Nick Kollerstrom — Terror on the Tube June 25, 2014
The People’s Voice online TV station started up 25th November and ran for four months. A large room at Stonebridge Park (near Wembley) was rented for £300 a week. I was invited there a few times to be interviewed and join discussion programs. It was a big thrill to meet David Icke again and he remembered me – from long ago when we were both in the Green Party. One would see maybe a couple of dozen happy-looking folk working there,
Its funding started with a breathtaking total raised by voluntary donations of £471k – plus £16 k advertising, equals £487k total. http://www.thepeoplesvoice.tv/financial-report-2014/ - nearly five times what Icke had originally appealed for. Last year, remember, he had appealed for a hundred grand. How did that money get spent? This account reports that TPV paid out a cool £205k for ‘direct subcontractors’ and gives no further explanation – was that wages given to workers? This account is from June 2013 to 31st January 2014. As TPV started up on November 25th 2013, we are here talking about a couple of month’s work.
This is an online TV station, just one web-page, one URL – and it just put out films of talking heads, done mainly in its studio.
Next, after forking out £205k in two months (at most) for unexplained ‘direct subcontraction’ we are told about ‘overheads’ eg £8k for rent. I don’t believe that – That room, I gathered, cost £300 a week.
Then, it says £14k on phone bills. Did no-one tell them about Skype? £14k in two months? Who are these people?
We are startled to see another TPV financial statement for much the same period, but it looks different: ‘from June 2013 to January 2014′ http://www.thepeoplesvoice.tv/financial-statement-june-2013-to-january-2014/ , dated 9th January. This quotes £140 thousand for studio equipment costs and £75 thousand for salaries. Office rent is here given as twelve hundred pounds, which suggests that this is a statement for one month’s expenses – that rent value is credible.
I was told by a techie guy that he reckoned a few tens of thousands had been spent on equipment, ie twenty or thirty thousand pounds, probably nearer to the lower figure. No way does that match £140k.
I gathered that full-time daily producers like Richie Allen were getting around five hundred pounds a week. Assuming others were paid less, and that many of the workers were voluntary, I suggest we have to be looking at under twenty thousand a month on salaries.
It would be nice to see an account of TPV expenses that was signed and dated – preferably by an accountant.
I like the figure “Accounting/ book- keeping £1,957.50.” Ha! Somebody has a sense of humor.
What this whole project crucially needed was not one but two independent accountants, to track all the money received and all that spent. It didn’t have that and I could therefore see this disaster coming a mile off. For managing a company you do need to have two persons signing each checque for the money to be paid out – yes its stressful and irritating, but only that ensures the cash flow will be safe, public and accountable.
On 23rd June David put out a statement saying,
“I agreed when the idea for TPV was mooted to give it my full-time commitment as an unpaid volunteer until February 2014. This I did at great cost to myself financially and in terms of my health and I returned home to continue my other work on March 1st as I always said that I would.”
Well no David, something that so centrally involves yourself, that embodies your hopes and ideals, for which so many of your supporters have coughed up NEARLY HALF A MILLION POUNDS - did actually require you to be living nearby: you needed to let out your Isle of Wight place and rent a bed-sit near to TPV. That’s the only way it could have worked. Dossing on someone’s sofa for a few months was never an answer. You could not just walk away from TPV and expect it to continue.
It was a sacred trust, from folks all over the world reaching into their pockets, not rich people but those who believed in your message.
Then, rather too briefly, David tells us:
But I have now been told by the TPV director, Sean Adl, and his marriage partner, that my input is no longer required and that I should not ‘interfere’ in what Sean Adl calls ‘his business’.
Its sort of implied here that the ‘Director’ of TPV Sean Adl Tabatabai has control of the checque-book. (If you don’t agree, please post a comment) How did this first-married gay Londoner http://bigstory.ap.org/article/britain-set-hold-first-same-sex-weddings get to control TPV? Since March TPV has only had a skeleton crew and mainly stopped doing its exciting range of live programs, and has mainly run repeats.
The historic gay wedding was on March 29th, probably synchronizing with the running out of funds of TPV.
Judging from his facebook page which is mainly about how he enjoys kissing his boyfriend all over the place I would not have thought Sean Adl Tabatabai was the most reliable person to be Director of TPV – and in charge of its accounts.
I am also perturbed that a part-time bookkeeper that I brought in at the start because of her honestly and integrity has been fired in the last few days with a two-line email after the best part of a year of diligent work
Whoever that was, can we please have a full statement from her? Her version of the finances would be of great interest.
So after half a year Icke discovers that “ I am no longer attached in any way to TPV which is very sad, but there we are.” O gosh, how did that happen? And, what will all those people who filled the Wembley stadium last year to hear him, want to say about this? Will they turn up again?
In retrospect TPV tried to do far too much with its 24-hour round-the clock global-reach programs. It would have been better to emulate RT in doing at most 4 hours a day of programs and just repeating them. A balanced program should have been designed that would last a year at least with that massive financial input.
I would have thought that Icke of all people should have been aware that a certain power would plot to take down his initiative. Sabotage has happened. It’s now too late. O where did it all go? What about those broken hopes … yes it’s the usual story.
Let’s here quote Sonia Poulton – a real professional, the only one they ever had. She left on January 6th and described why – because the finance was not transparent and cash seemed to be rapidly disappearing:
I felt, as did other members of staff who said it to me – but did not have the courage to say it to David Icke directly – that all financial dealings should be public and transparent.
I believe, and conveyed this to David Icke, Sean ADL and Liz Roberts – in their respective roles as Station Manager and Production Manager – that all money paid out – including expenses and staff wages should be published monthly. This idea never progressed beyond the asking stage.
This, and other issues reached a head for me on Friday night when I was asked to take part in the telethon to raise money even though I didn’t know entirely where the previous public money had gone to.
I told David, Sean ADL and Liz Roberts that TPV was struggling financially because public goodwill towards TPV was at a low ebb because, amongst other things, a lack of transparency.
I said that I felt it personally important to see how the money had been spent up to this point – and not least because David always agreed with me about the importance of transparency in all dealings.
According to one set of accounts, £328k had been spent by 31st January 2014; the other has £274k spent by January 9th. These two online TPV accounts are hardly compatible. I hope readers agree that this colossal expenditure by January endorses what I started off by saying, that it had effectively to close down in March as funding expired.
P.S. – It may be irrelevant, but there is an Ahmad Adl-Tabatabai who used to work for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Its an appropriate name, to do that!