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Conflict continues over Kimmage defense fund

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
October 08, 2013, 20:24 BST,
Updated:
October 08, 2013, 22:05 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Paul Kimmage

Paul Kimmage

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Kimmage supports donor group over Brown

The conflict over the Paul Kimmage Defense Fund is continuing, with competing websites targeting the 3,000 individual donors to the fund. Around $64,000 remains of the total $96,169.90 collected from people around the world, according to Aaron Brown, who has now set up a web page promising to refund a portion of the donations.

However, Kimmage himself is working with the creator of another page, started by Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge and fund donor Bill Hue, who has asked a Massachusetts Court to allow him to represent all of the donors. The purpose of page is to "keep donors informed of the status [of the fund], share legal filings with them and to invite their comments and questions".

Hue writes on the site that he created it to "put the grassroots Defense Fund into the control of a neutral [party] so that Paul may use the funds in litigation or simply return them to donors as we (the donors) decide."

Kimmage himself has informed Cyclingnews that he is collaborating with Hue. "It's hard for me to take a stance over something I had no hand in creating or ever had control of," Kimmage said. "My only wish is that every penny that was donated is accounted for and the balance is refunded."

The Kimmage Defense Fund was created in 2012 by Lesli Cohen, who together with Brown ran the satirical Cyclismas.com website, and NYVelocity.com's Andy Shen, after Kimmage was subjected to a defamation lawsuit taken by now-former UCI presidents Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen. The allegedly defamatory comments came from an interview which Kimmage made with Shen.

There was a groundswell of support for Kimmage, and Cohen and Brown used the now-defunct Chip-In website to collect the nearly $100,000 of donations. Kimmage was given 21,000 CHF from the fund to cover legal costs.

However, the good will soon evaporated when in April, when Cohen discovered that Brown had the funds in an account to which only he had access.

Cohen and Brown have since been embroiled in a legal conflict to dissolve their business partnership and resolve the financial issues, with Brown claiming he had assumed tax liability for the donations, and Cohen insisting that the money be put into the hands of a neutral third party, with a court supervising accounting and any distribution of funds.

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