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Casey, please comply with the law

Please note that this post does not necessarily reflect views shared by all OCS posters and sympathisers. I put it here on my own initiative.

Norbert has placed the following post in the brainstorm forum on CS. I felt it should be cross-posted here, so that it can be given due public support by those who feel that’s appropriate. It sure has mine!

“This is my final appeal to Casey and the Leadership Team. I haven’t filed my report yet with the Attorney General of New Hampshire. I would prefer not to do it. I don’t like the role. And I don’t like the fact that this may divert resources into legal procedures, costs, and possible fines. Don’t get me wrong, though: I’m not making any excuses for myself. I will do it if I have to, whether I like it or not. It will not be my fault for reporting it, but the fault of those who broke the law. Yet I feel there is still time to ‘heal’ the situation. CouchSurfing has been represented as a charity without being one, and has thus violated the law. It has failed to comply with registration, reporting and disclosure duties. It has obtained donations of money, time and skills under false pretenses. It has broken the law. It has done the wrong thing. The best defence against those charges obviously is to make it a real charity immediately. That would not undo the legal violations, but it would make them ‘technical’ rather than substantial, and I suppose they could then be overlooked.

This would have to be done with credibility. Mere words will no longer be enough, especially when they are cold, and don’t show an intention to reach out. It would be good to hear an admission of mistakes here and there, or at least an acknowledgment that help from members could be useful. I would like to see the true message of strength from the Leadership Team that comes with admitting they’re not perfect. How could they be? They are mostly young, motivated people, at the beginning of their professional lives, working for us in exchange for a bag of peanuts! So be who you are; don’t claim to be Bill Gates! If you say: this is what I’m good at, and here’s where I need assistance, people will come and help you. If you claim to be perfect, and are arrogant with it, people will try to prove you’re not so perfect after all. If we disagree, by all means do it your way, and not mine, as you’re the ones doing the work, but don’t lie and don’t bully.

I believe a genuine charity is the best way forward, as it will allow motivating future volunteers. This organisation has to spend a lot of time and effort on finding out what it wants from volunteers, and more importantly: what it wants to offer them. It needs to learn urgently that volunteering is a give and take situation, and not a one way street. That doesn’t negate that many volunteers are perfectly happy. They have found rewards for their work, mostly in their own local communities. But that is their own achievement, just like the volunteering itself. The organisation does not seem to be offering much. Where’s the volunteer training? Where are the written testimonials given for thousands of hours of dedicated services, that people might use for job applications in their CV, proving they exercised and acquired skills? Instead cold emails are sent out that “your services will no longer be retained due to personal differences”. Wrong way. Volunteers need to be at the very heart of the organisation. Please treat them as ‘human resources’, not as free labour without minds. I fear there is no ‘healing’ of the wounds suffered by some ex-volunteers, as some of them seem too deep. The effort here will need to be: not to let it happen again.

CouchSurfing, and a number of individuals, may face serious legal consequences, and real pressure can be put on you to honour your word and become a charity. That will happen unless you make it obsolete by doing the right thing now. You can’t, however, be forced legally to put the word ‘irrevocable’ in your bye-laws asset dedication, but you may realise it’s the ‘open sesame’ that leads forward and restores trust. In any event, the obligations that come with genuine charity status (irrevocable or not) to adopt acceptable (team) corporate governance instead of a one-man-band, to have annual reporting and disclosure duties, in other words: public supervision, will be a huge improvement. It will be both: control and support mechanism, to ensure you’ll do the right thing. Please do it.”

10 Responses to “Casey, please comply with the law”

  • Hey. I love your enthusiasm. your quest for something better. But you let it take its course. We all get what we want out of CS. Don’t play YOUR part in destroying it.

  • Eric, Pickwick posted that independently, and opencs folks are still determining whether to “officially” support this or not – before this happens, it’s premature to say the founders of this site and other bloggers here are taking “hostile activity against CS” as you seem to think.

    Also, keep in mind that if CS really does have a non-profit/charitable status it should not have much to worry about even if it is inspected, right? Placing blame on people who question this, instead of placing it in the organization that doesn’t seem to know if it does or does not have the status is a bit weird in my opinion.

  • Pickwick’s back, but curiously enough there are no updates to my email inbox of any CS groups today. Hope it’s a bug ;)

    I would be happy to see CS acting towards getting the status sorted out as soon as possible, but think they can only blame themselves if they don’t.

    If my personal issues back home hadn’t been sorted out quite alright, I would be furious over a non-charitable status and how the paperwork of my volunteering time on CS turned out to be. But now just feel happy for having slightly escaped a total abyss, and hope resolving the situation at hand will keep someone else from having to experience possibility of ending up in a dead-end.

  • Hey! Anu thanks for informing us about the new posts! Guess what?
    I don’t get ANY updates from “Brainstorm” either and i CAN’T POST any replies to the posts on “Brainstorm”!
    “Database conection problem”!

  • No matter what happens in life, everything happens for a reason. ….

    Break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. Create your own life then LET GO and LIVE IT!

  • did Pickwick ever send his report to the AG? If not, he’s lost a bit of credibility huh?

  • Did Casey and the LT show they complied with the law?They certainly have lost a bit of credibility huh? ( going from the comments of continually disgusted and the 82 post thread on the brainstom group with a lot of new members agreeing with pickwick.)

    Casey and LT could have easily have earned some brownie points by just posting information they were in compliance with the law. This would have silenced their critics (and not made their numbers swell and more people ask questions like they are doing now).

    Pickwick has nothing to lose .But casey and the LT do not see that. It is so wierd. They do not understand by just posting a couple of forms how much credibility they would have after 1 years of lies after the fake crash (where couchsurfing deleted itself – techcrunch )

  • It seems to me your just trying to close down I mean really what biusiness is it of yours if you don’t like it just leave the site and get on with your life

    to me it seems like your trying to shut them down I wonder what would happen then I doubt you would ever get there .com name so where would that leave us looking for a new websitemaybe yours this one here!!!

    why not compete in an honest way by providing a better service. I know you can do it because you started this site. Maybe you motive is to close them down before you redo this site or another to fill the void

    I dont get it. Your very agressive. Just leave and forget it after all if you get your way I think you will be facing massive legal action yourself for dammages to because you have no real legal stake in this, so it could be a case of becareful what you wish for

    be honest if you want to start your own version just do it and don’t fight dirty to try and make it easy on yourself. Trust me cheats never prosper and you are obviouly intellegent people but seem to be very emotional about the domain name

    At the end of the day a judge will decide and I am sure he or she will see there efforts as a commendable and honest effort (and yours as distructive and unwarranted) and if mistakes have been made then they can be forgiven. Your efforts seem distruction and without logic.

    Just leave if your not happy. It speaks volumes for the .com that they let you have a profile on the site which basiclaly trashs them. I would have long since given you the big boot.

    If you think you can do better start your own site its that simple. Any other approach could see yourself in court for damages. Its not like are causing harm they are doing a good job and thet deserve a pat on the back and any judge would instantly see this for what it is. Which is a nasty unfounded law suit. Lets face it if you were a lawyer you would just do it and you would never try and do things like this. You wouldn’t need to do it this way, so perhaps although your legal jargin sounds convincing your off the mark.

    As to the 10 reasons not to come on I can think of 10 of reasons not to breath air (pollution and alike) 10 reasons not to eat food but we still have to otherwise we die. The same things happen when we stop living by being so negative about something that frankly has nothing to do with you. Life is short be happy. You can’t change the world its not possible. If your not happy with it just go chill and find something that makes you smile

    Deep down I think you admire just start your own its that simple but don’t go down this road I have had many legal battles in business and I know this is one you won’t win and if you do you might regret it because I am sure they will be hunting you down like a wild animal and handing you papers to defend yourself for damages in the 100′s of millions probably

    So be very careful what you wish for because you just might get it.. but I know one thing you will never get the name
    because I am sure they will bankrupt you with legal fees before you ever got it. Which they might just do anyway.

  • Too much “” … spam! ;)

  • alex are you high on something ? I know there is a huge doping network.

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