freely chosen to give him small amounts of money periodically, is it even relevant what he calls himself? I wouldn't have thought any tax would be due unless he's receiving huge amounts of money from specific individuals. I'm not an accountant but my understanding is that if someone decided they just wanted to chuck a few quid my way the nice men at HMRC take no interest until "a few quid" starts to mean a fair chunk of change. The money has presumably already been taxed once and is being handed over as a gift rather than a payment for goods or services.


You would be wrong, entirely.

All the money given to Steve either in cash or benefit may be considered his income, and taxable, no matter that it was paid over by taxpayers. All the sponsorship may be considered benefit in kind, and taxable. Of course the first £10K would be covered by allowances. Technically whatever account it is paid into, if it is "his" money it is his income to declare. Conceivably if held at arm's length (as in, a third party's account) it should be easier not to have to recognise the revenue stream as it appeared. In addition to that, Steve will need to consider the status of his national insurance contributions or risk a penalty to his pension in later years.






LMT

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2016, 12:01:17 am »
I highly doubt there is anything nefarious going on here. But it is fair to note that Steve's team leader has a long history of begging money and crew online for his own races. The British cycling community is littered with unhappy ex donors and crew. Many crew have quit his races in the middle of the events. Whether this is because of bad manners, poor leadership  or just the type of extreme and off-putting self-involvement one sometimes finds amongst ultra distance athletes, I do not know. But given the history it is not surprising to see TG's donors being treated in the same callous way. Which is a shame because he is by all accounts a really decent person.

If the above is true why did Hoppo get the job?

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2016, 12:08:27 am »
I highly doubt there is anything nefarious going on here. But it is fair to note that Steve's team leader has a long history of begging money and crew online for his own races. The British cycling community is littered with unhappy ex donors and crew. Many crew have quit his races in the middle of the events. Whether this is because of bad manners, poor leadership  or just the type of extreme and off-putting self-involvement one sometimes finds amongst ultra distance athletes, I do not know. But given the history it is not surprising to see TG's donors being treated in the same callous way. Which is a shame because he is by all accounts a really decent person.

If the above is true why did Hoppo get the job?

I've never met Hoppo, but he does appear to polarise opinions.

Mileater's post is no doubt an accurate reflection of the views of some people who have been involved with Hoppo.

But I imagine there will also be those who find him a focussed, driven individual who can be relied upon to make a determined attempt to get the job done.

As a separate point, judging from some posts on here, he doesn't appear to have had a great deal of hands-on involvement with the bid.

Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2016, 12:29:25 am »

I'm not even sure that it's relevant to consider him a sole trader. If he's just an individual and a number of other individuals have freely chosen to give him small amounts of money periodically, is it even relevant what he calls himself? I wouldn't have thought any tax would be due unless he's receiving huge amounts of money from specific individuals. I'm not an accountant but my understanding is that if someone decided they just wanted to chuck a few quid my way the nice men at HMRC take no interest until "a few quid" starts to mean a fair chunk of change. The money has presumably already been taxed once and is being handed over as a gift rather than a payment for goods or services.


You would be wrong, entirely.

All the money given to Steve either in cash or benefit may be considered his income, and taxable, no matter that it was paid over by taxpayers. All the sponsorship may be considered benefit in kind, and taxable. Of course the first £10K would be covered by allowances. Technically whatever account it is paid into, if it is "his" money it is his income to declare. Conceivably if held at arm's length (as in, a third party's account) it should be easier not to have to recognise the revenue stream as it appeared. In addition to that, Steve will need to consider the status of his national insurance contributions or risk a penalty to his pension in later years.

I'd say that the sponsored items were tools of the trade or consumables, and I'd be claiming subsistence above that normally required, so most of the food. But I'm used to having a wallet full of receipts. Roger must have sorted all that stuff out, as the team accountant.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Why the need for more money?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2016, 12:34:32 am »
I am happy to continue my support for Steve. Please can someone PM me the changed details?

H

+1
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.