This Skype conversation took place between Paul Elam and Attila Vinczer on July 16, 2015
For backstory on this matter, please see the following two pages.
To date, Attila has not paid back a dime.
If you need back story here it is.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what a sociopath looks like.
Addendum: Someone approached me on Twitter, a man named Dante Hamilton, with whom I was previously unfamiliar. He offered to make a transcript of this for the record. “Sure,” I said. “Never happen,” I thought. Then a few hours ago the following hits my inbox.
Lesson. Don’t judge a Tweet by it’s cover.
Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.
Attila: Hey Paul, how are you?
Paul: I’m good, how are you doing today, bud?
Attila: Not too bad. Wallowing in all kinds of mud, and shit, and everything.
Paul: Yeah, I can imagine.
Attila: Anyways, I understand that Tanveer had contacted you, but I also understand the concerns that you have and they’re my concerns as well
Attila: So, I… the only thing I can rely on and.. I hope that at least you can respect that I don’t lie, I don’t bullshit, I don’t fuck around. The situation that had arisen on the third of June. I was to have been funded, I was to get a $52,000 dollar check. It didn’t happen. Not because of anything that I knew, or that that would go wrong, or that I did wrong… So hindsight being 20/20, I would not have allowed this event to go forward, knowing that that money was not going to come. You know, I was- I was okay with the money coming the day of, but it didn’t. So anyways, and as it turns out it came on the 6th of July, but it came… I was $40,000 short, and I don’t want to get into the whys and the hows… I’ve had to clear off some incredible things with Tanveer New Market, I got hit with extraordinary costs, legal costs. One lawyer took an extra ten grand, just one lawyer. So, I was short, and an order came in through the business, so I thought, you know what, I’m just going to somehow massage this together so I can cover off my obligations. So, here I am. I’m making deliveries on the 26th; should be a Monday. I’m gonna be paid, and I will deal with a fair chunk of my debt, but I’ve had to go back to a mortgage broker because I’m short. I need money, and that money was not just for the domestic violence stuff. I’ve had a construction site that needs to move ahead. So, I’ve gone back to him this week. He has to look. I need that $50 grand. I suspect it’s gonna take two to three weeks, and at that point I just want to clear the slate. I don’t want to hear anybody talking about being cheated, ripped off, scammed, whatever. I have no personal [skin?] in this game, I don’t… there’s not a single bit of personal advantage. If anything, there’s a disadvantage, as can be seen now. And I’m very, very sorry that it turned out as it has, because, y’know, I don’t mind going into battles, but not these kinds of battles. The hell would I- would I knowingly do this.
Paul: Well let me say a couple things, Attila. Again, one thing that, I mean… I don’t know how much of it you’re seeing, or is registering-
Attila: Just, just one thing-
Paul: Let me finish here. I understand that owing Tanveer four thousand dollars is not money that went into your pot. I understand that the money that you owe me is not money that you- that went into your pot. That’s not what I’m thinking about this, but the bottom line right now is that it really doesn’t matter what I think, and I’m going to tell you why. ‘Cause what is circulating now, and I think it’s still stoppable, if- with the right cards being played, is that we have on record, and I don’t mean “on record” like we’re keeping a file, but I mean what has come up is people like Marty Fiebert complaining, Erin Pizzey complaining, Tanveer complaining, Al Martin complaining. All of these people, through the [scope] going back to the first conference complaining about feeling cheated. And it gets to a point, if there’s enough people doing that, Attila, it won’t matter what your intent was. It won’t matter what problems befell your luck.
Attila: I agree!
Paul: It will just matter that people are gonna start talking about this, and your reputation is gonna get crushed out of it.
Attila: Right, I agree. I’m completely cognizant of that.
Attila: You’re right, it won’t matter what happened or how it happened, or how, y’know… I had a heart attack; none of that would matter. The only thing that would matter is people are going to say these negative things, and that’s all that’s gonna stick.
Paul: Yeah, and the way to avoid that, Attila, is by contacting people with information that’s reliable on when you can take care of these things and then following through with them. That’s the only thing that can pull you out of this. But so far, what I know, and I believe it’s been with best intent; you’ve told people one thing after another and then not followed through. And it’s-
Paul: And it’s killing you.
Attila: Yes, you’re absolutely right. And I evaluate my situation, I look at what I’m [anticipating], and I make what looks to me as reasonable commitments, reasonable obligations, confirmation, and I’m having some bad luck.
Paul: Let me ask you this; is there a possibility that you can return the unsold silver to Al?
Attila: That’s a possibility.
Attila: See, that kind of good faith registers with people too.
Attila: I was even going to, I mean, ideally? The plan was I thought we would sell 100 units, without any trouble. And it didn’t happen.
Paul: Yup. I know.
Attila: So… But I don’t know what he’s going to do with 100 blanks.
Paul: Well, at least they’re worth their weight in silver.
Attila: Yeah, but you know what? That should- that would need to be turned back into buillion, so that you could actually… Gold is one thing, but silver is another. So that he could actually, I mean, I would sell it myself. If it was gold, I could get rid of it just like that. But I’ve got a guy, it’s [Universal Coin] that I deal with, he’s going to actually contact somebody in the United States who may be interested in buying 100 of the… I mean, I know it’s got AVFM, A Voice For Men, on it, but the interest in the Kennedy quote on the back. So I’m going to play that out, see if I can sell it, but it won’t be at $6 a piece; it’s gonna be at about $20 a piece, which is four dollars less than what I owe Al per ounce, because back then it was $24 an ounce, now it’s only $16.
Paul: Right. I know it’s dropped-
Attila: So I’ve taken a hit, an $8 hit on that too. So, nothing has been in my favor. And to add more trouble to my plate, we’ve? been hit with an extraordinary 3-year audit on our charity and I don’t know when this wind blew in, I don’t know who… Somebody had to have filed the complaint, and I don’t know [whether it] was because of the Senator, because they were audited heavily. I saw the email she showed me, with our charity name on it, and they were questioning why she would would come to an event that was hosted by a charity. So I don’t know if it’s from there, or from somebody like [White Ribbon]. I don’t know, but I’ve gotta produce three years of absolute, like not even… It’s not a minor audit, it’s everything.
Paul: That sucks.
Attila: So, you know, my plate is really, really full. So, you know what, I have to step back for a couple of days. I just needed to shut things down so I could reboot my mind, so that I could deal with all this. But anyways, the checks will be written. The question I have for you is I understand to make a payment plan, and I’m fine with that, but in order to be fair with that, I would have to make a list of all the creditors, the amounts and proportionate to what money is owed. If I have $1000 to distribute, let’s say, I would have to proportionately give the right percentage to each creditor.
Paul: Okay. The only topic that I’m concerned about here were the names named in the message that I sent you. Because that’s the message, you know, you’re part of this community, you’re a valued activist, and things are boiling up, and whether you realize it or not, Attila, I’m working to try to have your ass covered by now, harder than you know about.
Attila: You know what, and I implicitly respect that, and, you know, I quietly do that when people attack you. I have no hesitation to fend whatever people say, to fend that off. So I really appreciate that, and, Paul, I just… I just gotta clear my conscience here, I just need to be clear, that I have no ill intent. I have no desire to hurt or harm anyone, and this shit is weighing heavily on my mind.
Paul: I believe you, I believe you. That’s not the issue, Attila, and this is what I’m trying to get you to listen to, is that regardless of your intent, people have been harmed.
Attila: I agree-
Paul: And the thing is, that this thing, if it isn’t handled soon, is going to blow up, and here’s the position it puts me in; here’s what I’m going to face. If Tanveer says fuck it, I’m going public, or whatever, people are going to turn and, because of our affiliation, they’re going to hook it to me and AVFM. And then I’ll be frank with you, that part of my motive here… The biggest part of it is that I care about you and I want this thing to go away. But part of my motive here is, Attila, that this stuff is [dirty], whether you had any ill intent or not, it’s dirty and it’s gonna splash all over all of us. Not just you.
Attila: Okay. Let me ask you this. I need to… Because I’m looking at a three-week period, to where I could write all the checks, 100%, and be done with this. I need to ask you. Do you think I should make a proposal to all of the creditors or do you think that I should pick off certain, more heated people, or more dangerous or… how do I say this… more critical people first?
Paul: Well, in terms of the meltdown that I’m trying to avoid, I think you should address the people in the letter, I think you should wait until you have a date that is written in fucking concrete that you will be able to make restitution or begin a restitution plan. I mean, I’m not trying to be cold, but the other people you owe money to are not of concern to me. At all. That is- that’s not my concern. My concern is about the men’s movement, it’s about AVFM’s reputation, it’s about your reputation. So what I would suggest is that you contact each of those entities, of course exclude me because you’ve already apologized, and I don’t need one, but that you contact these people, apologize, but don’t do it until you have a date that you know you can follow through. Because the next promise you make that doesn’t get delivered, it’s going to blow up in your face-
Paul: And there won’t be any stopping it.
Attila: I have to consider… And I understand what you said here, but I have to consider that I need to… If this takes three, four, five days, people are gonna look at me, particularly Tanveer, who’s been brutal with me; actually, I don’t know how the hell this guy’s a physician?, with some of the stuff he’s written to me-
Paul: C’mon, Attila, don’t play victim to this. This guy spent $4k out-of-pocket, he was told he’d be reimbursed, and he got left holding the bag. Please don’t play victim to this. This is, whether you want to take it or not, and I’m not angry at you, but this is your creation. This guy is a smart, passionate man with a lot of smarts, and I have no doubt he’s a good physician, but attacking him because he’s angry at you for being stiffed out of $4 grand, man, that doesn’t look good on you.
Attila: Fair enough. I hope that I can speak with you openly-
Paul: You always can, and I always will with you.
Attila: Okay, so, the communication that I had with him, it derailed, brutally, and-
Paul: He’s angry!
Attila: Okay. Alright. So how do I deal with this angry man? What do I say to him?
Paul: What you do, and this is something I’ve told to many people in my life that were angry at me, is that your anger with me aside, here’s what I’m going to do. If you want to continue to be brutal with me, fine; whatever you want to do, I understand why you’re angry, but here is what’s going to happen. And just disregard his anger; don’t be offended at people being angry at you over this, Attila. People have a right to their anger.
Paul: And he may have come out with it too much, I don’t know, but the basic reason he’s angry is sound. Just ignore that and take care of the problem, and his anger will go away.
Attila: Okay. Alright. I just… I’ve been struggling with how to deal with this guy. I mean, normally-
Paul: A $4k check.
Attila: I know, and it’s a $4100 check, not just-
Paul: Okay, well, what he wrote me was for $4100 then. That’s how you deal with his anger. You don’t need to struggle with his emotions, you need to struggle with the debt.
Attila: Okay. So, I’m just gonna ask you, just dealing with what is going to explode more, and trying to cool that first. If I dealt with Tanveer, I somehow need to gather that- his volatility is the most severe.
Paul: I wouldn’t say so. Right now I would say Al’s is.
Paul: I would say it’s an equal problem. I don’t- I’ve never done anything retributive in my life to anything over a financial debt, and I’m not gonna start now, but I can tell you this; and this is, read it like you want to, you said we would talk honestly, this is what I’m doing.
Attila: Yes, yes-
Paul: The last person on Earth I would want angry at me, because of the reaching capability he has, is Al Martin, and he is angry.
Attila: Okay, so are you telling me, if I’m hearing this right, that I should prioritize Al?
Paul: I think you should prioritize the debt that has come up in relation to your events. I mean, I can’t- I don’t have a magic formula. I know this is just between me, and Al, and Tanveer, it’s almost ten grand.
Attila: I know, I know.
Paul: And I don’t have a way to sort that out for you. All I know is that’s what’s owed. That I’m trying to keep this from boiling over, and I’m actually spending more time trying to settle people down than I care to be right now.
Attila: I’m sorry that it’s consuming your time.
Paul: But that’s okay, but the only solution to this is going to be to be, as quickly as is realistic, Attila, you have to tell people when they’re going to be paid back, and it has to stick.
Attila: I realize that.
Paul: And that’s the simplest, only answer in this whole deal.
Attila: Okay, I guess that I’m- just so that I’m not going at this all on my own, would it be fair, or do you think that it would be a good approach to contact Al and Tanveer and [name], and just explain to them- see, I’d try to explain it to Tanveer, but it just blew up on me.
Paul: And that’s what- listen, brother, I’m trying to tell you something that you’re not getting. That’s why he blew up. People that feel stiffed, people that are owed money, don’t want to hear about, “Well I’ve got this mortgage broker this, and I’ve got this business deal that”. They want to hear the date and the amount.
Paul: And they want it to stick.
Attila: Okay, so here’s my challenge. I need to get confirmation, and I’m talking to you, and I hope that I can speak openly. My challenge is, I need to get my commitment from my mortgage broker on a specific closing date so that I can say okay, this is the date that I- that this will happen, and I may even add a week to it to be on the safe side, because I would rather under promise than over deliver.
Paul: If there is any chance, like I mean a lightning bolt chance, that something could go wrong with that deal, I would not contact people with that information.
Attila: But I-
Paul: If I had to, I would wait until I had the check in my hand, and then contact people and say, “I have the money, it’s on the way right now.”
Attila: But I can’t ignore Tanveer, he’s emailing me every day.
Paul: Let me talk to Tanveer, and I can probably get that to, if anything, slow down.
Attila: I don’t mind him sending me these emails, but I mean I read them and I try to interpret them, and-
Paul: And okay, I’ll get a better answer for you then, and you know how you answer [Tim Vier]? You say, how many times have you told Tanveer he would get the money and not been able to follow through?
Paul: Okay. Write him back, apologize again, and say: ” Tanveer, look. I’ve told you twice when I was going to pay you back, and stuff happened and I was not able to follow through. I feel terrible about that, and I know you’re angry and at the risk of making you even angrier, I’m working on this hard but I’m not going to give you a date until I have a check in my hand because I don’t want to lead you to believe something when it could go wrong.” And then let him live with that. I will talk to Tanveer. I believe fully that I can get his commitment to not go public.
Attila: Okay. And I think that that is a solid way of dealing with it, so that I don’t want, you know, to try to estimate a concrete date when I don’t have the check in my hand.
Paul: Yes. Just tell him you’re doing the best you can, that this is weighing heavily on your mind, that you feel awful that you told him twice and were not able to follow through and that you weren’t going to set yourself or him up for that again. End of story. And then let him be angry if he has to be angry. I mean, that’s fine; people are allowed to be angry over this stuff. But your goal here should not be to make everybody feel all hunky-dory and peaceful and it’s all cool. Your goal should be to own the debt and take care of it, and nothing else. And then those that I believe are decent enough human beings will see in that that you did follow through with your word, and that will restore your credibility. But if you give somebody else one more story about how this went wrong, or that went wrong, or my car got towed, it all starts sounding like “the dog ate my homework”. And people don’t buy it, even when it’s true.
Attila: Fair enough. I, you know, people that I care about, that are close to me, I just- I am explicitly open, and my fucking car did get towed.
Paul: Yeah, I know, and you don’t- let me- we’re talking openly. You owed me $2k. You wrote and said, “I was going to pay you but my car got towed. It cost $750.” The first thing that entered my mind was, what about the $1,250 that was left over after that? Why didn’t I even see $10 of it? So you gotta understand how people react to this stuff, Attila, and sometimes I don’t think you do.
Attila: You know what? No, I’m glad that you mentioned that, and I do understand that.
Paul: So, that’s my suggestion. Tell people you’re working on it, tell people that you’re not going to make any more promises about when because you haven’t been able to follow through, but that you’re working on it and the only other deadline you’re gonna set is that you’re gonna notify them as soon as the money is in your hand to send out, so there won’t be any doubt. And if people- I would respond a lot more favorably to that than to somebody writing me and giving me their reasons why they didn’t pay me on time, by far. I would rather hear that somebody’s coming up honestly and saying “Look, things have been fucked up, I’m not going to make any more promises and break them. I’m tired of breaking my word. So here’s the deal, I’m working my ass off on this, as soon as I have the money, you’re gonna hear from me.” And that’s all people want to hear, Attila; they get offended when they hear “I had this problem, and that problem, and this problem, and that problem”; it’s a big turn-off to somebody who feels stiffed.
Attila: Okay. You know what, looking at it from that perspective, and I guess it’s been a long time since, and I have been stiffed-
Paul: I bet you have.
Attila: I have. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you know what, you’re right. Like my own brother. You know, knowing that he was off to the racetrack, racing cars, when I turned him onto auto racing, and knowing that I gave him $130 grand, and he didn’t bother to call me and say “Hey, brother, here’s the keys, here’s the helmet, go for a fucking drive”. And that bugged me, because that essentially, I looked at that vehicle as, “I paid for that”.
Paul: Well, in that case, you did.
Attila: I know I did. It’s been a while since I looked at it from that perspective, and I appreciate you bringing it to light for me. So, yeah. I understand.
Paul: Okay, man. Look, I’ve gotta run. I’m glad you wanted to talk about this, I gave you the best advice I could, and I’m doing all I can to keep this from becoming worse than it is.
Attila: Hey, listen. I very much respect you having my back; it means a lot to me, and I’m not gonna let you down on it. I know you’re going out on somewhat of a limb, you’re spinning your wheels on this, so I just need to be clear that I’m not going to let you down on this.
Paul: Okay. And then you will forgive me for saying, show me the money.
Paul: Because here’s the deal; I mean this on a personal level, Attila; we’ve changed business models, we have ended fundraisers, I am financially in horrible shape. I mean, worse than I’m even willing to tell you.
Attila: I believe it. I believe it, and you know what? What I’d like to do, because I’m in no position to talk about my troubles now, but when this is all settled and done with, then I’d like to sit down with you, have a beer, and you know what, just shoot the shit. Because some of this stuff that I’ve gone through in the last couple of years is remarkable.
Paul: Yep. I hear you. And I would like to do the same thing, but I’m gonna run now. I’ve got stuff to do, but thanks for talking to me, and I will follow through; I will talk to just the people that are involved in this, and ask for their forebearance for a while.
Attila: Okay. I’m not gonna write anything today, I just need to get a good night’s sleep, but tomorrow I will write to each and every one of these people.
Paul: Good. And yes, get a good night’s sleep first. Rest up on it, man.
Attila: [Unintelligible] brother, thank you very much for your help.
Paul: Take care, Attila. Bye bye.