RDF v. Timonen

I’m seeing the news popping up everywhere now that the Richard Dawkins Foundation is suing Josh Timonen for fraud and embezzlement. The central fact of the story is that Timonen has been accused of diverting 92% of the revenues from the RDF store to his own personal use.

There’s not much that can be said. Richard Dawkins and the RDF are going to be rightly silent on the case. Josh Timonen has unwisely commented, while failing to refute the major facts of the accusation. I’m not going to say much myself, because while I liked Josh personally, the case against him looks awfully damning. But it will have to work its way through the courts before anyone involved can say more.

You can read the full formal complaint for more details. At this point I’m just hoping it can be resolved quickly and efficiently so that the work of the RDF can proceed without distraction.

The good news is that the RDF has an excellent source of revenue on its hands; the facts in the court document suggest that a well-managed continuation of their services will be a great resource for the foundation. And that’s the best spin I can put on an ugly situation all around, and I won’t be writing more about it until the case is closed. May that happen soon and to the advantage of the cause of science and reason.

I know that there’s been a lot of anger and schadenfreude and bitterness about this situation going on in the comments. Feel free to vent, but just be clear: the resolution of this issue is entirely in the hands of the courts right now, and you aren’t going to get any more information out of the principals in the case until it’s over. And I’m feeling kind of cranky myself because I know all of these people and also have a lot of personal interest vested in the success of the RDF.

There is further clarification from the lawyer for the RDF available.