I have said since the start of the US Fleet Tracking vs. okcCoCo dispute went public that I’m eager to share whatever I can of the story to be told by US Fleet Tracking and its CEO, Jerry Hunter. The following is a timeline and some comments released by US Fleet Tracking:
Timeline of events:
January 23, 2012 – OKCCoCo emails the tech community an Indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000. They state that “If we cannot reach our goal, the okcCoCo will close in March.”
January 24, 2012 – US Fleet Tracking steps up to the plate. We support our local community, we support entrepreneurial startups, and we support what the okcCoCo stood for. We personally visit them at their facility and offer $23,000 in exchange for sponsorship naming rights within the new facility at 220 NW 10th as was outlined as the top donor incentive on the Indiegogo campaign so that they will not be forced to close their doors. They are in need of immediate cash, so in good faith USFT agrees to write them the check on-the-spot, with the understanding that a written contract will follow which will lay out in writing the sponsorship we agreed on. (Looking back, we should have ensured the written agreement was finalized and signed by both parties.) USFT asks that the donation not be publicly listed on the Indiegogo campaign so that the OKCCoCo is allowed to raise more capital than originally stated as the need. USFT’s intent was to allow OKCCoCo to raise more than what they needed through the Indiegogo campaign.
February 1, 2012 – The OKCCoCo fundraising drive raised $29,525 from the Indiegogo campaign. This, in addition to the $23,000 provided by USFT, brings the total to $52,525 – more than double the CoCo’s stated goal of $25,000.
February 15, 2012 – Despite the portrayal that OKCCoCo is a downtown entity, representatives from OKCCoCo and USFT visit another potential OKCCoCo location on Classen Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and 63rd Street at the request of the OKCCoCo. They state that the deal on the building at 220 NW 10th fell through, and they are searching for another building. (The exact date of this site visit is estimated to be February 15, 2012.)
February 24, 2012 – USFT learns the Classen location between Wilshire and 63rd will not be an option due to the landlord not comfortable leasing to an organization like OKCCoCo.
March 21, 2012 – USFT learns the OKCCoCo closes its doors – despite having raised $52,525 in funds – and that the new location is being considered at 49th Street and Western Avenue.
April 20, 2012 – Since they don’t seem to be making progress in securing a new location, and concerned the CoCo may never reopen, USFT staff encourage Parkhurst to consider temporarily relocating within some of Hunter Industries’ resources while the CoCo has time to find a more suitable location. Part of the proposed arrangement for temporary relocation is for CoCo to also pay rent that is dramatically discounted below market value. USFT begins to suspect they’ve used the money for things other than the intent under which it was given.
May 15, 2012 – Giving up on Parkhurst and the OKCCoCo ever reopening its doors, US Fleet Tracking finally (regretfully and respectfully) asks for the return of its sponsorship funds within 3 business days. Parkhurst attempts to “negotiate a settlement” (wherein the CoCo still does not return the funds). We advise him to return the funds, and we’ll consider sponsoring him when he does locate a building in the future.
May 16, 2012 – Parkhurst again refuses to return the money.
May 17, 2012 – Parkhurst says he has found yet another possible location. After the response from Parkhurst and his outright refusal to return its funds on May 15 and 16, USFT isn’t interested in sponsoring them in any location at this point.
May 22, 2012 – USFT asks attorney Armando Rosell to contact Parkhurst, hoping a call from a lawyer might convince him we’re serious and motivate him to return the funds. It’s important to note that CoCo still has not reopened – they’ve been closed almost two months, and there’s no more indication they will reopen than there was on April 20.
May 28, 2012 – Derrick Parkhurst incorporates THE 404 LLC with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. On its website, visitthe404.com, the date on the Privacy Statement is January 15, 2012.
June 4, 2012 – OKCCoCo still has not reopened. Lawsuit filed demanding return of funds.
July 2, 2012 – OKCCoCo reopens on Film Row, almost a month after the lawsuit was filed.
September 26, 2012 – USFT meets with Tommy Yi and Chad Henderson at USFT offices. USFT offers a settlement wherein CoCo would repay the funds over a two-year period, and wants no sponsorship or anything else to do with CoCo. CoCo refuses the offer.
September 27, 2012 – CoCo tenders the now-publicized counter-offer (released by CoCo to the media on 09/28) to USFT in which CoCo would repay an unspecified amount occasionally over a two year period and would not hold the CoCo founders responsible. Knowing that they had already created an entirely different shell corporation – complete with web site – to replace the CoCo under a different name, USFT cannot entertain any settlement offer which does not hold the CoCo founders responsible. A failure to do so would enable them to execute the settlement, bankrupt CoCo, and have no responsibility under their settlement agreement.
September 28, 2012 – CoCo begins contacting the press with a story which falsely paints USFT as a company bent on the destruction of OKCCoCo despite their offer for repayment. They also release to the press the terms of their counter-offer provided to USFT the day prior, conveniently neglecting to mention the fact that USFT had already made a settlement offer which provided for repayment over a 24-month period (which they had refused).
October 1, 2012 – OKCCoCo begins spinning a story among the media and supporters claiming that USFT is responsible for shutting down the CoCo. In truth, CoCo founders raised more than twice the funds they were seeking, and their choices alone bear sole responsibility for shutting down the CoCo. USFT seeks gag order in order to focus Parkhurst’s public rants to the parties directly involved in the suit (and not the organizations that have no part in the issue).
October 2, 2012 – Parkhurst embarks on a deliberate twitter campaign to malign and damage USFT’s reputation in the OKC community and in the national media – the very company that stepped forward to help them when they needed it most.
Throughout the entirety of this situation, USFT has attempted to settle this matter in a respectful, swift manner in an effort to avoid driving a stake in the heart of OKC’s technology and entrepreneurial communities, which mean too much to the continued growth of our city and state and far outweigh this unfortunate situation. It is deeply unfortunate that despite our best efforts the situation is dividing the technology and entrepreneurial communities. This situation has changed our community sponsorship and engagement activities and internal processes to avoid this sort of circumstance ever recurring in the future.
We understand there has been a call for boycott and are disheartened that an event meant to bring about collaboration among the technology and entrepreneurial communities (and completely unassociated with this situation) is being targeted. What is also disheartening is an organization with the mission of collaboration and community is mobilizing forces to boycott an event intended to foster continued growth in OKC’s entrepreneurial community.
I’m intrigued by the comments and questions brought up by US Fleet Tracking about 404 LLC. I’ve been waiting two days to get my own questions answered in regard to this new entity. It’s my hope that Derrick Parkhurst or his partners Chad Henderson and Tommy Yi will answer these questions.