The Cyclingnews website is reporting that more than £40,000 – well, $64,000 to be precise – has gone missing from a fund collected to pay for costs incurred by Paul Kimmage, the award-winning SJA member, in his legal battle with the world cycling body, the UCI.
As we reported last year, donations in America and across Europe raised £18,000 within just five days of being launched, in support of Kimmage, whose journalism had done so much in the dogged pursuit of Lance Armstrong and other drug peddlers within cycling.
In total, $96,000 was raised for the the Kimmage Defense Fund. Kimmage was a little embarrassed by the display of public support, which had been started without direct reference to him.
However, it has recently emerged that the money appears to have been withdrawn with neither Kimmage nor Andy Shen and Lesli Cohen – the two individuals who spearheaded the movement – able to trace it. Paul Kimmage, Shen and Cohen never had access to the funds.
On Wednesday morning Kimmage contacted Cyclingnews and explained that only part of his legal fees had been paid and that attempts to retrieve or even detect the rest of the funds had been unsuccessful.
The UCI suspended its case against Kimmage in the wake of the USADA investigation against Armstrong and the US Postal Service team. The end of the legal battle had been seen as a moral victory after the UCI had chosen to go after the journalist and not the publications.
When Cohen set up the fund she did so through a PayPal account that had been set up by Aaron Brown prior to the fund’s creation. Cohen and Brown had worked together on a cycling web venture.
But now Cohen and Brown are in dispute, with Brown refusing to release the money, claiming it is because of tax liabilities in the United States. In an interview with Cyclingnews, Brown said that there was also a disagreement over how the remainder of the money should be used in Kimmage’s legal defence has been paid for.
“It’s a big mess and I’m the guy who assumed liability on this,” Brown told Cyclingnews.
Cohen is now pursuing Brown through the Massachusetts courts.