Changes at Expressobeans.com

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whalaw
Site Admin
Posts: 5843
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 12:00 am

Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:20 pm

I’m letting all know that there have been some changes on the Board of Directors (BOD) and in the structure of the Officers of Expressobeans.com (EB). Yamar, has stepped down as President and from the BOD. As a result, I’ve been appointed as interim President of Expressobeans.com. Likely, we are going to ask a current Team Member to fill Yamar’s vacancy on the BOD. In addition, there may be other vacancies soon, as I’ve requested each current BOD member to affirm their commitment to the BOD by 11:59 pm Pacific, on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. So, time will tell whether or not there will be additional vacancies. Obviously, EB has been in a downward slide the last 4 or 5 years. I’m hopeful that we can correct that and move EB in a more positive direction, but it will take time and dedication to do so and that starts at the top, with the BOD.

Now, on to the “upgrade.” As much as I hate to say it, I believe the “developer” has scammed us. We have been provided with a beta site (https://beta.expressobeans.com/) a little over a year ago. However, the site has not changed since we were provided the address. And, the numerous promises made by the “developer” have not materialized. Moreover, the “developer” will not respond to any form of communication. I am drafting a formal Demand Letter to the “developer,” however, I don’t believe it will have any impact. The “developer” is not located on USA soil, so he cannot be touched by our court system, unfortunately. There are ways to seek a foreign judgment, but it’s only worth doing so if the “developer” has any assets to seize/levy upon. Here, it doesn’t appear there are any assets. However, we may continue to pursue the foreign judgment just to seek justice for EB. (Do we have any British/European counsel that can assist?) And, no, we are not willing to take any “informal” action against the developer.

My hope is that EB can remain independent. However, I want the membership to be aware that we are in discussions with several entities regarding the possibility of merging. For us to remain independent, we are going to need to find a way to upgrade the site. However, funds are severely limited at the point. I don’t know the exact amount because I’m waiting on accounting ledgers from Yamar. And, please understand, if we continue on the downward slide, there is the very real possibility that EB is dissolved. So, is there anything you can do to assist with the upgrade?


Acting as president of EB is not something that I’ve ever desired. I prefer to keep my “digital footprint” small and work anonymously from the sidelines. With that said, I have made the commitment and do intend to see it through, whether that’s EB remaining independent, EB merging with another like-minded entity, or, even legally dissolving EB, if necessary. I didn’t accept this position to make friends or get the inside double-secret-scoop on the next “drop.” My duty lies with Expressobeans.com and what’s in the best interests of Expressobeans.com. Like all of us, I have a deep “love” for EB and hope to see it reach new heights, even greater than its past “glory.” To do so, will require dedication and commitment from the BOD, Administrators, Global Moderators, Team Members, and you, the Members, EB’s most important asset. So, again, what can you do to help EB through this difficult time to become a better site?

That’s all I have for now. I’m still at the office (Eastern Time) and my family would like to see me (well, at least I know my dog would – ha). I’ll keep peeking at this thread over the next day or two and answer as many pertinent questions as time will allow. I will also make the commitment to update this thread twice a month, at least as long as I’m acting as president of EB, as to our progress with the “upgrade”, the BOD, and any other significant changes which affect Expressobeans.com and/or its Members.

whalaw


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Update: February 14, 2019:

Letting all know there have been some changes to the Membership of the BOD. Morst and bigdz68, both original Members of Expressobeans.com and The Team, have resigned from the BOD. I appreciate all the hard-work they have provided to Expressobeans.com. Thank you, morst and bigdz68. In addition, we have voted to expand the BOD from 7 to 9. Most importantly, we have added four new BOD Members: mfaith, 1nkling, pewter14, and theperfecttree. Right now, we only have 8 spots filled. Over the next couple of days we will be implementing new procedures for the BOD and defining roles. And, likely, adding a 9th Member to the BOD. More changes will be forth-coming, and I'll update regarding those, once they are done.

Thanks.

wha


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Update: February 19, 2019:

Hey. I want to inform our Members where we currently stand in regards to the re-developing/upgrade of Expressobeans.com. We have formed a Technology BOD Sub-Committee, comprised of our 3 most computer knowledgeable BOD Members. In addition, 4 volunteer Members have graciously reached out to offer their assistance to the site. My thanks to those volunteers, as their help is greatly needed and appreciated. So, those 7, and possibly a couple additional non-EB Members, are taking a look under the hood to see where we currently are in the "upgrade" process and, hopefully, will be able to provide us with some options/directions for getting this project completed. More later, I'm sure.

Thanks.

wha



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Update: March 8, 2019

Hey. It's been a couple of weeks, so I thought it was time to update this thread, again. As most or all know, mfaith has resigned from the BOD and The Team. Obviously, we are going to miss his work product; however, it was his choice to resign and we accept/respect that. Progress is still being made, albeit, slowly, on moving our servers. Previously, we were paying around $650.00 per month for sever space. We now expect it to be around $300.00 or so per month. Continuing with expenses, now that EB is no longer paying a salary, I've cancelled the Workers Comp and Disability Insurance associated with the salary. So, that should save EB around $250.00 or so per month.

The "back-end" of EB is a mess. I've been through the entire box of documents sent to me. I have provided the last 7 years of tax returns to the Finance Section of the BOD. I believe they have reviewed and have found no malfeasance/misfeasance, thus far. Unfortunately, I have not found any entity docs for EB; however, I'm still waiting on one more box to be sent to me. Hopefully, they will be in the next box. If not, I will begin drafting entity docs once I receive some requested docs from the State of New York. Regardless, I intend to structure the By-Laws in such a way that what happened previously won't happen, again.

Finally, I ask everyone to please remain patient with us. We are all working diligently to get this ship turned around; however, it won't happen overnight. Also, once we get the servers moved and I have an opportunity to review documents in the second box, I'll provide an explanation, at least from my perspective, of when, where, how, and why EB took a turn for the worse.

Thanks.

wha



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Update: March 31, 2019

Hey. I delayed updating this thread a week in hopes that I would bring news that our servers had been moved. Unfortunately, that's still not the case, but soon, I hope. We are making progress on the back-end:

1. By-Laws are out for their final round of discussion. Item of interest: No Director or Officer of EB shall be permitted to draw a salary.

2. We've set new officers for the corporation:

President - whalaw
Executive Vice-President - electrachrome
Secretary - theperfecttree
Treasurer - pewter14

3. We're in the process of moving the domicile for EB from New York to Georgia. I've initiated the incorporation process in Georgia. I hope to have it finished by the end of the week. Then, I will need to merge the New York EB into the Georgia EB. After that, I'll dissolve the New York EB. We're making the domicile change because I'm far more familiar with Georgia laws and fees are much less in the State of Georgia.

4. I sent out an initial draft to the BOD yesterday regarding the new Articles of Incorporation.


We also want to let everyone know that due to the generosity and graciousness of the TRPS organization (thank you, again, Marty and BOD of TRPS), Expressobeans.com will have a booth at the Fall TRPS Festival this year, on October 19. I know at least three EB BOD Members will be attending the event and "manning" the table. We're in discussions now regarding what we're going to do with the table. There are some additional "tidbits" to go along with this, but I can't reveal those as of yet. Hopefully, we'll see some of you in October.

That's all for now.

Thanks.

wha



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Update: April 22, 2019

Hey. I want to begin by welcoming our newest Members to the Team: RiotAct; jkw3000; and, moseslawson. Their hard work is needed and greatly appreciated. They have my personal thanks.

We are making progress on the tech side of things. Today, the Tech Team provided the BOD with a link to begin testing the "test" site before we move to a new host. Next, the Tech Team is moving the "test" site to its own URL for final testing. So, I'm hopeful that we will be moved soon.

We have received the Certificate of Incorporation from the State of Georgia. So, we are officially incorporated in the State of Georgia now. Next, I'll merge the two EBs. And, finally, I'll dissolve the New York EB and we'll be all set. In addition, we have adopted Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws for Expresso Beans.com, Inc.

I filed an extension for EB for Year 2018 State and Federal taxes. Due to the volume of materials and short-time frame from the BOD change to April 15, I didn't have time to complete my "due diligence." Once I finish going through all the documents, I'll have a CPA complete the final returns for the corporation.

One of the benefits afforded EB by TRPS is the opportunity to have space in the TRPS Newsletter, which is printed on a bi-annual basis. I think this is an excellent opportunity for Expressobeans.com. I'm hoping one of our Members will volunteer to write an article or two on behalf of EB. I'll create another tread regarding same for comments, discussion, volunteering, etc.

That's all I have for now.

Thanks.

whalaw



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Update: May 28, 2019

Hey,

I want to thank our Members for sticking with us thus far. I do think we’re making some overall progress, albeit slowly. The most obvious “news” is we have finally changed servers. The Tech Team put in a lot of hard work over the last few months to get this done. So, I would like to thank the following Members who contributed to the Tech Team along the way:

Papaver
1nkling
moseslawson
cnickerson
smarr
Bhavik
nc
mfaith
taquito

Likely, the Tech Team will remain as a permanent part of EB. For EB to remain healthy/successful, we need a team of tech savvy volunteers to help us along the way. I believe 1nkling is in discussions with the various members referenced above. So, hopefully, there will be some news regarding same in a future Update.

Now that our servers are safe, I’m comfortable addressing the “upgrade developer” issue a little more thoroughly. Until the recent move, our servers were still “maintained” by the non-responsive developer and until EB’s intellectual property was safe, we did not want to make any statements which might put our IP in jeopardy. The developer’s name is (or was) Wolf Cola, LTD, based in Great Britain. The “owner” of Wolf was/is, Joeseph Ros, who is or was an EB Member. From what I can tell, Wolf was supplying server space to EB since at least 2012. Subsequent to the BOD “changes” back in February, we discovered we had been paying around double “normal/standard” fees to Wolf for server space. That has since been corrected.

In 2017 and prior to starting the “Capital Fundraising” campaign, the BOD attempted to solicit Member volunteers to help upgrade the site. Unfortunately, that was not successful. Concurrently, a couple of BOD Members, including myself, provided the BOD with bids we had solicited from outside sources. Both bids were voted down. During this time, Wolf provided the BOD with a bid and it was accepted by the BOD. Everything started off well and we had the beta site (linked above) after a couple of months. Then, the excuses started from Wolf and continued. You can read about those here and in the “Capital Fundraising” tread.

In late 2018, while trying to track down Wolf, I discovered the entity had been legally dissolved. So, there is no “entity” available to pursue at this point. And, during my research, I found no assets held by either Wolf or Ros. Thus, the hard answer here is EB is out the $30,000.00, collected from our Members in the Capital Fundraising drive, unless, we have a miracle fall in our lap.

Part of what I inherited as President of EB is quite a few past due Artist Awards for poster/art of the year. We’ve managed to track down a couple of artists and get their awards to them, but are unable to make contact with the following:

David Choe
Vania Zouravilov
Olly Moss
Laurent Durieux

If you have valid contact information for any of the above, will you please pass same along to me via PM (I/we have already tried the normal website/social media channels)? While we’re on the subject, we are also working on providing 1st place trophies to the artists who won them for 2018. It appears this was overlooked and we intend to rectify that.

Finally, I want to let everyone know we are still making plans for TRPS. It should be an excellent event this year and we hope to see some of you there.

Thanks.

whalaw



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Update: June 22, 2019

Hey,

I'm amazed at the progress the Tech Team has made and is making with the site. For me, it's running smoother than it has in five years. Thank you for heeding the EB call, Tech Team. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Although, I do realize it's a "team" effort, I want to acknowledge 1nkling, individually. He has done a wonderful job coordinating everything and keeping our Members apprised of the progress. Thank you, Ben.

Here's where we stand on the back-end:

1. Certificate of Merger has been sent to State of Georgia - Upon receipt of same, we'll run Legal Publication Notice again. Then, we can finally finish it up by dissolving the NY EB. I have some monetary requirements to complete with NY, before they will issue a Dissolution. - more below.

2. I've filed documentation to end Workers Comp with NY. We're in a slight ( a few hundred dollars) dispute over the final amount owed. NY claims EB owes until 04/22, because that is when I cancelled the policy. However, our position is we should only owe through 02/11, when our "employee" resigned. I've read the statute and "employee or no employee" is the key element. I'm waiting to hear back from one of their agents to discuss.

3. We should be all paid up now with the payroll service. They are to still provide W2 at year-end.

4. 2018 taxes - I started to put this together last weekend. I intend to finish them by the weekend after the 4th of July Weekend. Then, I have the pleasure of starting on my own taxes.

In my initial post in this thread, I made the commitment to update this thread at least twice a month. Now that we've begun to turn the corner, I'm adjusting that commitment to once every month or so. Obviously, if there's a pressing/urgent matter, I'll/we'll address as needed.

There have been numerous positive changes over the last couple of months. However, I do still have some concerns about the long-term health of EB. The world has greatly changed since 2003, when EB started. Back then, we didn't have competition from social media and/or other "collector" sites. So, membership was active and passionate. An example of what concerns me are the following two threads:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=179895

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=180087

My TRPS article thread has over 5100 views, with 12 replies, and only two offers to volunteer/assist (my thanks to those two, by the way). 1nkling's "Logo" thread has 464 views, with 11 replies and no offers to assist/volunteer, to my knowledge. Those numbers concern me. Active and passionate membership has always been the "secret" to EB's success. We need that from our members to remain healthy. So, what can you do to help EB continue on a positive path?

Finally, I'm ending with the call to TRPS, again. There are a couple of extra tidbits regarding TRPS, which I'll disclose as we get closer to the date. It should be a great time in San Francisco. Please come see us out there, if you can. Thanks and enjoy your weekend(s).

whalaw



___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Update: October 13, 2019

Hey,

I want to begin by reminding everyone we will be at TRPS this Saturday (10/19) in San Francisco (Hall of Flowers) handing out poster tubes and stickers. So, if you are attending, please stop by for a visit. If you are not a member of TRPS, now is an excellent time to join: TRPS.org. I believe the entry fee to TRPS Festival is discounted if you are a member. You can also sign up at the door the day of the event. TRPS is an excellent organization and kindred in spirit to EB. I also want to think pewter14 for accepting delivery and storing EB’s items for TRPS. Thank you, sir.

About a month ago, the Financial Committee provided an analysis showing EB generating $500.00 to $900.00 per month. Our expenses are averaging around $400.00 per month. So, we’ve been on the positive side since at least April of this year. Monetarily, we are self-sufficient, which is excellent news from my perspective.

We have completed the merger in the State of Georgia. Now, I’m in the middle of working on dissolving the NY EB. In New York, it’s a two-step process. First, the New York Tax Department must issue a clearance letter for EB. This is where we are presently in the process. Once we receive the clearance letter from the Tax Department, then I can file the Certificate of Dissolution and Clearance Letter with the Secretary of State. Then, we will be completely merged. It should be done before year’s end.

After completing the merger, I want to turn our attention more towards the future of Expresso Beans.com, Inc. In that regards, my intention is to, at least initially, establish two or three standing-committees, such as Artist Relations, Member Relations, and Events. The Standing-Committees would be comprised one BOD member to oversee and then a mixture of volunteer Team Members and volunteer Members working together. My hope is each committee will define a goal/project and work toward that goal/project to make EB better and help EB give back to our community/hobby.

I’m going to conclude with the same rallying cry as in the past: what can you do to help EB? If you have website and database experience, we need you on the Tech Team. If you have an interest in volunteering for one of the Standing-Committees referenced above, we need you. Our members are the secret to our success. So, what can you do to help EB?

I hope to see many of you on Saturday.

whalaw
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finneganm
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:42 pm

The king is dead.

Long live the king!
...
...
That's what she said
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earlgreytoast
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:46 pm

Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we going to do Stonehenge tomorrow?





Thanks whalaw. Good luck, hoping for the best.
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acidburn
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:51 pm

Pmd
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pj101ca
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:56 pm

Was the "developers" name Rata??
mike123230 wrote:hahahah lawyers are stupid. boom. roasted.
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earlgreytoast
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:02 pm

acidburn wrote:Pmd
Best thing I have seen posted on this site in a long long time! :clap: :clap: exciting.
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middayshadows
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:03 pm

The burning question of being of course, how much exactly did eb get scammed for by the "developer"?
acidburn wrote:Pmd
I'll go ahead and hit the "Like" button on this comment.
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RottenAtom
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:05 pm

Wow. Thanks for the update, whalaw. And thanks for taking the torch (even if its currently burning your hand). Best of luck pulling this thing out of the muck.

I personally hope the site doesn't merge with another entity or get dissolved.
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middayshadows
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:07 pm

Yes. Finally some level of transparency, and intent to proceed that way. Thanks whalaw, and best, in the endevour.
Last edited by middayshadows on Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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acidburn
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:10 pm

Just don't think this site should ever reach to a point of being dissolved.
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middayshadows
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:10 pm

Dissolution would be a gigantic waste of what continues to be a resource that supports and can sometimes actually drive and enrich the hobby.
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Codeblue
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:14 pm

Luls. #TAPS
RupertPupkin wrote:I live by this rule and this rule alone: people are drymounting idiots.
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tourist504
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:14 pm

:neutral:
maden wrote:I would like to see a 16"+ diameter tube.
BlakeAronson wrote:This one is just big enough, but not too overwhelming in size.
jordachep wrote::drool: Can't believe the size. I want this so bad.
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finneganm
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:14 pm

Fool me once...
The EB raffle.

I’ll donate a lot of prints to raffle for round two, good stuff, if we can come up with a plausible plan to move forward using a vetted, reliable developer.
...
...
That's what she said
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Jesusmalverde
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:43 am

I know a guy in Nigeria.
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