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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)


     
    Budget and Expenditures More on ICANN Payments to Twomey
    posted by michael on Wednesday March 12 2003, @01:30AM

    Strange things pop into your fax machine. Sunday I posted an item on the rumor that Dr. Paul Twomey will be the next ICANN CEO. Among other things, that item noted that it was unclear whether any ICANN funds might have been used to pay for Dr. Twomey's services as GAC chair.

    Monday I received an anonymous fax purporting to be a "GAC Transaction Record" of the disbursement of the $75,000 that ICANN voted to fund the GAC. It seems to show tens of thousands of US$ (which amounts to even more Australian dollars) were paid to Argo for "GAC Chair Services". (Argo, of course, is Dr. Twomey's consulting company.) That's over and above twenty thousand or so for "GAC Chair Travel." The fax is opaque enough to look convincing, although confirmation from anyone in the know would be welcome.



    In an effort to establish if this fax presents an accurate account of GAC expenditures, and to figure out what the payment for "GAC Chair Services" meant, I e-mailed Stuart Lynn, Louis Touton, Mary Hewitt, and Dr. Twomey (via the 'info' address on the Argo Pacific web site). In my e-mail I gave the URL for the Transaction Record, and then stated,
    Can you comment please -- on the record -- regarding what these payments covered? In particular, do these remarkably round numbers cover anything other than actual out-of-pocket expenses in connection with the meeting?
    Here is the full text of the prompt and courteous reply from Stuart Lynn, which I originally took to admit that ICANN paid Dr. Twomey's salary while he served on an ICANN Committee:
    Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 20:41:16 -0800
    From: M. Stuart Lynn {lynn@icann.org}
    To: Michael Froomkin - U.Miami School of Law {froomkin@law.miami.edu}, touton@icann.org
    Cc: Info@argopacific.com, hewitt@icann.org
    Subject: Re: GAC Payments to Dr. Twomey

    There is no need to comment on this, and certainly not in ICANNWatch. The legitimacy of these transactions has been well-documented in the record.

    BTW, it has come to my attention that every month the University of Miami funnels substantial payments to a bank account in your name over and above reimbursement of your travel expenses. Would you care to comment?

    Stuart

    Where these payments may be "documented in the record" I confess I don't know. So I wrote back to ask, making clear that I understood the reference to mean ICANN paid Dr. Twomey a salary. The reply was swift:
    As usual, you misquote me to achieve your own ends. Where did I say that ICANN paid Dr. Twomey a salary? Can you please point me to the text in my note. Or did you just invent this?
    Although plainly Stuart Lynn was denying that he'd admitted that ICANN had paid Dr. Twomey a salary, his message didn't seem to speak to whether ICANN had in fact paid Dr. Twomey a salary (or any other compensation above expenses). So I wrote again, asking where the payments were documented. Again, a reply:
    See also below.

    And I am delighted you are running this story. It is indeed in the best traditions of ICANNWatch.

    Stuart

    [...quotations of previous e-mails omitted]

    ****You might start with the resolution of the Executive Committee on 8/13/02 (see http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-13aug02.htm), which in part states:

    "........
    Whereas, the Executive Committee has therefore concluded that it is appropriate to provide reimbursement to the Australian Government for its actual costs of providing chair and secretariat services to the GAC through 15 November 2002, after which other arrangements for the provision of these services can come into operation; Resolved [EC02.8] that the President is authorized to provide reimbursement to the Australian Government for its actual costs of providing chair and secretariat services to the GAC, in a total amount not to exceed US$75,000, for the period ending 15 November 2002, after which alternative arrangements by the GAC to provide these functions can be implemented."

    (This didn't sound exactly like 'documentation' to me, because the resolution authorizing the payments states what the payments were supposed to be; the question was what they actually were used for.) I answered:
    But does the cost of "secretariat services" and/ or "GAC Chair Services" include salary for the GAC chair? A simple yes or no will suffice.

    The reason for this question is that "Salary" to the recipient is not logically inconsistent with "actual cost" to the Australian Government if the Australian Government pays the GAC chair a salary above his out-of-pocket expenses.

    That question apparently crossed with a follow-up from Stuart Lynn (the "]" marks quote my earlier mail):
    See below. S

    At 12:21 AM -0500 3/11/03, Michael Froomkin - U.Miami School of Law wrote:

    ] You yourself compared the payment to Dr. Twomey to the funds that "Miami
    ] funnels" to my bank account "above reimbursement of your [i.e. my] travel
    ] expenses". That, of course, is a salary. What else could it be?

    ****What an inference! You make great leaps of imagination. You might try using facts. It's a refreshing experience.

    And when did I use the word "salary" in connection with the U of Miami's transfers to your bank account? I believe I used the word "payment".

    ]
    ] If the payments to Dr. Twomey for "Chair Services" was not a salary, what
    ] was it? Please identify the place where this is "well-documented on the
    ] record".


    ]
    ] In any event, you need not fear misquotation as I will quote your email in
    ] full. If you wish to state now, for the record, that ICANN has not paid
    ] Dr. Twomey any sums above expenses for which you have receipts, I'll most
    ] certainly quote any such statement in full.

    *****ICANN has not paid Dr. Twomey any sums above expenses for which ICANN has receipts. You may quote me.

    ]
    ]
    ] The reason for writing to you is to get the facts right. I have no desire
    ] to smear anyone.

    ***** I should jolly well hope not, hard as it must be for you to pursue such a course of action.

    That should settle the matter, right? But I wanted to be sure I'd understood, especially as the Executive Committee resolution spoke of payments to the Australian government (and the ledger shows payments to "NOIE" which is part of that government). If the payments were to NOIE and only through them to Dr. Twomey, ICANN would of course have never paid Dr. Twomey anything, with or without documentation. So I wrote again:

    Thank you.

    I note that the $75,000 we have been discussing was to be paid to the Australian Government -- as specified in ICANN's authorizing resolution -- and by them to Argo, potentially making the statement "ICANN has not paid Dr. Twomey any sums above expenses for which ICANN has receipts" both literally true and irrelevant in the context of our conversation.

    I trust you are not playing legalistic word games here, but I want to be sure I get this right. We are both talking about the same thing -- the $75,000 authorized by the Executive Committee, right? You are saying that none of this sum was paid to Dr. Twomey for anything other than expenses.

    That one didn't get an answer, nor as of Tuesday evening had there been any comments from the other people I wrote to.
    * * *

    What's ironic about all is that while ICANN was spending $75,000 for something it could have had for free, two or three DNSO constituencies were being threatened with disenfranchisement for not paying dues to support a secretariat that cost about the same amount.

    Maybe the way for ICANN constituencies to get support from ICANN to fund their secretariats is to threaten to get help from the ITU...

     
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      Related Links  
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  • threatened with disenfranchisement
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  • GAC Transaction Record
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  • More on Budget and Expenditures
  • Also by michael
  •  
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    More on ICANN Payments to Twomey | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 3 comments | Search Discussion
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    Expense documentation is a mess
    by KarlAuerbach on Wednesday March 12 2003, @09:04AM (#11310)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    When I dug through the ICANN records one of the things that I discovered was that ICANN's procedures for documenting expenses was extremely poor. (I looked at expenses of staff and contractors; I chose not to look at the expenses of other Directors.) The files are filled with bareley legible handwritten scratchings on whatever kind of paper was at hand. There seems to be no clearly established mechanism for reporting, evaluation, and approval of expenses.

    Some of these expense forms were incredibly detailed - there are some folks who bill ICANN for every peanut and every cup of coffee consumed in transit. And then there are others that are nearly devoid of detail. Often amount of detail was inversely proprotional to the size of the bottom line.

    But none of this comes close to ICANN's practice of paying litterally hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, month in and month out, on summary invoices to contractors - these invoices are simply a bottom-line demand by the contractor for money and are devoid of any detail about what work, if any, that was performed. ICANN has spent many millions of dollars in this way on one contractor without the existance of a written agreement between ICANN and the contractor covering the terms of the relationship and the fees to be charged.

    I was amazed to find that in one case, over $300,000 was spent for services from a professional firm and there was apparently no written report at the end of the job. A third of a million dollars for oral comments?

    In another case, ICANN blew away nearly $30,000 by hiring a professional firm to evaluate a matter. ICANN's management fed that firm a load of incorrect facts either knowing or being recklessly unaware that those "facts" were false or misleadingly incomplete. The result was a useless report that leaves ICANN more exposed on that matter than it was before.

    I don't know about the $75,000 here. But it is pretty clear that Lynn is unhappy with you asking about it and is engaged a misguided effort to blame you for asking. His response was unprofessional and an embarrassment to ICANN. It is the president's responsiblity to establish mechanisms for proper accounting of expenses. And GAC expenses are not something that should be swept under a cloak of secrecy, quite the contrary.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Toldja
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday March 13 2003, @01:35PM (#11321)
    User #2810 Info
    Yer sometime resident net prophet said at the time that the GAC payment was authorized that some went to Twomey. Lynn is well privy to that and has here engaged in one of the most amazing streams of prevarication and evasion that has ever been published. One should also bear in mind that Twomey had (has?) a more (or less) than professional connection to a certain then US DOC official with ICANN responsibilities.

    I also predicted (if memory serves, in February 2002, that is, more than a year ago) that Twomey would be the next CEO. I did not and will not disclose my source(s) but at the time did give sufficient information that one could at the very least draw such inferences. I've tried using both the inhouse and google search functions to find said posts here without success, and a post by post look thru my 1900+ articles and comments [yikes!] also isn't in the cards, however some hangers on may recall such. BTW, I had heard some months ago a new rumor that there were some in the ICANN power elite who did not want Twomey, perhaps the current rumor shows that that was not then, or is no longer, true.

    Nevertheless, this post is less to point out my near perfect record of ICANN predictions, though I never tire of that, but more to show that if someone as out of the loop as yers truly knows what ICANN is doing a year in advance, albeit behind a smokescreen, they are clearly acting out a charade, they know their long game well in advance, they eventually execute it, and whether they do so well or poorly, they care not a whit for how it looks to the great unwashed (or well-scrubbed government wonks for that matter). Thus I rarely comment on, or even follow, ICANN matters anymore. The forces of darkness have won. OTOH they stand astride a backwater battlefield whilst the world increasingly routes around them, a pyrrhic victory at best. Would they could see themselves in such light and share the laugh. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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