Thursday, January 31, 2019

Yeah, about that "matching" ... (Part Deux)

A followup to my previous post, wherein I believe I established conclusively that, despite Rebel Media's Ezra Levant's public assurances that all donations to his May 2016 hubris-driven boutique Indiegogo fundraiser page would be matched both federally and provincially when turned over to the Red Cross:

Ezra did, in fact, come up way, way, way short in handing over those donations by the hard matching deadline of May 31, 2016, as confirmed in this Jan 2017 e-mail from the Red Cross' Sue Larkin:

that is, $60,921 short, meaning that that amount failed to be matched both federally and provincially, depriving the Red Cross of double that amount, or $121,842. (Having used Indiegogo rather than encouraging his followers to donate directly to the Red Cross lost an additional 5 per cent of all donations to Indiegogo's processing fee but, at this point, that 5 per cent loss is insignificant compared to the loss of well over $100,000 due to Ezra's failure to get that money to the Red Cross in time. But ... onward.)

What is curious, as I pointed out last time, is that, having assured everyone for the entire month of May that matching would happen, neither Ezra nor anyone else at Rebel Media responded to pointed criticism and questioning from numerous people, asking quite specifically how that matching could possibly happen, given Indiegogo's time requirements on when you can withdraw your collected funds. Having assured everyone on May 6, 2016 that this would happen, neither Ezra nor any other Rebel staffers had a further word to say about this, until this puzzling tweet from Ezra on June 1, 2016, the day after the matching deadline:

Out of nowhere, Ezra is finally announcing that he has gotten around the Indiegogo withdrawal restrictions by using some unknown "financing" that allowed him to transfer funds by the deadline of the previous day, which inspires a number of questions and observations.

The first obvious observation is that Ezra is clearly (and finally) admitting what everyone had been telling him throughout the month of May -- that it was impossible for him to withdraw the Indiegogo money in time for matching. Let's be clear -- with that tweet, Ezra is conceding what everyone on social media had been saying that whole time, something he refused to acknowledge for that entire month, even as everyone was saying it. In short, Ezra was admitting that he was wrong and everyone else was right. But there's more (as there always is).

Note also (as I mentioned last time) how Ezra very carefully does not claim that all funds collected were matched by his mysterious financing; rather, he soft-pedals his claim and describes only how his mysterious financing allowed him to make "a" payment which, as I demonstrated last time and as you can see above, was only $96,000, a massive shortfall from the amount of $162,476 that was in the Indiegogo account, and here's what's so amusing about that shortfall.

To the best of my knowledge, at no time before, during or after his fundraiser, to this day, am I aware that Ezra has ever publicly admitted the precise and horrifying size of that shortfall. I have searched hither and yon and, while perhaps I missed it, I have never, ever found any public acknowledgement by Ezra Levant as to how much he cost the Red Cross in terms of federal and provincial matching money. Never. Rather, if one searches, one finds only vague references that admit to a shortfall of some kind, if an admission exists at all.

For example, here's a snippet from a June 16, 2016 Rebel Media web page wherein Ezra clearly admits to a shortfall of some kind but, astonishingly, tries to spin the fact that some money was handed over in time as some weird reason for celebration:

Even more hilariously, here's an August 13, 2016 tweet from Ezra, wherein he thanks the Red Cross for its assistance with "gov't matching funds", with no hint whatsoever of the massive shortfall he was responsible for:

Even Ezra's June 7, 2016 Statement of Claim to me refuses to be specific about this, stating only:

It is something to behold -- even while suing me, Ezra can't bring himself to admit to the actual amount he handed over, choosing to describe it only as a "majority." As I said, to this day, I am unaware that Ezra Levant has ever quantified the loss of matching funds he was personally responsible for, but there's one more point worth examining.

Given that Ezra admitted that he managed to transfer $96,000 in time for matching due to some mysterious "financing" that he worked out, the obvious question is -- what kind of "financing" did Ezra use and, if he had the ability to front the money, why did he stop at $96,000 and not front the entire $162,476? So let me provide the answer to that in the form a series of e-mails between Rebel Media and the Red Cross in the final hours of May 31, 2016, as Ezra realizes he needs to get that money moved before the end of the day for matching to happen.

11:43 AM: Rebel's Eitan Gilboord e-mails the Red Cross' Matthew Auld, trying to confirm that everything is in place and (curiously) still seeming unsure as to whether matching will still happen:

2:06 PM: Matthew Auld replies, apparently confirming that everything is ready to go, and wondering how the transfer will take place, as time is getting short:

2:08 PM: And here's the money (screen)shot, wherein Rebel's Eitan Gilboord explains that Ezra is going to make the transfer on (God help us) his American Express card:

His American Express card.

His. American. Express. card.

The mind reels, as some things perhaps become clear. With Ezra bragging about how he used "financing" to transfer some of the money in time for matching, it's natural to wonder why he didn't just finance the entire amount to salvage the situation, and one is left only to speculate that even American Express has its limits as to how much money they're willing to allow Ezra to drop on his card at one time.

This is, of course, all speculation, but given the PR nightmare that would naturally ensue if/when it came out how much money Ezra had cost the Red Cross in matching funds, one can only wonder why Ezra didn't mortgage heaven and earth to somehow come up with the full amount. But the fact that Ezra dropped $96K on his AmEx card inspires one more question, which is -- how many bonus air miles did Ezra collect for a transaction of that size?

I have no idea how AmEx cards work, or what type Ezra had at the time, but most credit cards have programs that give you bonuses of some kind based on your transactions, and one can only ponder what Ezra might have received in personal perks in exchange for a transaction of $96,000. One can only speculate.

P.S. Apropos of nothing, I'm going to once again remind everyone that, after having established conclusively and inarguably that Ezra Levant came up way, way, way short in turning over funds to be matched, it's worth revisiting my October 2016 questioning for discovery, wherein Ezra's lawyer tried to bullshit me by claiming that all money had "ultimately" been matched:

This claim is, of course, absolute nonsense, and is totally and utterly contradicted by the subsequent Jan 2017 e-mail I received from the Red Cross' Sue Larkin, which makes it absolutely clear what the final numbers were:

And in a contest of credibilities between Ezra's lawyer and the Red Cross' Susan Larkin, I'm going with Larkin. I just thought you needed to know that.

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