Friday, June 29, 2007

Impeach Him!

Can you believe this post from the Mayor of Rockome Gardens, Butch Phillips? (I'm leaving his grammatical and other writing errors intact, by the way, even though it pains me to do so on my own blog, LOL. For clarity's sake, his comments are in putrid lime green.)
Setting here logging on to my email and finding 43 emails in the NCCSS folder, I thought to myself what now. This time I am excited about seeing all the posts, The show has gone extremely well, I would like to thank TONYA and ANGIE who without them this show would not have happened. I would even like to thank Stacy for the start of the process. Yes it was a struggle and yes I stepped on a few toes, but I think it is safe to say that with the excitement for next year I am here to make this statement very plain.
It is SOLELY due to the ethics of Angie Miller (whose family were the PREVIOUS owners of Rockome Gardens), that I received a check signed by Larry Daily (one of the new owners of Rockome Gardens) for less than half the amount owed to me by Rockome Gardens for the work I performed on behalf of the NCCSS.

But Butch is such a sleaze he can't even be bothered to give me any credit when he THANKS people.

Without me, this show would have been dead in the water. The pages and pages of information I put up on the web about it at CraftGossip are the ONLY way stitchers could find detailed information about the show, and everyone -- from Butch, to Angie, to Tonya (hi, Tonya!), to Larry and the other new owners of Rockome Gardens, to the designers who were vending and/or teaching at the show, to all the stitchers who attended -- KNOWS it.

I could have taken all that information off CraftGossip when I didn't get my first paycheck from Rockome Gardens. But I didn't because doing so would have hurt the show's outcome. While I wouldn't have minded hurting Rockome Gardens' income after they couldn't be bothered to pay me, I did NOT want to hurt the designers' businesses any further than they'd already been harmed by Butch's refusal to properly advertise the show in the first place. (Here is where the importance of the fact that I'm a stitcher -- or at least, I was ... my heart is too broken for me to feel much like picking up a needle right now -- cannot be denied. First and foremost, I wanted this show to succeed BECAUSE I AM -- or was -- A STITCHER. That was the main reason I wanted and took the job as Show Director just two months before the show was to start, KNOWING everything was in a huge state of upheaval and I had a huge mountain to climb -- and convince a whole bunch of other people to climb, too.) So instead, I put up a truthful disclaimer about my own experience with Rockome Gardens and the reservations that caused me to have about the show, withdrew my personal endorsement of the show, and kept stitchers as well informed as I could of the goings-on at Rockome Gardens once I was no longer in the loop myself.

The show would have done better if Butch had done HIS JOB and kept his LEGAL CONTRACT with me to advertise my CraftGossip blog so people would have known when they came to Rockome's website where to go for information, but the show did amazingly well this year -- IN SPITE OF BUTCH'S NEGLECT, and BECAUSE OF MY DEDICATION. In fact, Donna Heidler of Simply Old-Fashioned told me it was her best show ANYWHERE, EVER. There were 229 entries entered into the competition, which was about half the number entered in the last show held (the twentieth anniversary show in 2004) -- not bad at all considering the two year hiatus or the fact that I only had two months to get the word out about the show and had my BOSS, of all people, working against me!

The 2008 National Counted Cross Stitch Show will even be better, YES IT WILL RETURN. I plan on recruiting Angie and Tonya and Connie to be a part of the team.
This is hysterical, especially considering the email I received from someone who stated that everyone knows I'm Coni (who was brave enough to write a comment on this post, which was originally posted on CraftGossip, expressing her displeasure with the NCCSS this year). If Butch actually is planning to hire me under a different name because he doesn't know it's me ... Shoot, it would almost be worth not getting paid a SECOND time just to pull that one over on everyone! Pull my finger!
We will have the dates posted in the very near future, This group will remain active and I invite those positive and the negative to share constructive improvements so we can work even harder to make it better together. I would hope that the posts would be on our group here or sent to me or Angie and not posted on pay for hit sites. I do not have any association with any pay for hit site nor do I support these sites.
Well, Butch is certainly correct that he did absolutely NOTHING to support me, not even to honor his LEGAL AGREEMENT with me. However, he did have a BINDING oral and WRITTEN (by email, yes, but still written) CONTRACT with me to honor, and that contract included linking to CraftGossip ASAP after I was hired on April 7th. Butch failed to complete ANY of the things he agreed to do as payment for the work I contracted to do. I completed all the work I agreed to -- and more. No amount of Butch's revisionist history -- or perhaps he's more comfortable calling it a historical re-enactment, which they do so much of at Rockome Gardens now -- will change the fact that he DID HAVE a LEGAL OBLIGATION which required of him not only an an association with but support of my blog on CraftGossip. He can criticize my blog all he wants, but at least I'm trying to make an honest living (I would have succeeded at that if Butch had actually paid me in full for the work I had done), rather than stealing from other people by breach of contract or making promises I don't keep, like Butch.

And here for the edification of all is Maggie Pringlemeir's response to Butch Phillips, which he would not allow through to the Rockome list. (I'll keep Butch's comments in the putrid lime green, and Maggie's will be in royal purple for clarity.)

Note to the list ..

I sent a message on June 15, wishing all of you much success for this show .. but my message was deleted and was never posted. This may well be an exercise in futility, but I'm going to step up and respond to Butch's comments, particularly since he SAID he WANTS the negative ones to be posted here.

Butch ..

I'll never say anything behind your back that I will not say directly to your face .. so .. since you said that you want truth and open honesty .. here it is.

"I would like to thank TONYA and ANGIE who without them this show would not have happened. I would even like to thank Stacy for the start of the process."

What about HEATHER? The woman you contracted with BECAUSE she had a highly visable public website to help promote your show? You may remember her .. she worked a couple of months for you putting in 18 to 20 hour days. Stacy, for her own reasons, had to back away. Heather worked her own health into a frazzle. Can't you find the courtesy in your heart to thank her publicly?

"This group will remain active and I invite those positive and the negative to share constructive improvements so we can work even harder to make it better together. I would hope that the posts would be on our group here or sent to me or Angie and not posted on pay for hit sites. I do not have any association with any pay for hit site nor do I support these sites."

Truly amazing .. since the reason you "hired" Heather was for the exposure of that website. Today I spoke directly with her and asked her point blank .. somewhere, somehow, down the line, you should be generating "some" income from the number of hits your website receives, right? THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED YET. YES, at some point in the future .. that theoretically should happen. It is PAID FOR by the ADVERTISING on the website. It does NOT come out of the person who visit's checkbooks or their pockets in any way. ALL companies advertise .. even Rockome spent HOW MANY thousands of $ on a non-descriptive advert on national programming. Apparently, Butch, you see the value of name recognition and were willing to dip into your pocket and pay for it as a business expense. That is PRECISELY what advertisers do. But they do NOT charge those who SEE the advertising for the privilege. For you to infer otherwise is misleading and an insult to the intelligence of every stitcher involved, period. For someone NOT affiliated .. you certainly wanted Heather to spend hours getting the show information, class descriptions, and other important data up and out there. THAT, she did. She honored the terms of her agreement with you. Step on toes? There are words for what you did .. but I won't use them on this list.

"I plan on recruiting Angie and Tonya and Connie to be a part of the team."

Like many others .. I'm curious WHO Connie is. Yes, it's apparent that I have intense loyalties to my friend Heather. She has NEVER lied to me, never cheated me, never told me anything that turned out to be a half-truth. In the years I've known her, when she says she'll do something .. I could ALWAYS count on her to follow through. I still can. ANY employer with a lick of sense in his head would recognize those qualities and work hard to coax her to come back and be involved with this show, rather than use this forum to take not-so-subtle snipes at her. Even with the harsh feelings and how badly she was treated, Heather still cared enough about this show to come, to speak with Angie several times and to make many suggestions about how to make the next show a better one. She genuinely CARES about not only the BUSINESS of the show, Butch, she cares about the PEOPLE of the show. She cares about the integrity of the judging process and the standards.

Which brings me to one other comment. I've seen the original post from Coni and recognize the name from other lists I'm on and involved with. Some of you seem to think that those coments were written by Heather with a fake name to hide behind. Let me assure you that the woman exists and that SHE wrote the note herself. Many ofher comments were totally valid. The promotion of this show SHOULD have begun as soon as Butch took over .. not 8 weeks beforehand. Heather was set an impossible task working with people that she knew actively disliked her and tried to block her every positive or constructive move .. and yet .. she came in and did an amazing task. When she pulled back and away .. didn't any of you realize that she had TRIED to go through the appropriate private channels, and was ignored, the same as I was? Shame on all of you who said mean things about her. Just remember .. what goes around, comes around and karma can be severe. Heather deserves an apology from many of the people on this list. I hope she receives them. And knowing her, if she does, she'll post a thank you for that.

Truly, I'm GLAD the show went as well as it did. I know that Angie worked her tail off, too. Start making plans and doing the scutwork NOW for the next show. As Coni said .. get the information about the local Guilds and contact them to get the word out. That cannot be done in a whirlwind of a few weeks, it requires time to do that groundwork.

You have a unique opportunity right now. It's very rare for a show that has died to be resurrected. You have a good chance of doing that. If you can, it will not only be good for Rockome, it will be good for the stitchers and the industry. I wish all of you well with your efforts.

Maggie Pringlemeir, D Div, PhD
DrMaggie @ aol.com

I'd post Butch's response back to Maggie, but as that was in private email to her, instead I'll just post MY response to him here:

As I said above, I could have removed everything from CraftGossip when I didn't get my first paycheck from Rockome Gardens. I didn't do that because I did NOT want to hurt the designers' businesses any further than YOU, Butch, had already harmed them by your neglect and refusal to properly advertise the show in the first place. Instead, I put up a truthful disclaimer about my own experience, withdrew my personal endorsement of the show, and kept stitchers as well informed as I could of the goings-on at Rockome Gardens once I was no longer in the loop myself. That's a long way from trying to give the show a black eye or derail it. If the controversy this created helped give me any income at all (as if that were any of YOUR business, Butch), I damned well deserved it, you lying thief -- and it brought more income to you, too, because it brought the curious stitchers who wouldn't have come at all this year to Rockome Gardens just to check out the show for a day. So thank the controversy YOU created; I think that was your intention all along. All I did was SPEAK OUT and make it public -- and in doing so, I at least doubled the income the NCCSS brought to you and to each vendor. Now I expect my cut, and I still expect the rest of what you owed me to begin with IN FULL!

2 comments:

Meari said...

If you had an oral and written contract with him, why not take it to court? Obviously the copyright infringement is a long shot and would take a long time, but the other isn't.

stitchwitched said...

Meari, Thanks for your suggestion ... Going through the Illinois Department of Labor first makes the most sense because they work for us and are paid out of our tax dollars. If they manage to get my paycheck, great. If not, then I can still go to court afterward, and I'll have whatever additional evidence they've managed to collect during their investigation. Based on minimum wage laws, I can't go to small claims court, so I'd really need a lawyer to sue, which is the other reason to go through IDOL first. I don't want to pay a lawyer when I can't even get paid myself, and I have yet to find an attorney in the real world willing to take a case on contingency. No matter how you look at it, a lawsuit is very expensive and incredibly time consuming.