Frank Trollman case

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In mid-March, 2010, a former freelancer, Frank Trollman, publicly accused Loren Coleman of being behind the disappearance of a significant amount of money – allegedly around $850,000 – from CGL, implying criminal conduct. The accusation caused a shakeup among fans as well as staff, with several valued employees or freelancers quitting CGL. The ultimate outcome was not announced, but Coleman remained at the head of the firm, did not lose the licenses and was apparently not tried or convicted for any criminal actions. CGL released a public statement providing a summary of the results of a financial review of the company, in which it disclosed strong sales and an increased demand growth of their products. Included in the review was the discovery of some accounting procedures that mixed private funds of the owner with the company's operating capital, due to "accounting procedures [that] had not been updated as the company continued to grow". The realization of this issue resulted in a reported restructuring of the accounting procedures, the start of an administrational organization review and discussions with partners and freelancers regarding indemnification.[1]

Summary of Major Issues[edit]

  • The license Topps has granted to InMediaRes Productions, LLC runs out at the end of May, and is in negotiations for renewal.
  • For a period of several years, freelancers have not been paid on time for their work by IMR; the company has over the last several weeks issued a number of checks to the freelancers to address this situation.
  • FrankTrollman accused Loren L. Coleman of having stolen a large sum of money (he alleges about $850,000; the exact amount is unknown) from InMediaRes Productions LLC. These claims have been buoyed by graphs showing the draws the Colemans have made over the last several years. IMR released a press statement in response admitting financial mismanagement, and aims to address the situation. Loren L. Coleman remains in charge, but there have apparently been some change in financial management at the company.
  • Several employees - David Stansel-Garner, Adam Jury, Jennifer Harding, and Stephen McQuillian - have willingly left employ at IMR for various reasons in a relatively short period of time. Troy Garner was terminated from his employment.
  • WildFire LLC and Posthuman Studios, maker of CthulhuTech and Eclipse Phase respectively, have ended their business relationships with IMR.
  • Several Shadowrun freelancers, including Bobby Derie and Jennifer Harding, have ceased their relationship with IMR or left the freelancer pool.
  • FrankTrollman released a letter that had been sent to the freelancers by Randall Bills, explaining his reasons for supporting Loren L. Coleman. The \"leak\" of this letter and other documents, including drafts of chapters from other sourcebooks would have been covered by non-disclosure agreements, but many of the freelancers were not covered by NDAs. FrankTrollman has not revealed his sources. Jason Hardy responded to these leaks by enacting stricter security controls on the freelancer forums, and eventually abandoning the forums entirely.
  • There have been substantial delays in the Shadowrun development process; most of the books recently released and currently under development were begun under previous line developers.
  • CGL has been releasing a greater number of ebooks/.PDFs for BattleTech and Shadowrun over the last few weeks; there have been no new announcements of books sent to the printers.
  • Three of IMR's creditors have begun a process to attempt and force the company into bankruptcy, in order to reclaim the monies they are owed. IMR is disputing the claims. The initial motion for immediate relief was denied, and the case will now move onto an evidentiary hearing.

Timeline[edit]

  • 3 January - WildFire LLC, makers of CthulhuTech terminate business relationships with Catalyst Games Lab, due to non-payment of royalties and breach of contract.
  •  ? March - Dave Stansel-Garner had resigned about a week before Jennifer Harding did, for his own independent reasons.
  • 15 March - Jennifer "Tiger Eyes" Harding resigns from CGL due to a personal ethics conflict, to whit: Loren Coleman asked her to falsify royalty reports to Topps; Randall Bills allegedly supported this decision.
  • 16 March - Frank Trollman makes his original post, accusing Loren Coleman of stealing money from InMediaRes Productions LLC, of which Catalyst Game Labs is an imprint. Adam Jury resigns.
  • 17 March - IMR puts out a press release talking about the financial mismanagement of the company.
  •  ? March - Several Shadowrun freelancers withdrew copyright on their works until paid, exact dates not given. This is not the first time CGL freelancers had withdrawn copyright until payment was made.
  • 19 March - ICV2 announces that some Shadowrun and CthulhuTech book sales are frozen.
  • 20 March - Jason Hardy posts a correction to ICV2's original post, which ICV2 incorporates on 22 March.
  • 22 March - Bobby "Ancient History" Derie gets banned from the CGL freelancer forums and terminates his contracts, which sets back the development of several Shadowrun books. (More detail here). The sections of the books he worked on in development were assigned to other freelancers. Stephen McQuillian posts that several freelancers are not currently under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA).
  • 27 March - Frank Trollman leaks Randal Bill's letter to the freelancers.
  • 31 March - Dawn of the Artifacts: Midnight ships, despite the author (Jen Harding) having withdrawn copyright. Jason Hardy says this is an error that will be fixed.
  • 1 April - Jason Hardy confirms that shipments of DotA: Midnight have ceased.
  • 3 April - Jennifer Harding weighs in on DotA: Midnight and the situation at Catalyst. Jason Hardy responds. Peter "Synner" Taylor weighs in.
  • 4 April - Jason Hardy issues an update, explaining that CGL is cutting checks for freelancers.
  • 5 April - CGL transfers ownership of remaining CthulhuTech and Poo inventories to WildFire LLC.
  • 6 April - Adam Jury confirms Posthuman Studios is in the process of severing their relationship with IMR as well. Jason Hardy confirms freelancer payments are being received.
  • 8 April - Phil "Ketjak" DeLuca, one of IMR\'s owners, says some of Jennifer Harding's statements are confirmed in IMR's corporate documents, and then weighs in on the state of IMR - and clarifies a little.
  • 12 April - Troy Garner is reportedly terminated from employ at CGL; his position is now taken by Tara Bills (wife of Randall Bills).
  • 13 April - Adam Jury confirms Troy took his personal computer, which is also the shipping computer, with him when he left.
  • 14 April - Phil DeLuca expands on his previous post. The graphs he talks about showing the Coleman\'s draws are posted by Droogydroog.
  • 15 April - Stephen McQuillian reveals he is no longer working for CGL.
  • 19 April - Three of IMR\'s creditors - Wildfire LLC (creators of CthulhuTech), J.P. Sugarbroad, and Paul Stansel file for a Ch.7 Bankruptcy against IMR.
  •  ? April - A humorous webcomic is posted.
  • 21 April - IMR releases a statement concerning its financial situation.
  • 4 May - Catalyst announces that Shadowrun books are no longer frozen.
  • 12 May - A long-in-development deal with Lone Wolf Development is finally completed, sub-licensing Shadowrun for use with Hero Lab.
  • 17 May - IMR answers the creditor's summons.
  • 18 May - The creditors file two motions, one for immediate relief and another to shorten time.
  • 19 May - Motion to shorten time is approved.
  • 21 May - Hearing is held. The creditor\'s motion for immediate relief is denied. A pre-trial hearing is set for 18 June. IMR issues a statement.

References[edit]