Recent blog posts from Wikipedia ex-employee Danny Wool
touched off a series of scandals earlier this week, centered around Wikipedia
founder and chair emeritus Jimmy
Wool, writing in his blog, “All’s Wool that Ends Wool,”
claims that Wales improperly used Wikimedia Foundation funds to cover lavish
personal expenses, including visits to a massage parlor in Moscow and expensive
wine for friends.
The claims appear to be part of the fallout from Wales’ high-profile breakup with
Canadian TV commentator Rachel Marsden. Shortly afterwards, gossip blog Valleywag started receiving copies of lurid
chat transcripts supposedly between Wales and Marsden, purportedly from Marsden’s
One conversation disclosed to Valleywag shows Wales discussing edits to Marsden’s after they got
together, touching off controversy over possible conflicts of interest.
maintains his edits were completely above-board, and that after the two
met, he “recused [himself] from any further official action with respect to her
Meanwhile, Wool posted a blog entry called, “Money
for nothing, chicks for free?” on March 1, claiming that ValleyWag “missed a few of the facts.”
Wool claimed that Wales’ affairs, both with Marsden and others past, as well as
numerous spending binges, had “an impact on the Foundation’s cash
reserves,” wholly derived from donations as the Wikimedia Foundation is a
“You see, Jimbeau was certainly not frugal in his spending
on his endless trips abroad, but when it came to handing in receipts, he could
be somewhat careless,” wrote Wool, “at one point he owed the Foundation some
$30,000 in receipts.” According to Wool, Wales frequently tried to expense
lavish personal expenditures: “I wonder if the students who gave up their lunch
money to donate to Wikipedia would have approved of that expense.”
“Wool insinuated … that Wales was
careless with expenses and receipts, often asking the San Francisco foundation
to pay for personal expenses,” reads
a report in the San
Francisco Chronicle. “He said the expenditures piled up as Wales' celebrity
grew, prompting the foundation to take away his credit card.”
Both Wikimedia Foundation and Wales denied any wrongdoing. Florence
Devouard, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, told the Associated Press that Wales was simply “slow in submitting receipts,”
and noted that the foundation was not afraid of rejecting frivolous expenses.
interview with CNET TV, Wikimedia Foundation executive director
Sue Gardner said that Wales had expensed a total of $1,100 in travel-related
costs over the last nine months. Wales had “done nothing but be modest, frugal,
and do what’s best for the organization.”
quote: But it seems that this type of structure also suffers from human greediness
quote: 90% of the people in this country have been corrupted by greed. That's a FACT.
quote: And here I thought the world would be a better place if all corporations were non-profit, don't get me wrong I like profit I just imagine all revenue going to pay salaries and infrastructure and at the end there would be no profit.
quote: They just happened to have chosen to be a non-profit, which is just a tax designation
quote: At Google, he'd be canned.
quote: Are you serious? Did you miss the article? This 'business' operates chiefly on donations and the founder has $30k (that we know of) in unaccounted reciepts for personal expenses that he put on the company's tab. That's not 'enriching himself', it's unethical.
quote: who get rich from a company's profits and they did nothing, and didn't even necessarily pony up the money at the beginning.
quote: it was just my way of saying wouldn't it be nice...
quote: What business is it of ours