Monday, March 03, 2008

Whom do you trust?

Those of you who have been following the Jimmy Wales saga are no doubt aware that Danny Wool, formerly Jimmy's assistant, has suggested that Jimmy tried to use Wikimedia as a "piggybank" to fund his preferred lifestyle. This is a very serious accusation—far more serious than anything relating to Rachel Marsden—and one that, if even remotely true, would be grounds at the very least for Jimmy's expulsion from the projects, and even possibly a visit from the Florida Attorney General.

Danny's comments have garnered a huge amount of attention from all over the place. There's two responses that I found especially interesting. On one hand, we have WMF Executive Director Sue Gardner claiming that "Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures."

And on on the other, we have WMF Chair Florence Devouard (in yet another email on yet another Wikimedia internal list; boy howdy do they have a lot of those): "It may have been a mistake Jimbo, but you originally actually asked the Foundation to pay for that dinner. I find tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip ! You asked the Foundation. Michael told you "no". Then you asked Wikia. And for whatever reason (I do not know), you ended up paying yourself." (Emphasis is mine; the dinner in question is, I am pretty certain, the bill with the $650 wine tab that Danny mentions in his post.)

So, do you believe Sue, or Florence?

I suppose you can believe both: Jimmy tried to get WMF to pay for his dinner, but Michael said no, and so they didn't. But that's just one incident. What possible reason do I have to believe Sue when she says that Jimmy has never charged anything to Wikimedia, when she wasn't there and is necessarily going on information fed to her by someone else? Who could that someone else possibly be but Jimbo? It wasn't Danny. It wasn't Florence. I doubt very much that it's Michael. And there's nobody else who was there.