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State Of Washington Victorious In Suit Against Deadbeat Kickstarter Manager

by Mike Futter on Aug 19, 2015 at 03:40 PM

Last year, the State of Washington initiated the first government suit against a Kickstarter project manager. The state claimed that Altius Management perpetrated “unfair or deceptive acts of trade or commerce” with regard to its stylish Asylum Playing Cards campaign.

Rewards and products were supposed to be delivered by December 2012, but nothing was delivered and communications from Altius and its owner Edward Polchlopek III (a.k.a. Ed Nash) ceased. Altius also failed to respond to backers, including those asking for a refund for non-delivery. 

The state sought $2,000 per infraction on behalf of the 31 residents of Washington that had backed the project (out of a total of more than 800). Late last month, it scored a victory as the courts found against Polchlopek and Altius.

Each of the 31 backers will be entitled to $668 in restitution. Altius is also ordered to pay $31,000 in penalties for violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act. It also owes $23,183 in court fees, for a total judgment of $54,851.

The project raised $25,000 against a goal of $15,000. “Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft,” said attorney general Bob Ferguson. “If you accept money from consumers, and don’t follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable.”

[Source: State of Washington, Office of the Attorney General via ComicsBeat]


Our Take
Now the state has to get Altius to pay up, which may be a challenge. Hopefully, for the sake of the backers due remuneration, it will happen.

Regardless, this sets a precedent for how the court system can deal with unethical, uncommunicative project managers. Delays happen. There are bumps in the road. But this example goes far beyond that.

Project managers have a duty to keep backers apprised of changes, address concerns, and deliver on their promises. And this is all before the question of investing comes into play, as Tim Schafer and others are hoping to introduce with a new platform.