An Apology to John Richards

Recently, the ‘Board’ of Atheist Alliance International (AAI) were forced by the Attorney General of California to resubmit their financial statements. This was because their original submissions falsely stated that they had not paid themselves any monies from funds that were raised for a charitable purpose. In fact, ‘Directors’ on the ‘AAI Board’ had decided to pay thousands of dollars from charitable funds to themselves. The extracts from the resubmitted financial statements below, provide the relevant details.

Extracts from AAI Financial Statements
Extracts from AAI Financial Statements

I had assumed that these details were correct. After all, these were revised financial statements whereby the Attorney General of California had asked the ‘AAI Board’ to resubmit figures that covered exactly these payments. Moreover, the details are very specific. Dollar amounts are quoted to the cent and described as being the equivalent of sterling payments. What kind of person would make up such details within important financial submissions, rather than take the figures directly from bank statements and other relevant financial records?

Consistent with these financial statements, I had an exchange with John Richards on Twitter that referred to him accepting circa $10,000 for an improperly awarded no-tender contract. John promised to refute that allegation by providing detailed financial records to a trusted intermediary. As I understand it, John provided detailed evidence of all the payments he received from AAI, using banking records that included transaction codes. John went on to describe on Twitter the quarterly payment amounts that he had received, and the trusted intermediary verified the financial records against those transactions. The table below contrasts the payments that John actually received, with the payments that the ‘AAI Board’ claimed they made within their recent financial statements.

AAI Payments to John Richards

I had accused John Richards of being a member of the ‘AAI Board’, when he improperly awarded himself a contract worth circa $10,000 without advertisement or tender, and then paid himself that cash from charitable funds in secret without informing the members. In fact, John Richards was a member of the ‘AAI Board’, when he improperly awarded himself a contract worth circa $6,500 without advertisement or tender, and then paid himself that cash from charitable funds in secret without informing the members. John was very annoyed about my initial comment that used the figures from the AAI financial statements. He said of my comment that it was a “damnable lie and a slur on my character”. I apologise to John Richards for this error, and I accept without qualification or caveat that the figures he has provided are reliable. I hope that he feels that these corrected payment details now accurately reflect his character.

I had also alleged that at the time when John was paying himself thousands of dollars from AAI charitable funds in secret, he was falsely telling the members of AAI that the organisation was “heading for bankruptcy”. It was not remotely true that AAI was heading for bankruptcy, and I do not apologise for saying so.

Then AAI Director faslely claims AAI was heading for bankruptcy

Of course, this debacle now raises some new questions for the ‘AAI Board’ with respect to the financial statements that they recently resubmitted. Those questions include the following:

  1. Since John Richards has been able to verify his version of the payments that were made using detailed financial records, why did AAI overstate the amounts paid to John Richards by thousands of dollars?
  2. Who received the thousands of dollars that AAI has recorded as being paid by them in sterling, but was not received by John Richards?
  3. How many attempts at resubmitting financial statements will be required by the ‘AAI Board’ in order to competently cover up their financial wrongdoing?
  4. Wouldn’t it be better for the ‘AAI Board’ to transparently answer the questions from their members about their very serious wrongdoing, rather than continually refusing to comment on these issues and repeatedly submitting false financial statements to the Attorney General of California?

I won’t hold my breath waiting for John Richards to demand an apology from the ‘AAI Board’ that he was a member of, but I’m happy to correct any statements that I make if they later prove to be false.

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