This report is all I’m seeing about the story, but if it’s true, it’s a doozy:
Evolutionary biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins claims an employee of his Foundation for Reason and Science embezzled $375,000 from the online store he ran for Dawkins’ charity, by claiming it made only $30,000 in 3 years.
Dawkins says he found out about the scam this year, when the Foundation decided to wrest control of the store from [Josh] Timonen.
Timonen handed over financial books that detailed his embezzlement, Dawkins says, including $500 meals, trips to Timberline Lodge in Oregon and the Malibu Beach Inn, and $314,000 in “salaries” paid to Timonen and his girlfriend -though Timonen and the Foundation agreed that the $278,000 it was aware of paying him would be his combined salary for running the store and performing his other duties.
Timonen’s “significantly older” girlfriend, defendant Maureen Norton, allegedly used at least $100,000 of the charity’s money to upgrade her Sherman Oaks home before she put it on the market.
Dawkins demands $950,000 plus punitive damages from Timonen, Norton and Upper Branch Productions. He and the Foundation are represented by Blaine Greenberg of Encino.
It’s never pretty to see drama within the movement, especially when it involves someone you thought had a vested interest in the mission of the RDF. I hope this gets resolved quickly…
As far as I can tell, Timonen hasn’t issued any statement in his defense.
***Update***: Josh Timonen issued a statement on his website:
With the internet, you can so easily spread outrageous lies, destroy someone’s reputation, self-worth and dignity, and not even have any evidence to back up your malicious attacks. And it amazes me that so many people are so quick to spew venom about people and a situation they know nothing about. Even after my name is cleared, the words and attacks will remain.
I worked myself to the bone over the last four years to promote reason and science, hoping that my small role in this movement could affect some lasting positive change. I refuse to let this smear campaign destroy me. I created the Scarlet Letter “A” icon and its associated campaign to bring us all together, not tear us apart. I hope to be able to continue on that mission.
This lawsuit is a joke, and completely ridiculous. The accusations are baseless and unfounded.
I will be releasing a public statement soon through my legal team Costa Abrams & Coate, LLP.